Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Acrididae Members: NC Records

Mermiria bivittata (Serville, 1838) - Two-striped Mermiria


No image for this species.
Taxonomy
Family: Acrididae Subfamily: Gomphocerinae Tribe: Mermiriini
Comments: One of four species in this genus, all of which occur in North America north of Mexico (Cigliano et al., 2018); three species have been recorded in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Capinera et al. (2004)Online Photographs: BugGuide, Google ImagesTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Rehn (1919); Blatchley (1920); Otte (1981); Brust et al. (2014)                                                                                  
Comments: A large, slender, tan to yellowish-green Slant-faced Grasshopper, heavily streaked with dark brown. The dorsal surface of the pronotum is pale yellow, with only a narrow darkening along the mid-dorsal carina; the central portion of the dorsal field of the tegmina is also pale (Otte, 1981). This differs from M. intertexta where both areas are darkly banded or shaded. A strong, dark post-ocular stripe runs along the lateral lobes of the pronotum and a white lateral streak exists on the anterior portion of the tegmina, particularly in females; the lateral fields of the tegmina are otherwise dark brown.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 28-38 mm (to end of the tegmina), males; 39-56 mm, females (Otte, 1981)
Structural Features: The lateral carinae of the pronotum are missing in this species, unlike M. picta, where they are well-developed and M. intertexta where they are weakly developed.
Singing Behavior: Males stridulate during courtship, with bursts produced by two to five strokes of the femora (Brust et al., 2014)
Nymphal Stages and Development: Nymphs are illustrated and described by Brust et al. (2014). The face is strongly slanting and the antennae are ensiform, with the basal segments triangular in cross-section and the apical segments tubular. The body is yellow, tan, or green and lacks the broad pale stripe found in the nymphs of Syrbula admirabilis. While the adults of Mermiria are distinguishable, it is unclear whether this is true for the nymphs.
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Adult Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Rehn (1919) describes the habitat of this species as "areas of rich, high grass, with or without intermingled weeds", ranging from maritime habitats, including tidal creeks, to uplands up to 2,000' in elevation. He does not describe the habitat where it was collected at Havelock, but noted that it was locally abundant in high grasses in a Longleaf Pine forest in South Carolina.
Diet: Brust et al. (2014) states that bivittata is a grass-feeder, utlizing a wide range of species.
Observation Methods: Probably best found by flushing it by walking through its habitat. Males, in particular, are likely to fly long distances before landing.
Abundance/Frequency: According to Brust et al. (2014), this species can reach high densities locally in tall-grass prairie habitats. However, we have no information on frequency of occurrence or abundance of this species in North Carolina.
Adult Phenology: We have no phenological data for this species in North Carolina. Elsewhere, adults are reported to occur from June to October (Otte, 1981).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S2S3->[SH]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: We have very few records for this species, all of which are now very old. The habitats used in North Carolina are unclear and targeted surveys are needed to confirm that this species is still a resident member of our fauna and to determine its current status and conservation needs.