I didn't mean that that it was supposed to be extinct, but I can see
where what I wrote is confusing. The real migratory locust, the one that
was the swarming trouble-maker once upon a time, is said to be extinct because
nobody has seen it (except on a pin in a collection) for a very long time;
however, the one in your picture (which is very widespread across North America,
and very common) is very similar. The two may represent the non-migratory
phase and the migratory phase of the same species, but nobody seems to know for
sure. Meaning that the "extinct" migratory phase may just be unobserved
for a long time and not really extinct at all, or it may have really been a
different species and may really be extinct. Of course, as is always the
case, government agencies liked to claim total victory in their fight to
save humanity from the hoards, so favored the "extinct" explanation.
Regardless, one of these hoppers in your yard isn't a big deal, they are
all over the place (coast to coast), but usually not that many in one
place. Periodically (usually for two or three years every decade or so)
they become much more abundant and much more destructive (most often there are
several species involved). If this one really is the "Migratory [plague]
Locust" that our grandparents or great grandparents remembered,
then some year it may explode into migratory swarms that sweep across the
continent again; however, with what humans have done to the environment over the
last 100 years or so, I doubt that will happen again (???). I don't recall
for sure, but I don't think these swarms ever involved Arizona anyway (at least
not in recorded history). If I remember correctly, the populations
exploded primarily in the Rockies and the swarms moved southeastward with the
westerlies out over the Great Plains.
This species will eat just about anything, but one individual can't
eat much. Besides, even if they eat the Iris to the ground (which they did
in my yard this year - different grasshopper species though), the Iris will be
fine (not too good for aesthetics or rebloom though). They like lush
"weedy" vegetation best, so they tend to be attracted to yards (whether it be
full of cultivated plants or weeds), and this is especially true in dry climates
where the wild vegetation tends to dry up in summer and fall. The rich
color of your specimen is probably just individual variation, but maybe they all
look like that there (I don't know). If you see a gray or brown one that
otherwise looks the same, likely it is the same.
I've never counted species found around your area, but we live in
grasshopper country in the southwest. There are lots of different kinds,
most of which aren't much bother, but a few that are sometimes real pests.
As for the Marigold thing. It's a total myth. In our part of
the world Marigolds are grasshopper candy. They will come from far and
wide to chew on something so lush and wonderfully green. It might work in
places where they're whole world is green and full of better choices, but not
here. Besides, even if they don't like them, they can hop right over them,
so why would they keep them away? Sort of like putting a six inch deer
fence up for deer.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:27
Subject: Re: [SPAM]Re: [iris-photos]
Cult: Colorful Grasshopper on Iris (3)-
I don't know if we have more colorful because
it warmer here or not.
But what concerns me was the comments from Dave
that knows about grasshoppers. It seems these are "maybe"
not suppose to be here or even extinct.
I had corn this year and it seems every time
I get corn growing, then I seem to have lots of
grasshoppers,--but have never notice this kind.
Something, probably them, even ate a few
marigold plants. Now, I always thought marigold plants among your
vegetables would help keep bugs down. I still have plenty marigold
plants and it makes me wonder why they attack some and not others. One
was close to the corn, but the other marigold was on another side of the
yard. What ever would eat all of say one marigold and the one beside
Mother Nature will always keep us on our toes
to try to figure out how to work with her.
Linda in CW