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Grasshoppers of Wyoming and the West


Dissosteira carolina (Linneaus)

Common name - Carolina grasshopper or Dust grasshopper (Osborn, 1939).

Geographic distribution - Nova Scotia to British Columbia (Canada) and Alaska; south to northern Florida, central Alabama, southeastern Mississippi, northern Texas, northern New Mexico, Arizona and California (Brooks, 1958). It is found throughout Colorado.

Colorado Distribution Map

Habitat - often found on bare earth in cultivated patches, dark shale outcrops, roadsides, parking lots and gardens. It thrives best where people live (Blatchley, 1920; Brooks, 1958).

Food habits - feeds on mixed grasses and forbs. It prefers bluegrass and is also known to feed on sand dropseed, belvedere summercypress and prairie sunflower (Kumar et al., 1976; Wakeland, 1958; Tyrkus, 1971).

Eggs - egg pods are about 5 cm long and contain 30 to 72 eggs in three or four columns. Eggs are yellow, turning reddish-brown. Average egg length, 5.5 mm; average diameter, 1.2 mm (Criddle, 1918; Onsager and Mulkern, 1963).

Nymph - five instars, rarely six (Shotwell, 1941).

Adult - large. General color varies from light greyish-yellow to bright reddish-brown. It often is sprinkled with small dusky spots. Face is vertical. Vertex is rounded. Antennae are slender. Median carina of pronotum is a sharp ridge with a notch anterior to the middle. Dorsal posterior margin of pronotum is a right angle. Body is slender and compressed. Tegmina are semitransparent, finely speckled and long. Wings are long, wide and black with a narrow yellow-green outer border. Apex is clear to smoky and spotted with black. Hind femora are reddish-brown with three broad black bands on the inner face. Hind tibiae are yellowish or dusky. Male length, 24-33 mm; female, 33-40 mm (Blatchley, 1920).
D. carolina is gregarious. Flight is a noiseless zig-zag. In courtship, males hover and make a sharp see-sawing sound (Blatchley, 1920; Helfer, 1972).

Oviposition - eggs are deposited in blown sand ridges, banks, silt runoff from fields and along roadsides as long as the area is free from vegetation and is fully exposed to the sun. Only rarely will D. carolina oviposit among plant roots (Criddle, 1918; Osborn, 1939; Shotwell, 1941).

Seasonal history - eggs are deposited in the autumn and hatch in spring. Adults are found from early July through late September (Gillette, 1904; Osborn, 1939).

Abundance and importance - common throughout Colorado and able to consume large amounts of forage (Caudell, 1903; LaRivers, 1948).

D. carolina fact sheet from the Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers
Next Species: Dissosteira longipennis
Previous Species: Derotmema haydeni
Biology of Common Colorado Grasshoppers List
Biology of Common Colorado Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers of Colorado Contents

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