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Unknown Acrididae 1 - Esselenia vanduzeei - female

Unknown Acrididae 1 - 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
Same species and gender as the other one, just more strongly patterned. And yes, definitely not the same individual (they might change color a bit over time, most likely fading a bit, but not in a few minutes :)

You should be able to find males in the same area. They would be about half the size (or less), a bit more slender, and the wings might be a tad longer. They might be more vividly marked too (but not necessarily). Further north, the other subspecies violae, has red on the abdomen, and the hind tibiae are red too.

I figured the "chameleon" speculation was a long-shot...but thought I'd inquire. (After all, stranger things are true :-)

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