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Species Melanoplus devastator - Devastating Grasshopper

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Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Suborder Caelifera (Grasshoppers)
Family Acrididae (Short-horned Grasshoppers)
Subfamily Melanoplinae (Spur-throated Grasshoppers)
Tribe Melanoplini
Genus Melanoplus
Species devastator (Devastating Grasshopper)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Melanoplus devastator Scudder, 1878. Described from Sausalito, California
Melanoplus affinis Coquillett, 1889. Described from California
Melanoplus diminutus S.H. Scudder, 1897. Described from Monterey, California
Melanoplus consanguineus S.H. Scudder, 1897. Described from Sacramento County, California
Melanoplus ater S.H. Scudder, 1897. Described from San Francisco, California
Melanoplus devastator obscurus Scudder, 1897. Described from Tighe, California
Melanoplus devastator affinis (Coquillett) S.H. Scudder, 1897
Melanoplus devastator conspicuus S.H. Scudder, 1897. Described from Clarkson, El Dorado County, California
Melanoplus devastator typicalis S.H. Scudder, 1897. Described from Tighe, California
Melanoplus virgatus Scudder, 1897. Described from Siskiyou County, California
Melanoplus uniformis Scudder, 1897. Described from Sacramento County, California
A fully winged species, roughly between 2 and 3 cm long. Basically identical to Melanoplus sanguinipes (but usually a bit more contrasting in coloring) and replacing it near the Pacific Coast. Differs from other species found with it in having males with the subgenital plate notched at the tip, having a tubercle near the front of the lower side of the thorax (roughly between the middle legs - often present but less noticeable on females too), and in details of pattern.

Tip of abdomen

Pacific side of the cascades and Sierra Nevada from southwestern Washington south through Oregon and California.
The distinction from Melanoplus sanguinipes may be artificial, and it is debated whether devastator should be treated as a regional subspecies or a distinct species. While the two look somewhat different, and there are minor differences in shape of parts such as furculae and cerci, the two intergrade where they meet with no obvious reproductive isolation. Environment seems to be the main factor controlling which is found where, with M. devastator being the form found where winter rains are the main driving force in climate and vegetation. M. sanguinipes generally replaces it eastward from the Sierra Nevada / Cascades, northward in Washington, and also in southernmost California, where winters are drier or cold, and largely where summers are more likely to see rainfall.
Internet References