Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Encoptolophus Scudder, 1875. Type species: Oedipoda sordida Burmeister
Nebulatettix R.A. Gómez, D.C. Lightfoot & K.B. Miller, 2012. Type species: Encoptolophus subgracilis Caudell
Explanation of Names
The genus name Nebulatettix has recently [R.A. Gómez, et al, August 6, 2012] been described to encompass the species Encoptolophus subgracilis, pallidus, & robustus. These species differ from the remainder of Encoptolophus species in certain respects, and this genus may be well-founded; however, these species are left under their traditional placement within Encoptolophus on BugGuide, for the time being.
7 species in Encoptolophus, with five found north of Mexico.
About 16 to 30 mm. Most average around 20 - 26 mm, with males smaller than females, and individuals generally larger (within a single species) in the south or at low elevation than in the north or higher up.
Smallish (averaging under 1.5 inches long) grasshoppers mostly of open seasonally moist (often saline or alkaline) grassy environments with bare patches of ground. Often quite abundant in pastures, hay fields, and other mowed grass areas. With crest of pronotum moderately raised and always distinct, only cut or notched once. Hind tibiae are usually blue, brownish, or nearly black, with a darker area near the base.
Could be confused with Arphia or Lactista, but with the body generally smoother; usually with prominent large quadrate dark spots on lower half of folded tegmina; hind wings not brightly colored; and with no bold dark cross band, but rather dark clouding on the outer end of the wing. Other similar genera related to Arphia also have brightly colored hind wings, usually with a dark band.
Similar to, and closely related to Chortophaga & Chimarocephala, which generally have the "forehead" less rounded, more nearly "squared off" and projecting considerably in front of the eyes. The pronotal crest is usually higher. Adults are usually most common in early spring (but later generations may occur southward too). Chimarocephala pacifica usually has the pronotum and head rather strongly roughened. Chortophaga is usually larger.
Conozoa may be similar in appearance, but are usually more slender, with the lower rear angle of each side of the pronotum usually toothed, or at least projecting somewhat downward; the top of the pronotum is usually flatter with more sharply defined edges; and again the hind wing usually has a prominent dark cross band. Also, if in the same environment Conozoa usually have red or yellow hind tibiae.
Shotwellia is similar and also closely related, but has yellowish hind tibiae with a dark area near the base. The pronotal crest is low, barely raised at all, and cut more than once. Also, Shotwellia are considerably larger insects, with little if any overlap in size.
North America, mostly south of Canada
Presumably mostly grasses
Varies with species, but in cold winter areas apparently all overwinter as eggs. In southern areas multiple broods may be produced by several species. Mostly adults are most commonly seen in summer.
The genus is composed of at least two distinctive groups that could one day be separated into more than one genus [*]. One group contains stocky insects (E. costalis, sordidus, fuliginosus, etc.) with usually a prominent stigma (area with thickened veins and often dark color) near the front margin of the hind wings, and adults of (apparently?) all species can crepitate (buzz) in flight (but this needs verified for several species). The other group (E. pallidus, robustus, & subgracilis[/i) contains more slender insects with the stigma of the wing poorly developed, and these do not crepitate in flight. [i]Chimarocephala californica has been put both in this genus and in Chimarocephala, but seems out of place in Encoptolophus.
It seems that most (if not all) species are attracted to bright lights in evening.
[* note: see above under 'Explanation of Names' - August, 2012]
Gómez, R. Antonio, David C. Lightfoot, and Kelly B. Miller, 2012 [August 6]. 'A phylogenetic review of the North American Band-winged Grasshopper Genus Encoptolophus Scudder, with Description of Nebulatettix gen.n. (Orthoptera: Acrididae: Oedipodinae)'. Insect Systematics & Evolution 43: 117–145