Higher classification Melanoplinae
Scientific name Melanoplus
|Lower classifications Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus femurrubrum, Rocky Mountain locust|
Red legged grasshopper acrididae melanoplus femurrubrum nymph
Melanoplus is a large genus of grasshoppers. They are the typical large grasshoppers (and in some cases migratory "locusts") in North America. A common name is spur-throat grasshoppers (also "spurthroat" or "spur-throated grasshoppers"), but this more typically refers to members of the related subfamily Catantopinae.
- Red legged grasshopper acrididae melanoplus femurrubrum nymph
- Two striped grasshopper acrididae melanoplus bivittatus mating
- Selected species
The largest grasshoppers of this genus can reach nearly 5 cm (2.0 in) in length, but most are smaller. Some are intricately patterned and colorful, others are drab.
Melanoplus species eat grasses of all kinds, as well as leafy and grassy agricultural crops and garden plants. They feed on the leaves, and sometimes fruit, flowers, and buds, as well as tree bark. Many of the more notable agricultural pest grasshoppers belong here, including the Rocky Mountain locust, the most significant insect pest of the 19th century Great Plains, but now extinct.
Two striped grasshopper acrididae melanoplus bivittatus mating
New species are often being discovered and described in this genus where speciation runs rampant in isolated areas, involving speciation by hybridization.