Thursday, September 5, 2013

Differential Grasshopper

Assuming the salient field marks of this arthropod are the herringbone chevrons running up its hind legs, this must be a Differential Grasshopper. The species is common in southern Minnesota and most of the United States (except the East Coast and the Northwest.

Dave Bartkey and his family pointed this one out to me at the River Bend Nature Center near Faribault, Minnesota. As you can see, this critter was depositing egg pods containing dozens of eggs between the bricks at an outdoor viewing area. Each pod contains up to 200 eggs, which hatch in the late spring. The young nymphs become adults in a month or two. Usually one generation is hatched each year. The species is not migratory and overwinter in the egg stage in Minnesota.

These grasshoppers can be a significant crop pest. They eat most plants, but prefer grasses, ragweed, sunflowers and Prickly Lettuce. The young feed on grains, alfalfa and hay; adults consume corn, cotton, and fruit crops. Often large swarms attack fields (Wikipedia).

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