Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Tragocephala pacifica Thomas, 1873, described from California
Chimarocephala behrensi Saussure, 1873, described from California
Tragocephala brevipennis Scudder, 1875, described from California
Chortophaga brevipennis (Scudder) Scudder, 1876
Chimarocephala pacifica ssp. incisa Caudell, 1906, described from California
Chimarocephala incisa (Caudell) Rehn & Hebard, 1910
Chimarocephala pacifica ssp. obtusa Caudell, 1912, described from California
Very similar in appearance to Chortophaga, but somewhat smaller in size (particularly the males), with fastigium and frontal costa of head narrower and more deeply impressed centrally. Usually with pronotum and tegmina more rough in texture, with main veins of tegmina more raised in relief. The upper flange of the hind femora is usually more widely flaring near the middle in Chimarocephala pacifica.
Chimarocephala elongata is somewhat more slender, with the fastigium narrower and projecting more forward of the eyes. It is found in a more restricted area, inland mostly in the Central Valley.
Encoptolophus species are very similar but mostly a bit more stocky of build, with the pronotal crest lower, the hind femora proportionately wider, the pronotum a bit smoother, and the head somewhat less angular and a bit rounder in shape. Members of this genus mostly favor somewhat more alkaline areas, but may sometimes be found in the same places. Encoptolophus usually a have more bold pattern of wide, squared, alternating light and dark bands on the tegmina near the front (lower when folded) edge. This pattern may be indicated but is usually weakly developed and not noticeable in Chimarocephala. Mostly Encoptolophus are seen in summer and autumn as adults, but sometimes adults appear early enough to be in the same place at the same time.
Encoptolophus californicus perhaps favors sandy habitats (based on few published notes. It is rather intermediate in character, and has been placed in both genera at one time or another. In appearance it is most like Encoptolophus, but it has similar sculpturing (but less roughened) on the head and pronotum to that of Chimarocephala.
About the southern 3/4 of California west of the deserts and crest of the Sierra Nevada. Also south through most of Baja California except in deserts.
Varied, but usually sunny areas that are fairly lush and grassy in winter and spring. Often along roadsides, vacant lots, and in low-lying areas, but also not uncommon on hillsides in chaparral and Oak woodland.
Presumably mostly or perhaps entirely fairly soft grasses.
Eggs (laid in ground in spring) hatch in late summer or autumn. Overwintering as mostly 3rd and 4th instar nymphs. Adults appear early in spring (as early as February near coast) and are usually mostly gone by early summer.
Varied in coloring, with males nearly always gray or brownish, and females often green (or partly green). Green individuals seem to occur in higher proportion in moister climates (particularly northward) while gray and brown females are more common in drier regions and environments.
Some individuals, usually females, can be partly or largely purplish pink in color, and can be very striking in appearance (and probably are the reason for the name "Painted Grasshopper" that is sometimes applied to this species). These are perhaps the most often noticed individuals, but actually they normally make up a very small percentage of any population.
Females may have short wings, especially in the north, and tend these tend to be rather clumsy, staying mostly in the grass and hiding when disturbed. However, long-winged females can fly powerfully (though may also be more inclined to hide in grass than to fly when disturbed). The females are less active, and often less noticeable than males.
Males are very small for fully-winged grasshoppers, and are considerably smaller (and more slender) than females. They are usually lively and quick to fly when disturbed, sometimes flying onto tips of dense vegetation or shrubery, but tending to favor bare patches of ground. Their tiny size and alert behavior, flying quickly in an arching flight from one bare patch to the next, make them easy to confuse with Tiger Beetles that often occur in the same areas.