This is a Spur-throat type grasshopper, probably the
common so-called "Migratory Grasshopper" (Melanoplus sanguinipes - M.
atlantis of some older books). Since it's a female, I can't be
certain of species, but it is in that genus. The species name means
roughly "red-leg", referring to the lower part of the hind leg, even
though the hind legs are blue in yours (color varies in many
species). This critter is indeed probably nibbling on your desirable
plants. They will eat just about anything green, and when there is nothing
left green they will move on to tree bark, nylon screens, clothes on the line,
etc. But, usually there aren't that many of them, and usually they aren't
much of a problem. They aren't migratory either, at least not in this
form, but are very similar to the species that was the plague locust of the mid
sections of North America decades ago (presumed to be extinct now - hmmm - got'a
wonder about that. Swarming by the millions one year, "extinct" a few years
later - sounds fishy. Most migratory species of grasshopper have a
solitary non-migratory phase that looks different than the migratory (usually
longer-winged) migratory phase that swarms. M. sanguinipes may be
the solitary phase of M. spretus (the true Migratory Locust), in which
case it just hasn't swarmed in a long time (something around 80
Well, enough of that. It is an extra colorful
specimen, usually they are more brown or gray, without the rich hues. A
beautiful shot of a beautiful insect.
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