Differential Grasshopper - Melanoplus differentialis - Female
(Photo: Marvin Smith on 10/8/09)
IDENTIFICATION: General color is yellow to yellowish-brown with contrasting black markings ... wings are colorless ... black herringbone markings on outer face of hind femora ... hind tibiae are yellow with black spines and a narrow black ring near the knee ... average length for males is around 1 1/4" ... females are larger, averaging around 1 3/4".
RANGE: One of the more common grasshoppers. Can be found throughout most of the U. S.
FOOD: A mixed feeder that prefers grasses, especially lush vegetation in moist crop area (i. e. corn, clover, alfalfa and various garden crops). Although M. differentialis can be a serious pest in cultivated crops, it's usually not a problem in grasslands.
SEASON: Adults are common in the latter part of July. They deposit eggs from mid-August to October, and the eggs overwinter.
OVIPOSITON: Eggs are [normally] deposited in raised plant crowns of somewhat isolated clumps of sod. Common oviposition sites are compact roads, deserted fields, edges of weed patches and well-grazed areas near weedy ravines. Why the female pictured above chose to oviposit in a nail hole on our porch steps, I do not know. It was not a good choice.
Sources and links:
BugGuide Species Page
Grasshoppers of Colorado
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