Arizona Grasshoppers and other Singing Insects

By Garry Rogers

Arizona Grasshoppers and other Singing Insects

Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids are familiar to everyone, but there are few records of distribution and conservation status.  This report includes a partial checklist for Arizona grasshoppers.  Grasshoppers are members of the Orthoptera, one of the most familiar insect orders.  Orthoptera includes two suborders: Caelifera (grasshoppers and relatives) and Ensifera (crickets, katydids, and gryllacridoids).

KatydidThe katydid in the photo is probably Greater Angle-wing Katydid (Microcentrum Rhombifolium).  It is common in central Arizona where I live.  According to the BugGuide website, the similar California Angle-wing (Microcentrum californicum) also occurs in central Arizona.  The two are distinguished chiefly by their songs.

Most singing insects are herbivores.  Their occasional population explosions can reduce farm profits, and have led to emphasis on eradication.  Protection deserves more consideration.  Orthoptera are all important biomass recyclers, and all serve as essential sources of food for other animals.  Use of insects for human food is growing in popularity.  As the human population continues to swell, the proportion experiencing the culinary delights of bug dinning will grow.  We have to wait to see if grasshopper ranches arrive before textured soy protein replaces sirloin.

Orthoptera suffer from habitat loss just as other species groups do.  Farms, roads, and buildings are concentrated in valleys near lakes and streams.  The selective destruction of natural habitats in these more productive areas alters the size and composition of insect populations.  These changes reduce ecosystem diversity, stability, and productivity.  The references listed in the Singing Insects of North America website and in the list below are a good place to start to learn more about the ecological importance of these insects.

Grasshoppers

Many of the 400 grasshopper species known to occur in the western U. S. may be present in Arizona, but in the time available to prepare this report I could only verify 59 species from the USDA fact sheets (USDA and Pfadt 2002) and 35 from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD–October 2013) website.  The list is almost certainly incomplete, and it probably contains outdated names.

I compiled the list from the range maps on the website of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the October 10 species list by AZGFD.  The USDA fact sheets include maps, photographs, and the natural history of each species.  The Bug Guide provides additional information.

Crickets

Male crickets calling for mates by rubbing their forewings together are a common sound on warm summer nights.  The tone and frequency of the chirps varies with temperature.  Adding 40 to the number of chirps in 13 seconds yields a fairly accurate measure of the degrees Fahrenheit.

The website, Singing Insects of North America by Thomas J. Walker (crickets and katydids) and Thomas E. Moore (cicadas) provides a visual key to the nine families and subfamilies of North American Crickets north of Mexico.  It provides information on about 130 species.  House and field crickets of the Gryllinae subfamily are the most familiar. Distribution maps on the websiteshow the following five species are present in central Arizona.

Katydids

Around 350 species of Katydids in two families and six subfamilies are found in North America north of Mexico.  As mentioned above, two species of the Microcentrum genus occur near my home in central Arizona.  The range maps on the Singing Insects of North America website could be used to compile a more complete list for Arizona.

Singing Insects References and Notes

  • Arnett, R.H.  2000.  American insects:  A handbook of the insects of America north of Mexico.  2nd Edition.  CRC Press.  1024 p.
  • Bug Guide.  www.bugguide.net.
  • Capinera, J.L, R.D. Scott, and T. J. Walker.  2004.  Field guide to grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets of the United States.  Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY  249 p.
  • Orthopterists’ Society.  http://140.247.119.225/OrthSoc.
  • Pfadt, R.E.  2002.  Field guide to common western grasshoppers:  Third edition.  Bulletin 912.   Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.  288 p.
  • Pfadt, R.E.  n.d.  Grasshopper species fact sheets.  Bulletin 912.   Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.
  • USDA.  Website:  http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/grasshopper/ID_Tools/F_Sheets/index.htm.
  • Walker, T.J., and T.E. Moore. Website:  Singing Insects of North America.

