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Posts Tagged ‘grasshopper’

Carlinian snapper grasshoppers (Circotettix carlinianus) mating in the heat of the afternoon in a parking lot at Catalina State Park, Tucson, AZ. My entire underside was scorched, but I did get a nice picture! Click/double-click image to enlarge.

The morning presentations focused on education- and field-related research and initiatives. Seven of us spent the afternoon examining the Catalina State Park flora and arthropod fauna.

Midway through our hike, led by Dayna Cooper, one of the group members pulled out a thermometer and announced the current temperature was 110, causing me to again realize that 110 in the Sonoran Desert is still a WHOLE LOT more comfortable than mid 90s during a typical humid day in July or August in east central IL. The evening culminated in a large group picnic at Catalina State Park with more blacklighting.

I came back to the hotel, washed all of the clothes I’ve worn during the week thus far in the shower, and hung them on the balcony. Unlike home, I can count on them being dry in the morning when I wake up when I’m here in Arizona. Still have pictures to process.

Tomorrow promises to be interesting. Presentations regarding 1) species boundaries in Aphonopelma tarantulas, 2) efforts to reintroduce the American burying beetle to Missouri, 3) using margined burying beetles as a surrogate species for the endangered American burying beetle in conservation efforts, 4) the Omaha Zoo’s efforts to rear mass quantities of tarantulas in novel habitat (conservation implications and reduction of harvest of wild specimens for the pet trade), 5) captive breeding and color variability in oblong winged katydids (you may have seen the pink mutation that crops up in wild populations), 6) nutritional value of various items used in diets of zoo arthropods, and 7) impact of Wolbachia bacteria on a variety of arthropods promise to fill the morning with lots of new ideas.

The afternoon will be devoted to workshops. The annual banquet takes place in the evening.

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Note the characteristic green coloring this young grasshopper nymph. Click/double-click image to enlarge.

People throughout the midwestern U.S. can anticipate the “sudden” appearance of large numbers of grasshoppers. Some people will attribute the sudden appearance to the recent bout of hot weather, which certainly increases rate of development, but the reality is that the grasshoppers have been developing for months.

The younger nymphs of several common species (e.g. red-legged grasshoppers and differential grasshoppers) are green, blending easily with a variety of plants that provide them food and shelter. The earlier stage nymphs respond to potential predators by moving to the opposite side of a leaf or stem. We simply don’t see them.

As the nymphs approach maturity, the later stage, more powerful nymphs molt into green-brown individuals who respond to potential predators by jumping rather than hiding.

Adult coloration, comprised largely of browns and grays, allow the adults to blend more easily into the drying vegetation and foliage that will become more prominent over the next several weeks.

A slightly older nymph of the same species, showing the brown-green coloration of later stage nymphs. Click image to enlarge.

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Slender meadow katydid (Conocephalus fasciatus). Click image to enlarge.

The second most common group of evening singers were slender meadow katydids (Conocephalus fasciatus).

You can hear the distinctive song at http://www.musicofnature.org/songsofinsects/iframes/meadowkatydids/meadowkatydids.html.

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Jumping bush cricket (Orocharis saltator) singing. Click/double click image to enlarge.

I was thrilled to photograph an individual of this species singing last night. I find them visually stunning as they raise their wings to stridulate, rubbing their forewings together, filling the night with constant sound.

You can hear the distinctive song at http://www.musicofnature.org/songsofinsects/iframes/trigs/trigs.html. Click on the image of the jumping bush cricket on that page to hear it. Enjoy!

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Davis' tree cricket (Oecanthus exclamationis). Click image to enlarge.

The evening sound of cicadas is now gone in its entirety, making nocturnal singing in east central IL significantly less deafening, though it also heralds the end of the arthropod photography season.

I followed a singly noticeable song and captured this image of a singing Davis’ tree cricket. You can hear the distinctive song at

http://www.musicofnature.org/songsofinsects/iframes/treecrickets/popup_oecaexcl.html.

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Note the elongate hind legs. ovipositor and antennae of this female nymph. Click to enlarge.

This slender katydid is one of the most commonly encountered IL katydid species, ranging from Mexico to northern Ontario.

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Red-legged grasshopper on milkweed. Click image to enlarge.

The most common grasshoppers species I’ve been encountering lately are older nymphs and young adult red-legged grasshoppers. This is probably the most common short-horned grasshopper species in central IL. Its ranges extends throughout parts of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

The species gets its common name from the reddish tibia, which varies in color intensity from individual to individual.

Large numbers of these grasshoppers can significantly reduce alfalfa, clover, soybeans, small grains, beans, beets, cabbage, and potato yields.

In years of drought, the adults develop longer wings, fly more, and make lengthy flights, often in company with the migratory grasshopper.

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