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Species Acrolophitus hirtipes - Green Fool Grasshopper

Baby Green Fool - Acrolophitus hirtipes Green fool - Acrolophitus hirtipes - female Green Fool Grasshopper - Acrolophitus hirtipes - female Green Fool Grasshopper - Acrolophitus hirtipes - male Green Fool Grasshopper - Acrolophitus hirtipes - male Green Fool - Acrolophitus hirtipes Acrolophitus hirtipes - male Acrolophitus hirtipes - female
Classification
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 Gomphocerinae (Slant-faced Grasshoppers)
No Taxon (Acrolophitus Group)
Genus Acrolophitus (Point-head Grasshoppers)
Species hirtipes (Green Fool Grasshopper)
Other Common Names
Crested-keel Grasshopper
Plains Point-head Grasshopper
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Gryllus hirtipes Say, 1825. Described from "banks of Arkansas River", Colorado
Acrolophitus hirtipes (Thomas) Say, 1872.
Acrolophitus uniformis Bruner, 1904. Described from Sterling, Logan County, Colorado
Acrolophitus variegatus Bruner, 1904. Described from Camp Springs, Scurry County, Texas
Acrolophitus hirtipes variegatus (Bruner) Jago, 1969
Explanation of Names
The name "uniformis" was applied to almost uniformly green specimens, the coloring that prevails northward from Colorado and Kansas.
The name "variegatus" was applied to specimens strongly mottled with pale color, the coloring that prevails southward.
Size
25-42 mm males
32-51 mm females
Identification
Green, rarely brown, often with cream to pinking mottling. Head pointed. Antennae sword-shaped and reddish to nearly black. Pronotum with a prominent smooth rounded crest. Wings greenish yellow toward the base, and with a broad black cross-band.
Range
Primarily Great Plains from southern Canada to northeastern Mexico; west to Rio Grande Valley in central New Mexico.
Habitat
Grasslands, primarily short grasslands, often along roadsides or on hillsides in areas where vegetation is sparse. Always strongly associated with specific host plants.
Season
Adults mostly in late spring and early summer, but in favorable seasons and habitats some may live until freezing weather in autumn.
Food
Primarily feeds on Mentzelia species (Loasaceae), and often abundant where colonies of these plants are found. Also sometimes associated with members of family Boranginaceae (includes "Hydrophyllaceae") such as Coldenia, Tiquillia, Nama, Phacelia, Lappula etc. Also, very fond of Phylla (Verbenaceae), and will congregate in numbers on these plants if they are available, but "Fogfruit" only rarely occurs in the right habitat (sometimes around ephemeral fresh water pools in the middle of grasslands). Has been reported to feed occasionally on plants in additional families, though these are probably not regular host plants: Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Poaceae, etc., and will also sometimes eat dead insects.
Life Cycle
Eggs laid primarily in early summer, hatch in early spring or (perhaps in south) late autumn, with nymphs in spring or even late winter.
Remarks
A novel almost bizarre-looking species that always gets attention when seen. It looks in some ways a lot like a Band-winged Grasshopper. When it flies, the black-banded yellow wings are noticeable, and the hind legs tend to dangle awkwardly downward.
Print References
Daniel Otte 1981 'The North American Grasshoppers' volume 1
J. L. Capinera & T. S. Sechrist 'Grasshoppers (Acrididae) of Colorado'
D. B. Richman, D. C. Lightfoot, C. A. Sutherland, & D. J. Ferguson 'A Manual of the Grasshoppers of New Mexico'