Conservation Status Symbol Definitions

Symbols Applied by Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD)

  • S1      Critically Imperiled: Extremely rare or some factor(s) is making the species especially vulnerable to extirpation.  Typically 5 or fewer locations or very few remaining individuals (<1,000).
  • S2      Imperiled:  Rare or some factor(s) is making the species very vulnerable to extirpation. Typically 6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals (1,000 to 3,000).
  • S3      Vulnerable:  Rare or found only in a restricted range (even if abundant at some locations), or because of other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.  Typically 21 to 100 occurrences or between 3,000 and 10,000 individuals.
  • S#S# (e.g., S3S4):  Indicates the range of uncertainty about exact status.

Symbols Used for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service USFWS)

  • SC       Species of Concern:  The terms “Species of Concern” or “Species at Risk” should be considered as terms-of-art that describe the entire realm of taxa whose conservation status may be of concern to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, but neither term has official status (currently includes all former C2 and delisted species).

Arizona Grasshopper Checklist

Arizona grasshoppers

Scientific Name

Common Name

AZ

ESA

Acrolophitus hirtipes

Green fool grasshopper 

S?

 

Acrolophitus nevadensis

Nevada Point-headed grasshopper

S?

Aeoloplides chenopodii

grasshopper

S?

Aeropedellus clavatus

Clubhorned grasshopper 

S?

 

Ageneotettix deorum

Whitewhiskered grasshopper 

S?

 

Ageneotettix salutator

grasshopper

S?

Amphitornus coloradus

Striped grasshopper 

S?

 

Arphia conspersa

Specklewinged grasshopper 

S?

 

Arphia pseudonietana

Redwinged grasshopper 

S?

 

Aulocara elliotti

Bigheaded grasshopper 

S?

 

Aulocara femoratum

Whitecrossed grasshopper 

S?

 

Aztecacris gloriosus

Atascosa Gem grasshopper

S1

Barytettix humphreysi

Humphrey’s grasshopper

S?

Boopedon nubilum

Ebony grasshopper 

S?

 

Brachystola magna

Plains lubber grasshopper 

S?

 

Bruneria brunnea

Bruner slantfaced grasshopper 

S?

 

Camnula pellucid

Clearwinged grasshopper 

S?

 

Campylacantha olivacea

Fuzzy olive-green grasshopper 

S?

 

Chorthippus curtipennis

Meadow grasshopper 

S?

 

Chortophaga viridifasciata

Greenstriped grasshopper 

S?

 

Clematodes vanduzeei

grasshopper

S?

Conalcaea cantralli

grasshopper

S?

Conalcaea huachucana

Huachuca grasshopper

S?

Cordillacris crenulata

Crenulatewinged grasshopper 

S?

 

Cordillacris occipitalis

Spottedwinged grasshopper 

S?

 

Dactylotum bicolor

Painted grasshopper 

S?

 

Derotmema haydeni

Hayden grasshopper 

S?

 

Dissosteira Carolina

Carolina grasshopper 

S?

 

Encoptolophus costalis

Dusky grasshopper 

S?

 

Eritettix simplex

Velvetstriped grasshopper 

S?

 

Eumorsea balli

Ball’s Monkey grasshopper

S1

Eumorsea pinaleno

Pinaleno Monkey grasshopper

S1S3

SC

Hadrotettix trifasciatus

Threebanded grasshopper 

S?

 

Heliaula rufa

Rufous grasshopper 

S?

 

Hesperotettix viridis

Snakeweed grasshopper 

S?

 

Leuronotina ritensis

Lichen grasshopper

S1

Melanoplus angustipennis

Narrowwinged sand grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus bivittatus

Twostriped grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus bowditchi

Sagebrush grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus bruneri

Bruner spurthroated grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus chiricahuae

Spur-throat grasshopper (1)

S1

Melanoplus confuses

Pasture grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus cuneatus

Wedge Spur-throat grasshopper

S?

Melanoplus dawsoni

Dawson grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus desultorius

Red Whiskers grasshopper

S?

Melanoplus differentialis

Differential grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus discolor

Contrast Spur-throat grasshopper

S?

