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Grasshoppers of Wyoming and the West


Melanoplus lakinus (Scudder)

Geographic distribution - common throughout the Great Plains (Hebard, 1929). Found from the plains to the foothills in eastern Colorado (Alexander, 1941; Gillette, 1904) and occasionally in western Colorado.

Colorado Distribution Map

Habitat - common on ground covered by native grasses and where tumbleweeds grow (Gillette, 1904).

Food habits - monophagous to oligophagous in its feeding habits. It has been noted feeding on plants of the Goosefoot family, sugarbeet, and Russian thistle (Gillette, 1904; Mulkern, et al., 1969).

Eggs - eggs are light brown in color. Average egg length, 4.53 mm; average diameter, 1.02 mm (Tuck and Smith, 1939).

Nymph - five instars.

Adult - small to medium size. Color is brownish-blue. Broad blackish-brown stripe extends along the top of the head and pronotum and occasionally broadens in patches. Dorsal posterior margin of pronotum is rounded. Upper half of the lateral lobes of the prozona is marked by a dark-brownish band. Tegmina are short, about the length of head and pronotum and twice as long as broad; spear shaped and ending in a sharp point; dark brown in color, with a slender median line of alternate yellowish and brownish flecks (sometimes absent). Hind femora are light to dark yellow brown with two broad, oblique, purplish bands on the outer surface. Hind tibiae are dull blue with pale spines tipped in black. Cerci are short and swollen at base, apical half spatulate. Furculae are small, triangular and widely separated. Subgenital plate is short; its extreme posterior margin is elevated and as high as broad. Male length, 22 mm; female, 30 mm (Scudder, 1897).

Oviposition - eggs are deposited among the roots of such plants as the tall grass tanglehead (Ball et al., 1942).

Abundance and importance - one of the more common species of the Great Plains. M. lakinus is not an economically important species in grassland habitats (Hebard, 1929; Mulkern, et al., 1969).

M. lakinus fact sheet from the Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers
Next Species: Melanoplus occidentalis
Previous Species: Melanoplus infantilis
Biology of Common Colorado Grasshoppers List
Biology of Common Colorado Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers of Colorado Contents

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