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Re: Grasshopper Suspect, Damage by Grasshopper (maybe)

  • Subject: Re: Grasshopper Suspect, Damage by Grasshopper (maybe)
  • From: "David Ferguson" <manzano57@msn.com>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 22:54:02 -0600
  • Seal-send-time: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 22:54:02 -0600

Hi Linda,
Definitely not laying eggs in your stalks.  This is Schistocerca vaga (sometimes called S. nitens).  It is a common species in the sw. US.  Sometimes it lives through the winter and is still around as an adult in the spring.  Generally it is most common as an adult in late summer and autumn, and the nymphs are around in late spring and summer.  In some of the more southerly locations it produces a couple of generations per season.  It is part of a group often called "Bird Grasshoppers" in the US.  The Old World plague locust is in this genus (Schistocerca americana gregaria).  Our Schistocerca species (including S. americana) don't form huge swarms that destroy everything in their path, but used to have another unrelated species that did.
There are several other species of Schistocerca in the US, some are quite striking creatures.  I've never thought of them as pests, though they can chew some nasty holes in leaves here and there.  Most tend to favor lush vegetation (often trees or shrubs, some like tall grass), and tend to move around a lot.  They usually don't occur in high densities.
I wanted to double check the name, since I haven't really studied these things in a number of years, don't trust my memory.  When doing the Google thing, I was surprised to find the following web site.  http://www.schistocerca.org
As for the damage on the stalk, it doesn't look like chewing damage to me, at least not recent chewing.  It looks to me like a rub or bruise that occurred when the stalk was small and killed the surface tissue.  It appears that as the stalk grew, it split the damaged tissue as the tissue underneath grew.  I suspect that there is no pest nor disease directly responsible, though I could see how some sort of rasping damage such as that done by a snail might have started the damage.  Just guessing here though.

central NM

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