Heliaula rufa (Scudder)

Adult female

Common name - Rufous grasshopper (Helfer, 1972).

Geographic distribution - Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to Utah, Colorado and Nebraska (Helfer, 1972; Otte, 1981). In Colorado H. rufa is found on river cliffs or outcrops of the plains. It is most common in southeastern Colorado (Alexander, 1941; Hebard, 1924).

Colorado Distribution Map

Habitat - grassy areas of gravelly soil (Tinkham, 1948).

Food habits - a grass feeder that prefers grama grasses but also feeds on threeawn (Fry et al., 1978; Joern, 1979; Kumar et al., 1976).

Adult - small to medium size. General color is cream or reddish. Head is usually grey and lighter than body. Face is vertical, and vertex is rounded. Antennae are slender. Head is large. Pronotum is smaller than head. Dorsal posterior fourth of pronotum is darker, giving the impression of a dark crescent laid across the back. Dorsal posterior margin of pronotum intermediate between a right angle and a curve. Tegmina are opaque and spotted with brown. Wings are clear to pale blue. Hind femora have two dark bands on the upper and outer surfaces. Hind tibiae are pink to orange. Male length, 20 mm; female, 25 mm (Ball et al., 1942).
Pronotum (Top view) Hind femur Tegmen

Seasonal history - adults are present from late July to late September (Newton et al., 1954).

Abundance and importance - generally an uncommon grassland species; however, it may be common in southeastern Colorado (Alexander, 1941; Helfer, 1972).

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Biology of Common Colorado Grasshoppers
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