Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Spharagemon Scudder, 1875. Type species: Gryllus equalis Say
Scirtetica Saussure, 1884. Type species: Locusta marmorata T.W. Harris
Eximacris Otte, 1984. Type species: Eximacris superbum Otte [= Spharagemon collare cristatum (S.H. Scudder) Hebard; name was given to an unusual color variant]
Orthoptera Species File
lists 9 North American species. There are certain subspecies that are variously considered as distinct species, and conversely some species are sometimes combined together as subspecies, depending upon the particular author.
Difficult to characterize. Generally slender grasshoppers, but with head proportionately large. Mostly with wider and shorter wings and slightly stockier build than related Trimerotropis. Hind wings are yellow basally with a black (or nearly black) cross band that is usually at least partly inside of the midpoint of the wing, and with a long spur running inside the front margin that points toward the base; the apical area is usually mostly clear, but may be partly or entirely obscured by dark pigment. Most, but not all species have the pronotal median crest cut only once (twice in Trimerotropis). And, mostly with the pronotum relatively smooth and with rounded "shoulders" (not sharply angled), and often with the pronotal median crest rather high and prominent (but not always). Hind tibiae in most species are orange to red (rarely yellow, and perhaps blue in one or two species if they truly belong here). All species, where crepitation is known, produce a rather loud harsh continuous buzz when they fly (males more often crepitate than females, but both are capable).
Varied, but almost always in open rather dry areas with grass. S. bolli is almost always associated with woodlands or forests. S. saxatile tends to occur on exposed elevated rocky areas (or often in old rock or gravel quarries).
All species overwinter as eggs, which hatch usually in spring, with adults by late spring or summer, and often living until first frost in autumn.
There are a few species that should be included in Spharagemon, but are still included within Trimerotropis. These include T. modesta, T. pistrinaria, and perhaps T. bifasciata & T. inconspicua. The line between genus Trimerotropis and genus Spharagemon is rather ill-defined and artificial, and this adds to confusion when trying to identify the various species. It is probable that several species will be shifted from one genus to the other as molecular studies help to refine knowledge of what is related to what.
In early literature, there was sometimes much confusion between various species of Trimerotropis and Spharagemon with red hind tibiae, and older records for several species are often questionable; many are definitely based on misidentified specimens.
The Insects of Cedar Creek
- has information and photos.
Grasshoppers of Wyoming & the West
- has an excellent online key with many photos.
Related to previous, Lucidcentral
- has nice online species fact sheets.