Melanoplus femurnigrum

Spur-throat grasshopper (2)

S?

Melanoplus femurrubrum

Redlegged grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus flavidus

Yellowish spurthroat grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus foedus

Striped Sand grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus franciscanus

Spur-throat grasshopper (3)

S?

Melanoplus gladstoni

Gladston grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus infantilis

Little spurthroated grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus keeleri

Keeler grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus lakinus

Lakin grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus magdalenae

Spur-throat grasshopper (4)

S?

Melanoplus occidentalis

Flabellate grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus packardii

Packard grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus pictus

Pictured Spur-throat grasshopper

S?

Melanoplus pinaleno

Pinaleno Short-wing grasshopper

S1

Melanoplus rugglesi

Nevada sage grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus sanguinipes

Migratory grasshopper 

S?

 

Melanoplus snowii

Spur-throat grasshopper (5)

S?

Melanoplus sp. 21

grasshopper (6)

S?

Melanoplus sp. 52

grasshopper (7)

S?

Melanoplus splendidus

Spur-throat grasshopper (8)

S?

Melanoplus spretus

Rocky Mountain grasshopper

S?

Melanoplus truncatus

Spur-throat grasshopper (9)

S?

Melanoplus devastator

Devastating grasshopper 

S?

 

Mermiria bivittata

Twostrip slantfaced grasshopper 

S?

 

Metator pardalinus

Bluelegged grasshopper 

S?

 

Morsea dumicola

Monkey grasshopper (1)

S?

Morsea kaibabensis

Monkey grasshopper (2)

S?

Oedaleonotus enigma

Valley grasshopper 

S?

 

Opeia atascosa

grasshopper

S?

Opeia obscura

Obscure grasshopper 

S?

 

Paratettix schochi

Broad-legged Pygmy grasshopper

S?

Paropomala wyomingensis

Wyoming toothpick grasshopper 

S?

 

Phlibostroma quadrimaculatum

Fourspotted grasshopper 

S?

 

Phoetaliotes nebrascensis

Largeheaded grasshopper 

S?

 

Poecilotettix pantherinus

Panther-spotted grasshopper

S?

Prorocorypha snowi

Snow’s Toothpick grasshopper

S1

Psoloessa delicatula

Brownspotted grasshopper 

S?

 

Psoloessa texana

Texas spotted range grasshopper 

S?

 

Spharagemon collare

Mottled sand grasshopper 

S?

 

Spharagemon equale

Orangelegged grasshopper 

S?

 

Stenopelmatus navajo

Navajo Jerusalem Cricket

S1S3

SC

Syrbula admirabilis

Admirable grasshopper 

S?

 

Tomonotus ferruginosus

Oak Leaf grasshopper

S?

Trachyrhachys kiowa

Kiowa grasshopper 

S?

 

Trimerotropis arizonensis

grasshopper

S?

Trimerotropis pallidipennis

Pallidwinged grasshopper 

S?

 

Xanthippus corallipes

Redshanked grasshopper 

S?

 

6 thoughts on “Arizona Grasshoppers and other Singing Insects

  1. Most sing during the day. It’s probably still warm enough in Marana to hear a few cicadas and flying grasshoppers. Crickets usually sing after it cools off a bit, but they do sing during the day. Some crickets come indoors, help keep other bug populations in check, and sing your ears off.

    Like

  2. I have a question about singing bugs in Marana az , do these bugs just sing at night here or do any singing bugs make noise in the winter here in Marana az? Thank you, I don’t remember this noise in winter ever after November here? Thank you for your feedback, Lisa walker

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Arizona Grasshoppers and other Singing Insects | The Blog Farm

  4. Pingback: Arizona Wildlife in Danger | The Blog Farm

  5. I will never forget the panicked, “What the hell is that noise?” that came out of the mouth of a visiting friend from Canada when one Alabama evening, we went walking just about the time the cicadas started their nightly songfest. Insects are extraordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

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