|Adult male||Adult female|
Common name - Narrow-winged spur-throated grasshopper (Heifer, 1972).
Geographic distribution - distributed throughout the Great Plains from Alberta and Manitoba (Canada) to Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia (Hebard, 1929; Helfer, 1972). In Colorado it is found primarily in the eastern half of the state (Alexander, 1941).
Colorado Distribution Map
Habitat - usually confined to areas of sandy soil, especially in association with grass and the edges of low bushes. Also commonly collected on old, plowed sod land and on pastures grazed heavily for many years (Criddle, 1918; Helfer, 1972; Scudder, 1897; Somes, 1914).
Food habits - in food preference studies, M. angustipennis appeared to be polyphagous with a certain tendency expressed toward forbs. Forbs made up 52% of its diet and grasses 28% of its diet while feeding on 38 different kinds of food. Major food items (presented in mean percent dry weight of food in diet) consisted of western ragweed, 13%; moss, 12%; fungus, 8%; arthropod parts, 7%; and blue grama, 6%. In addition to western ragweed, M. angustipennis showed a preference toward such plants as wavyleaf thistle, sand dropseed, western wheatgrass and the seeds of vetch and sand dropseed. Plants that were eaten in amounts relatively lower than their availability included sand sagebrush, blue grama, prairie sandreed and needleandthread (Mulkern et al., 1969; Ueckert, 1969; Ueckert and Hansen, 1971).
Eggs - eggs range in color from tan to cream yellow. Average egg length, 4.79 mm; average diameter, 1.33 mm. Egg pods usually contain 14 to 18 eggs arranged in two columns (Onsager and Mulkern, 1963; Tuck and Smith, 1939).
Nymph - five instars.
Adult - medium size. Female is slightly larger than the male.
Color is variable, often dark grey to dark brown with a redbrown tinge
and pale underneath. Top of the head and anterior pronotum dark brown with
posterior pronotum and lateral lobes paler; lower face dull yellow. Pronotum
may be dull yellow on top. Broad, black bands are below the lateral carinae
on the anterior two-thirds of the pronotum. Dorsal posterior margin of
pronotum is a rounded right angle. Tegmina are slender and tapering, reaching
or slightly surpassing tips of the hind femora. Wings are colorless. Hind
femora are dull yellow-brown. Hind tibiae are either pale greenish blue
or dull red; spines black. Cerci are short and spatulate at tip; middle
third is the narrowest with apical one-third as broad as base. Furculae
are slender and somewhat cylindrical, divergent and not more than one-third
as long as supraanal plate. Supraanal plate strongly and abruptly narrowed
at apical third and notched. Male length, 19 to 22 mm; female, 21 to 22
mm (Blatchley, 1920; Scudder, 1897; Somes, 1914).
|Male abdomen tip (Top view)||Cercus|
Oviposition - females seem to prefer cleared areas of sandy soil (Criddle, 1918).
Seasonal history - in eastern Colorado, adults are present from July through mid-September (Ueckert and Hansen, 1971).
Abundance and importance - this grasshopper is, at times, quite abundant on the Great Plains, forming a high percentage of the swarms of grasshoppers. However, typically it is of little economic importance in grassland habitats (Hebard, 1929; Mulkern et al., 1969).
M. angustipennis fact sheet from the Field
Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers
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Biology of Common Colorado Grasshoppers
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