Hadrotettix trifasciatus (Say)

Adult male Adult female

Common name - Three-banded range grasshopper (Helfer, 1972).

Geographic distribution - Saskatchewan (Canada), Montana, Colorado and Arizona, south and east to South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas (Froeschner, 1954). Its Colorado range is from the eastern plains to the eastern mountain valley grasslands (Hebard, 1929).

Colorado Distribution Map

Habitat - high, bare hill slopes, rocky areas and areas of short grass and gravelly soil (Bruner, 1897; Froeschner, 1954; Mulkern et al., 1969).

Food habits - no distinct food preference, but forbs are preferred over grasses. Some of the plants eaten are western wheatgrass, blue grama, threadleaf sedge, Missouri loco, scarlet globemallow, stork's bill, sunflower, red sprangletop, little barley, saltgrass, prickly poppy, stinkgrass, curly mesquite, peppergrass, scurfpea and scarlet gaura. Arthropod parts have been found in some of their crops, and there is record of cannibalism (Anderson and Wright, 1952; Mulkern et al., 1969; Nerney, 1960).

Eggs - 18 to 26 eggs are arranged in two or three disorderly columns within each pod. They are tan colored, turning reddish-brown later. Average egg length, 8 mm; average diameter, 2 mm (Onsager and Mulkern, 1963).

Nymph - five instars (Ramsay, 1964).

Adult - large size. General color is tan. Face is vertical; vertex is rounded. Antennae are long, black and slender. Median carina of pronotum is faint. Dorsal posterior margin of pronotum is a right angle. Tegmina are tan with three broad, solid, dark bands. Wings are pale yellow with a black band and clear apex. Hind femora are robust; the inner surface is blue-black with a light band near the knee. Outer surface of femora has one dark band. Hind tibiae are orange. Male length, 25 to 30 mm; female, 35 to 40 mm (Ball et all., 1942).
Tegmen Close up of tegmen tip

Oviposition - egg beds usually are on hilltops and ridges. Females were shown experimentally to prefer coarse chalk, course sand or marl for oviposition (Isely, 1938).

Seasonal history - overwinters in the egg stage. Adults are present from early July to mid-September (Ball et al., 1942; Newton et al., 1954).

Abundance and importance - very common in Colorado but is of little economical importance since it eats mostly low-value forbs (Caudell, 1903; Mulkern et al., 1969).

H. trifasciatus fact sheet from the Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers
Next Species: Heliaula rufa
Previous Species: Gryllus spp.
Biology of Common Colorado Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers of Colorado Contents