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Unknown Acrididae 2 - Esselenia vanduzeei - female

Unknown Acrididae 2 - Esselenia vanduzeei - Female
About 12 miles south of Soda Lake, Carrizo Plains National Monument, San Luis Obispo County, California, USA
April 8, 2008
I think this is in Acrididae...I was unable to ID it using Capinera, Scott, & Walker(1). I think it's a nymph, but am not sure...perhaps it's an adult with short wings.

It was in arid, hilly, open and sparsely-vegetated grasslands.

Photographed within inches and seconds of this grasshopper. My vague recollection is that I was photographing the same grasshopper in both instances. But I guess that recollection is wrong, as they have quite different markings, and so appear to be different individuals. (Unless grasshoppers can "change" they're a chameleon.)

Esselenia vanduzeei
These are really neet grasshoppers. One of those species that relies on looking like the pebbles and rocks more than jumping to survive.

This is an adult female.

They aren't often noticed, probably because they occur so early in the year as adults, and also because they have short wings and don't fly. Perhaps closely related to Psoloessa, but chunkier.

Here is a link, just to throw in another place to access the list of species of grasshoppers that overwinter as nymphs.

Thanks David...I didn't expect to get to species so quickly :-)

Good to know it's a flightless female adult, as I was wondering about those short wings.

These grasshoppers were quite cryptic. I might not have noticed them if I wasn't already lying on the ground photographing tiny "belly plants".

I also wouldn't have known to go with "Slant-Faced Grasshoppers" (Gomphocerinae), as their faces looked fairly "round and vertical" to me. So thanks again for your help. (And also for the link, with the interesting forum article referenced therein.)

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