Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Caloptenus punctulatus Scudder, 1862. Described from Maine
Caloptenus griseus Thomas, 1872. Described from Ohio
Melanoplus punctulatus (Scudder) Scudder, 1874. Described from Maine
Caloptenus helluo Scudder, 1875. Described from Dallas, Texas
Melanoplus arboreus Scudder, 1897. Described from Dallas, Texas
Melanoplus punctulatus arboreus (Scudder) Rehn & Hebard, 1916
Melanoplus punctulatus griseus (Thomas) Rehn, 1946
3 subspecies: punctulatus, griseus, & arboreus
Males: 27-31 mm, females: 37-45 mm
Camouflage patterned. Outer face of hind femora marked with alternating blackish and grayish bands (a distinctive feature). Lower inside of hind femur usually bright red. Hind tibiae reddish and/or gray. In males, cerci large, club-like (boot-shaped), distinctive. Sometimes comes to lights.
M. splendidus from further west is very similar, and perhaps just a regional variant of this species.
Eastern and central North America.
Forests and oak savannah; may be nocturnal--comes to lights. Often seen perched on trunks of trees, where well-camouflaged.
Typically July-November in much of range. July-September (Michigan), September-November (North Carolina). July-January (Florida)
Deciduous and sometimes coniferous foliage
Females lay eggs in holes or crevices of trunks of pine or deciduous trees.
One of the few members of its genus that is easy to recognize.
Traditionally this species is considered rare, but it is one of the most frequently photographed grasshoppers, and has a wide distribution. Perhaps this is because of habitat preferences; entomologists looking for grasshoppers rarely see it because it lives mostly in the trees, but people with cameras often find them in such places (or on the sides of their houses or wood porches and stoops).
Grasshoppers of Florida; PDF doc
live adult image, description, distribution, habits, common name reference (U. of Florida)
Orthoptera of Michigan; PDF doc
key to species and common name references (Roger Bland, Central Michigan U.)
Insects of Cedar Creek
pinned and live adult images of male and female (U. of Minnesota)
Orthoptera of the Northern Great Plains
description, habitat, common name reference (Gerald Fauske, North Dakota State U.)