Melanoplus gladstoni Scudder

 
Adult male Adult female

Common name - Gladston's spur-throated grasshopper (Helfer, 1972).

Geographic distribution - found throughout the prairies and Great Plains from Alberta to Manitoba (Canada) and south to Arizona, Texas and Mexico (Hebard, 1928; Helter, 1972). Widely distributed in Colorado (Alexander, 1941 ) but is especially common in eastern Colorado.

Colorado Distribution Map

Habitat - found in dry areas among short grasses and weeds and in uplands associated with sandy or gravelly soils (Criddle, 1933a; Hebard, 1928; Helter, 1972).

Food habits - polyphagous in its feeding habits, exhibiting a preference toward forbes. Major food items are alfalfa and western wheatgrass. It also feeds on fringed sage, scarlet globemallow, slimflower scurfpea, milkvetch, blue grams, bahia, sand dropseed, needleandthread and Russian thistle (Criddle, 1933a; Kumar et al., 1976; Mulkern et al., 1969).

Eggs - egg color ranges from tan to brownish-yellow, to brown with a greenish tinge. Average egg length, 4.87 mm; average diameter, 1.04 mm. Egg pods contain about 16 eggs arranged in two columns (Onsager and Mulkern, 1963; Tuck and Smith, 1939).

Nymph - five instars.

Adult - medium size. Dark yellow-brown in color, pale underneath. Dark brown band extends from behind the eye across the anterior portion of the lateral lobes of the pronotum. Dorsal posterior margin of pronotum is a rounded right angle. Tegmina are slender, brownish and distinctly spotted, extending to or slightly past tip of the abdomen. Wings are colorless. Hind femora are dark yellowish-brown and marked by two distinct oblique dark bands. Hind tibiae are red or greenish. Cerci are grooved apically and curved inward and are about four times as long as broad and mildly constricted in the middle. Furculae are widely separated and quite short. Subgenital plate is small and a little broader at base than at the apex; apex is slightly elevated and rounded. Male length, 20 mm; female, 23 mm (Heifer, 1972; Scudder, 1897; Somes, 1914).
 
Male abdomen tip (Side view) Furculae Subgenital plate (Back view)

Oviposition - egg pods are commonly deposited in moist clay (Somes, 1914).

Seasonal history - in northern Colorado nymphs are present from June through August; adults are found from August through October.

Abundance and importance - common in Colorado, especially in the northeastern section of the state (VanHorn, 1972).

M. gladstoni fact sheet from the Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers
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