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Re: Cult: Colorful Grasshopper on Iris (3)-

  • Subject: Re: Cult: Colorful Grasshopper on Iris (3)-
  • From: "David Ferguson" <manzano57@msn.com>
  • Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2007 09:22:14 -0600
  • Seal-send-time: Sat, 8 Sep 2007 09:22:14 -0600

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 years).
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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