Species Brachystola magna - Plains Lubber Grasshopper
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Suborder Caelifera (Grasshoppers)
Family Romaleidae (Lubber Grasshoppers)
Genus Brachystola (Grassland Lubbers)
Species magna (Plains Lubber Grasshopper)
Other Common Names
Homesteader, Western Lubber Grasshopper
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orig. Comb: Brachypeplus magnus Girard 1896
Explanation of Names
magna - The plains lubber grasshopper is one of the largest acridids in North America.
Adult body length: 43-55 mm
Large, colorful grasshopper. Flightless.
On the central and southern Great Plains, individuals reach their largest size, and are more often (especially females) predominantly green. In the Southwest they tend to be smaller, more varied in coloration, but most often predominantly brown.
Ranges widely on the western plains of the US and Mexico: AZ-TX-MN-MT / northern Mex. - Map
- Wyo Ag Station, 1999
2012 Texas Outbreak: Edwards, Menard, McCulloch, Runnels, Schleicher and Tom Green counties (as of May 9)
Mostly grasslands and scrublands
Usually found in weedy vegetation along roadways, vacant lots and field margins in areas with rocky or gravely soil (1)
Early summer into fall (November), depending on latitude and timing of rainfall.
The main food plants of this species are forbs (i.e., sunflowers, blanket flower, ragweed, cotton, lettuce, feverfew), although they will also consume live or dead insects. (1)
Diverse preferences, favoring many types of broad-leaved forbs. Especially fond of Sunflowers (Helianthus), Ragweeds (Ambrosia), and other broad-leaved Composites. Scavenges carrion and occasionally captures and eats other smaller animals.
It prefers to feed on coarse forbs and dead insects. It is never abundant enough (in Wyo) to cause damage to crops or rangeland and its consumption of weedy plants may be considered beneficial. - Univ. Wyoming
Reported by some to have a two-year life cycle, with eggs requiring two overwintering periods before hatching. Probably really only one year required, at least in southern half of range, though eggs may be capable of surviving several or many years before hatching (a survival adaptation in dry unpredictable climates).
: Usually not considered to be a serious pest of grasslands; medically harmless. (1)
Often appears locally in huge numbers for a season or two in areas where few were seen for many years, only to "disappear" again the following year.
Considered an occasional pest of cotton, this grasshopper increased to damaging numbers in 1954, 1959, 1977, and 1979, during a period of 30 years (1951-1980) in Texas. - Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, 1999
Important in the history of genetics
, this species has large chromosomes, easily observed in the early days of cell biology.
- Drees, B.M. and John Jackman, 1999 - TAMU (1)
Plains Lubber Grasshopper
- Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, 1999
|1.||A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects|
Bastiaan M. Drees, John A. Jackman. 1998. Gulf Publishing.