Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Hippiscus subgenus Pardalophora Saussure, 1884. Type species: Oedipoda phoenicoptera H. Burmeister [by subsequent designation of W.F. Kirby, 1910]
Pardalophora (Saussure) W.F. Kirby, 1910
Explanation of Names
Genus name probably means "spot-bearing", from pardalo Greek spotted, plus -phora bearing. (Based on Internet searches.) A related word in zoology is pardalote a prominently spotted bird found in Australia.
Four North American species are recognized at Orthoptera Species File - Online
Most similar to the genera Hippiscus and Xanthippus. From Hippiscus distinguished by occurring as adults mostly in spring into early summer (mostly summer into autumn for Hippiscus). Physically distinguished by proportionately smaller head often with stronger sculpturing, more slender form, and most easily by the fact that the cut in the ridge on top of the pronotum is distinctly in front of center (at or near center in Hippiscus). The relationship between Hippiscus and Pardalophora is very close, and some workers consider them to be one.
From Xanthippus often distinguishable simply by where found, but in area of overlap by the usually more evenly elevated median pronotal ridge that is cut only once (sometimes also notched a bit in front of the cut, but usually not). In Xanthippus the median ridge is usually distinctly twice cut, and usually very low in part, particularly between the cuts. Generally the head of Xanthippus, and often the pronotum are more roughened by raised tubercles. The top of the pronotum of Xanthippus is usually nearly flat except at the front, while in Pardalophora it tends to slope more to sides (more roof-like).
Cratypedes may be found in a few regions where P. haldemanii or P. apiculata occur, but differs in the same ways as Xanthippus, plus the color pattern is usually distinctly different.
Some authors have considered all the above genera, plus closely related Sticthippus & Agymnastus to belong to a single genus Hippiscus.
Primarily east from the Rocky Mountains, but P. haldemanii is also found in an isolated population along and near the west base of the high mountains from southwestern Utah into southern Idaho, and P. apiculata exists in isolated colonies in the Rocky Mountains.
P. phoenicoptera is southeastern. P. apiculata is mostly northern (but populations occur south to New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, and North Carolina). P. haldemanii and P. saussurei are found mostly on the Great Plains, with the later south of the former.
Mostly sunny grassland type areas, ranging from open Plains grasslands to hill top glades in forest.
Overwintering as partly grown nymphs, with adults in spring and early summer. P. apiculata is notably early, with adults sometimes in late March or early April.
Apparently mixed feeders, preferring grasses, but using some broad-leaved plants as well. Will sometimes feed on other dead (or sometimes live) insects, and can be cannibalistic when reared in cages.
Eggs are laid in spring and early summer, and hatch in late summer or autumn. In northern areas (and perhaps everywhere?) eggs may hatch after overwintering one (or perhaps sometimes more) winters. Adults mature in spring, and in P. apiculata sometimes as early as late March or early April (depending on location). In most areas adults are most common in May or June. Some adults may live into late summer or autumn, but in most areas most are gone by sometime in July. In areas where P. apiculata occurs with other species, it is usually mostly gone by the time the other species becomes abundant as adults.
Large grasshoppers that can be startling when they fly, simply by their shear size. They do not crepitate in flight, but are large enough to produce a rustling sound by the beating of their wings. Except in some populations of P. apiculata where females have shorter wings, both genders can fly powerfully and for long distances, but often females will rely on camouflage over escape (especially when heavily laden with eggs, or when temperatures are cool). All species may vary in wing color from yellow through orange to red or deep pink; however, P. apiculata is usually red to dark pink, P. phoenicoptera is usually orange to red, P. saussurei is usually yellow, while P. haldemanii is extremely varied within most populations.
P. saussurei and P. haldemanii have complimentary distributions and intergrade where they meet, mostly a little north of Oklahoma in southern Kansas and Colorado. In this region specimens are most often not clearly one or the other. These two should probably be considered as subspecies of one species.
NCSU Entomology collection
lists two species from North Carolina, P. apiculata (33 pinned), and P. phoenicoptera (62 pinned).
Orthoptera of Great Smoky Mountains
lists P. apiculata, P. phoenicoptera