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Migratory Grasshopper - Melanoplus sanguinipes - female

Migratory Grasshopper - Melanoplus sanguinipes - Female
Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana, USA
September 18, 2008
I believe this is a Migratory Grasshopper, but would like confirmation before moving to the guide page. I hope I posted the image to the correct place. Thanks!

Moved from Melanoplus.

Moved from Grasshoppers.

It's impossible to be 100% sure
with it being female, but I'm almost certain that you are correct.

Thanks, David
If I'm lucky enough to see her next year, can you suggest what view or anatomical feature I should capture to help with id?

You won't see this particular individual,
they don't live through the winter. However, if you see more of the same, try to photograph both males and females. It is good to get views from all sides (face, top, side, even bottom if you can [there is often a tubercle/bump under the thorax that is useful to see]). The parts at the rear of the abdomen and sometimes the coloring of the hind tibiae and inside of the hind femora can all help. Males are much more easily identified than females, but usually it is necessary to see the parts at the end of the abdomen clearly (side and top views are most helpful, but a shot from the rear can be good too). Sometimes one photo can show all that is necessary to identify an individual, but often it takes at least two or three. Sometimes females are just plain impossible to be sure of, regardless of how many views there are. This group of Melanoplus species that are about an inch long (give or take a bit) tend to look a LOT alike. The short winged ones can be pretty confusing too. Luckily there are usually only a few "look-alikes" to choose from occuring in any given region.

I almost forgot. Males are usually a bit smaller and more slender than females, often with the eyes a bit larger in proportion. They often have the front and middle femora a bit swollen (looking more "muscular"). The end of the abdomen is capped below by the "subgenital plate" so usually looks rounded or at least more blunt than in females, and is also often a bit swollen toward the tip. In females the abdomen tapers toward the tip, is relatively pointed, and capped by four horny pointed "valves" of the "ovipositor" (the egg-laying mechanism). Often the abdomen is full of eggs, and then is fuller looking and longer.

Great information!
Thanks for all of this valuable information. This individual is the only one I've ever seen, but hopefully I'll see both males and females next summer, and get LOTS of pictures!

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