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Grasshoppers of Wyoming and the West


Dissosteira longipennis (Thomas)

Common name - High plains grasshopper, Long-winged plains grasshopper or Long-winged locust (Wakeland, 1958).

Geographic distribution - a native of the high plains in the United States, including eastern Colorado, southwestern Nebraska, western Kansas, the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and eastern New Mexico (Wakeland, 1958). In Colorado it is found from the eastern plains to the eastern mountain valleys (Hebard, 1929).

Colorado Distribution Map

Habitat - occurs in areas of short grass, mainly between 4,000 ft. and 6,000 ft. altitude. Breeding occurs only in areas where grama grass is dominant or subdominant (Wakeland, 1958). Food habits - eats grama grasses and buffalo grass. Short grasses are preferred, but it will readily feed on many cultivated crops (sudan, millet, maize, corn and beans). Alfalfa is fed upon but not seriously damaged (Wakeland, 1958).

Eggs - eggs are light brown. Average egg length, 5.5 mm; average diameter, 1.25 mm. Egg pods are long and large and arranged in a nearly horizontal position 1 to 2 in below the surface with the upturned froth cap near the surface. An average of 65 eggs per pod are arranged in almost vertical rows (Tuck and Smith, 1939; Wakeland, 1958).

Nymph - six instars in Colorado; five in New Mexico and Texas (Wakeland, 1958).

Adult - large. General color is tan. Face is vertical. Vertex is rounded. Antennae are slender. Median carina of pronotum is a sharp ridge with a deep sulcus anterior to middle. Dorsal posterior margin of pronotum is a right angle, sometimes acute. Body is slender and compressed. Tegmina are tan with fairly large blotches of dark brown. Wings are colorless near attachment. Middle portion of wing is a rectangular brown area. Hind edge of wing is yellow-green, and apex is colorless with small brown spots. Hind femora have three broad, black bands on innerface. Male length, 40 mm; female, 50 to 60 mm (Wakeland, 1958).
D. longipennis often aggregates at lights at night (Caudell, 1903).

Oviposition - eggs are deposited in limited areas where many egg pods are concentrated to make egg beds. These beds occur in field margins of crops, grassland, pastures, bottom land, hills, waste land and restoration areas. More than 90% occur in grama and buffalo grass range. Eggs are deposited in sandy, loam soil around the edges of grasses and in bare spots usually on exposed slopes (Wakeland, 1958).

Seasonal history - eggs are laid in the fall and hatch in spring. Adults appear in early summer (Wakeland, 1958).

Migratory tendencies - strongly migratory. Fly in masses for long distances (Wakeland, 1958).

Abundance and importance - common and abundant in Colorado during the 1930s (Hinkle, 1938). Outbreaks are infrequent but when they do occur, D. longipennis is the most destructive of range grasshoppers (Shotwell, 1941). Outbreaks follow drought and subside when precipitation is above normal (Wakeland, 1958).

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

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