Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Acrydium viridifasciatum De Geer, 1773. Type locality: Pennsylvania
Gryllus virginianus Fabricius, 1775. Type locality: Virginia
Gryllus (Locusta) chrysomelas Gmelin, 1788. Type locality: unknown
Acrydium marginatum Olivier, 1791. Type locality: unknown
Acridium hemipterum Beauvois, 1805. Type locality: unknown
Locusta viridifasciata (De Geer) T.W. Harris, 1835
Locusta radiata T.W. Harris, 1835: Type locality: probably Massachusetts
Tragocephala radiata (T.W. Harris) S.H. Scudder, 1869
Locusta (Tragocephala) infuscata Harris, 1841. Type locality: probably Massachusetts
Tomonotus zimmermanni Saussure, 1861. Type locality: unknown
Tragocephala viridifasciatum (De Geer) S.H. Scudder, 1862
Chimarocephala viridifasciatum (De Geer) S.H. Scudder, 1876
Chortophaga viridifasciatum (De Geer) Saussure, 1884
Chortophaga viridifasciata infuscata (Harris) Beutenmüller, 1894
Chortophaga meridionalis Bruner, 1905. Type locality: Volcan de Irazu, Costa Rica
23-38 mm (males 23-30, females 28-38)
Green and brown phases. Females usually green, males usually brown. Wings faint yellow when spread, smoky brown to nearly black towards tip. Strong pronotal ridge. Green (or brown) stripe near the border of front wings. Southern and summer individuals are more strongly patterned, often with dark bars across part of front wings and on top of hind femora, and with the dark coloring on the hind wings more developed. Southern populations have been separated as a "species" C. australior, but are treated as a weakly differentiated subspecies here, since there is no possible way to draw a line between the intergrading southern and northern populations. Inland from the coastal plain in the southeastern states, assignment of individuals to one or the other subspecies is somewhat arbitrary, where individuals in the same populations can look like either subspecies, or intermediate in character.
British Columbia to Atlantic Coast and south (mostly only east of the Rockies) to the Gulf Coast and through eastern Mexico to at at least Costa Rica. Limited to isolated colonies in far west, often associated with irrigation and agriculture (such as in Idaho, Utah, and western Colorado), and perhaps was introduced there.
Relatively moist and sunny areas of short grass. Often found abundantly in hay meadows, along roadsides, and in grassy low lying areas. Can be found in most any sunny grassy area in East, but restricted to limited moist habitats in West.
Adults in spring and early summer in North. Southward multiple-brooded with adults from end of winter to begining of winter, and in far south may be found year-round.
Single-brooded in North and west from Great Plains. Multiple-brooded in Southeast.
Nymphs overwinter, producing adults in early spring; often the first grasshopper seen in spring. Two or more generations occur south from about Virginia, the Ohio Valley, and Nebraska. In the low Southeast, multiple overlapping generations occur, and adults and nymphs may be found together through much of the year.
Overwintering nymphs -- Thought it worth a comment here to point out that in this species, and a few others, the nymph is the overwintering stage. The eggs hatch in late summer or autumn, and half grown to nearly mature nymphs overwinter through the winter. That is why the adults appear early in the spring; the nymphs are already well along when spring comes, and only have a little growing left to do. Most grasshopper eggs hatch later in the spring or early summer when it heats up, but by then the adults of many of these early (or is it late) species are long gone already (or old anyway).… David J. Ferguson, 16 October, 2007
(More comments from David below each set of images.)
- based on the very short antennae and legs, I'd say probably 1st instar, but I'm not completely certain it is not a 2nd instar. I'm not sure of gender, big abdomen suggests female. On first instar there are no lobes representing wing pads at all, or the lower edges of the meso- and metathoracic tergites are a bit rounded convex.
Likely Second instar, female. On the second instar there are clearly defined rounded lobes at the rear lower corner of the tergites, but visible veins are very little, if at all developed.
The first two are clearly third instar females, for the other gender is not so certain. The third one is fuzzy enough that I'm not entirely certain about third instar. On the others the lobes pointing down (the early wing pads) are fairly obvious and well-developed with veins clearly visible. On the third instar the triangular shape of the hind wings and often the narrow shape of the front wings start to become obvious on down-pointing wing pads, and the veination of the wings has become relatively visible. They are the two lobes on the side of the thorax, on the first two segments behind the pronotum or "saddle". They are the same segments to which the middle and hind legs are attached. On the next segment back (1st abdominal segment) you can see the small tympanum or "ear" right next to the wing - it is a dark spot.
4th instar males, above.
4th instar females, above.
On the fourth instar the wing pads are a bit larger and flip upward, with the hind wings covering (or mostly covering) the front wings. Sometimes (notably in species from extremely cold climates), there is an additional instar that looks like a larger 4th instar. It is nearly impossible to know if there are 5 or 6 instars in most species unless you are rearing them out, and there is enough individual variation within each instar that there is no obvious way to tell a 4th instar from the extra instar.
5th instar males, above.
5th instar females, above.
The last instar (usually fifth, sometimes sixth) has the wing pads larger, often touching at the top, and covering more segments on the abdomen.
Adult males -- brown, above.
Adult males -- green, above.
Adult females - brown, above.
Adult females - green, above.
- pink and green:
Telling gender apart can be difficult without being able to see the end of the abdomen, but there are a few clues. First, it helps to already be familiar with the species in question, because generally the males and females have a different "look". In most species the males will be more slender, a bit smaller, and often the sculpturing is a little more pronounced. If you can see the abdomen (even without being able to seen the end), it is usually thicker on a female, and often it is longer too (it lengthens and often broadens too when filled with eggs). Often in the males, the legs (especially the front and middle femur) are proportionately thicker than in females. Often the males have thicker and longer antennae. Sometimes males and females have totally different coloration (at least most individuals).
In Chortophaga, the main distinctions are the more slender body of the male, the head looking proportionately larger but somewhat more angular, and the more pronounced sculpturing (ie. the raised ridges) on the head and thorax. On the head the fastigum (between the top of the eyes) is narrower, more prominent, with the raised edges more prominent in the males. The females look a bit more "tank-like" with the thorax broad and heavy. Often the genders even carry themselves a bit differently. The males tend to stand taller and "prouder" with their bodies more elevated off the ground (of course this isn't a reliable thing, since they are moving creatures). Males are smaller, but that usually doesn't help much in a photo.
Another male vs. female thing (only a tendency though) is that males tend to be more boldly patterned than females of the same color.
Generally, in most species with long wings, the instars can be told by looking at the wing pads. Counting antennal segments can work too, but if you don't already have a reference, you won't know how many segments are in the antennae of each instar without actually rearing them and checking for yourself. I could look up what is "average", but it varies a lot from species to species. Anyway, the younger they are, the fewer the antenna segments.
Species with short wings go through roughly the same development of the wings, but so much reduced in size that it is difficult to make much use of the wings unless you already are familiar with the development of the species. I think the "upward flip" at the 4th instar is pretty universal though. And, of course, it is useless to look at wing development on wingless species.
Males and sometimes females crepitate with a continuous buzz, but not during every flight, and the sound is relatively faint.
C. australior. Arphia sulphurea.
Bland, p. 109, photo specimen (2)
Brimley, p. 24--occurs in North Carolina for "whole season". (3)
Capinera, pp. 82-83--range map, description, plate 10 (4)
Helfer, p. 110, fig. 184 (5)
Salsbury, pp. 61-62, photos both phases (6)