Phoetaliotes nebrascensis (Thomas)

 
Adult male Adult female

Common name - Large-headed locust, Big head or Rednosed grasshopper (Ball et al., 1942; Blatchley, 1920; Tinkham, 1948).

Geographic distribution - Alberta (Canada) to central Mexico, east to Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas. West to British Columbia (Canada), California, New Mexico and Arizona (Brooks, 1958). In Colorado it is found on the eastern plains (Hebard, 1929).

Colorado Distribution Map

Habitat - lives in sparsley vegetated areas (Mulkern et al., 1964).

Food habits - a mixed feeder but prefers grasses. Specific foods are western wheatgrass, Sandberg bluegrass, little bluestem, bluebunch wheatgrass, sand dropseed, needleandthread, blue grama, big bluestem, cheatgrass brome, intermediate wheatgrass and bluegrass (Banfill and Brusven, 1973; Campbell et al., 1974; Hebard, 1929; Kumar et al., 1976; Mulkern et al., 1964; Mulkern et al., 1969).

Eggs - 24 tan eggs are produced in two columns within the pod. Average egg length, 4.3 mm; average diameter, 1 mm (Onsager and Mulkern, 1963).

Nymph - five instars (Cantrall, 1943).

Adult - medium size. General color is olive-green with dark, brown markings. Head is large and prominent. Antennae are slender, reddish and dusky toward the tip. Dorsal posterior margin of pronotum is rounded. Broad blackish band extends behind the eye and along all but the posterior third of pronotum. Tegmina and wings usually are short. Tips of tegmina when short are pointed. Abdomen of male has greenish sides; the posterior third of each segment is brownish and more brown in female. Front and middle femora are reddish-yellow. Hind femora are green tinted with brownish-red and with lower surface reddish-yellow. Knees are black. Hind tibia are dull green or blue with black spines. Male length, 22 mm; female, 28 mm (Blatchley, 1920).
Males are strong and active jumpers. They often leap to a clump of weeds or grass and slide down to sit close to the ground. Females move sluggishly (Blatchley, 1920).
 
Head and pronotum (Top view) Cercus

Oviposition - occurs in vegetated areas. Eggs have been seen in the crowns of grass clumps (Onsager, 1963).

Seasonal history - hatching occurs from late June to late July. Adults appear in late July (Mulkern et al., 1964; Newton et al., 1954).

Abundance and importance - common in eastern Colorado and can be destructive to grassland and some cultivated crops (Gillette, 1904; Mulkern et al., 1969).

P. nebrascensis fact sheet from the Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers
Next Species: Psoloessa delicatula
Previous Species: Phlibostroma quadrimaculatum
Biology of Common Colorado Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers of Colorado Contents