Other Common Names
Spring yellow-winged grasshopper
The both spellings of "sulphur" or "sulfur" are seen frequently. The first prevalent in older works, with the second becoming more common in recent decades.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Uncommon in having no synonyms, but this species has been placed in a few different genera as classifications evolved.
Gryllus sulphureus Fabricius 1781. No type locality given.
Locusta sulphureus (Fabricius) Burmeister, 1838
Tomonotus sulphureus (Fabricius) Saussure, 1861
Arphia sulphuria (Fabricius) Stål, 1873
Oedipoda (Arphia) sulphureus (Fabricius) Pravancher, 1883
23-38 mm (males 23-31, females 28-38 mm)
Raised ridge on pronotum usually uncut (may be shallowly notched). Head in profile somewhat squared in front of eyes, and seen from above with fastigium very narrow at the front. Wings of rich saturated color, usually yellow, but often orange or sometimes red toward southwest (OK, AR, TX), with narrow dark band located at edge of wing and long dark spur from band reaching toward base.
Males and usually females crepitate with a loud harsh continuous crackling buzz in flight. Adults mostly in spring.
Season helps distinguish from Arphia granulata, xanthoptera, & A. pseudonietana. The later two fly in summer and fall, but the first year round. They are all larger with dark wing band distinctly wider, spur usually shorter, and with head rounder in profile with wider fastigium. A. pseudonietana has mostly black body and usually red wings, while A. xanthoptera has a higher more arching pronotal crest and varied wing color. A. granulata has a range on the southeastern coastal plain form North Carolina to Louisiana, and south through Florida.
A. simplex is very similar, but larger with hind wing wider and with dark band and it's spur narrower. It varies much in body coloration; often the main longitudinal veins of tegmina distinctly pale, but rarely is the dorsal field of folded tegmina contrastingly pale (The reverse is true in A. sulphurea. In flight it crepitates with a loud ticking or snapping, the notes being further apart, and sounding distinctly different from A. sulphurea.
A. conspersa is very similar in size, seasonal occurence, and behavior, but has the dark hind wing band usually not so dark and leaving more of the tip of the wing clear, with the spur wider (often reaching the coastal margin). The disk of the hind wing is more often colors other than yellow (orange, red, pink), and is not so saturated and rich in color. A. conspersa replaces A. sulphurea to the west, and may occur with it in some areas.
Other species occur further west, but not with A. sulphurea. A. behrensi from California is extremely similar.
Eastern North America, east from the middle tier of states (Manitoba to Texas), a little into southern Canada. Not in any but northernmost Florida.
Open grassy or weedy areas, such as prairies, fields, roadsides, glades, etc.
Spring, summer. May-August (Michigan). April-August (North Carolina)
Overwinters as nearly grown nymphs, and adults appear in early spring (a few as early as February in some areas). Adults most common in most areas in May and June. Mostly gone by sometime in July, but some individuals may live into August or September (they seem to live longer in the south).
other Arphia species
Capinera, Grasshoppers of North America
p. 79--range map, description (1)
Capinera, Grasshoppers of Florida
, pp. 61-63, fig. 13--comparison of face with othere Arphia (2)
Bland, p. 106, photo specimen (3)
Helfer, p. 111, fig. 185 (4)
Dethier, pp. 16-24, describes songs, behavior. (5)
Brimley, p. 24--gives season in North Carolina. (6)