Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Gryllidae Members: NC Records

Phyllopalpus pulchellus Uhler, 1864 - Handsome Trig



Nymph

Adult male
Taxonomy
Family: Gryllidae Subfamily: Trigonidiinae Tribe: PhylloscyrtiniSynonym: Phylloscyrtus pulchellus
Comments: One of six species in this primarily Neotropical genus and the only one that occurs in the eastern United State (Cigliano et al., 2017)
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Capinera et al. (2004); Elliot and Hershberger (2006); Himmelman (2009)Online Photographs: SINA, BugGuide, Google ImagesTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Blatchley (1920)SINA 641a.htm                                                                                  
Comments: A small but strikingly marked Trig. The head and thorax are crimson red; the palps, antennal bases, sides of the tegmina, abdomen, and ovipositor are shining black; and the antennae and legs are pale to brownish yellow. Cannot be mistaken with any other member of our Orthopteran fauna.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 6-7 mm (Uhler, 1864; Blatchley, 1920)Forewing Length: 5.5 mm (Blatchley, 1920)
Structural Features: The palps are broadly expanded at the tip and extend well in front of the head. As in other members of this subfamily, the ovipositor is sword-like: strongly curved, compressed, and sharply pointed. The tegmina of the female are convex and prominently longitudinally striated, giving them a beetle-line appearance (Himmelman, 2009); Pat Coin (BugGuide, 2017) speculates that they may be mimics of bombardier beetes. The center of the male's left tegmina is transparent.
Singing Behavior: Song consists of long trills composed of noisy pulses (vertical frequency spikes), which are often grouped into short phrases, creating an irregular pulsing, buzzy or ratchety quality. We have examples where the dominant pitch is 6.5 to 7.5 with temperatures in the 70s. Some of the song variations resemble those of Eunemobius carolinus but are much higher in pitch at a given temperature.
Recording playback at normal speed.

Download Video: "MP4"

Nymphal Stages and Development: Nymphs are similar in color to the adults, with black palps, reddish thorax, brown abdomen and green legs. The head can be either black or dull red. The body and tegmina of young instars can be covered with fairly dense setae.
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)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Occurs in both herbaceous vegetation fairly close to the ground to low shrubs and trees. Lowland and mesic habitats seem to be preferred but they can also be found upslope. They inhabit residential neighborhoods as well as native ecosystems.
Diet:
Observation Methods: More often heard than seen but active both day and night and can be spotted in low vegetation
Abundance/Frequency: One of our most common and frequently heard Orthopterans
Adult Phenology: Adults begin to appear in July and continue into October
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Fields
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S5
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Common and widespread across the state. Appears to be quite secure.

Image Gallery for Phyllopalpus pulchellus - Handsome Trig

Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall, Dee Stuckey, and Savannah Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Heard up in the trees. Some of the first ones heard this year
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: N. Williamson, M. Prinz, E. Conway
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan
Craven Co.
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Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan
Craven Co.
Comment: One immature female, one adult male
Recorded by: Michael P. Morales
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: McIntyre
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Iredell Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Dee Stuckey
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Nymph
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Dee Stuckey
Orange Co.
Comment: 70 degrees F (= 21 C)
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: J. Davidson
Harnett Co.
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Recorded by: J. Anderson
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Jane Wyche
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof, M. Smith
Beaufort Co.
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Recorded by: E. Corey
Washington Co.
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Recorded by: FKW, SBW
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: Scott Bolick
Forsyth Co.
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MP3 Gallery for Phyllopalpus pulchellus - Handsome Trig

1 Recorded by: Jim Petranka
Graham Co.
2021-07-23
Calling from a hardwood forest (possibly in edge habitat).
2 Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Cabarrus Co.
2020-10-21
calling from trees in area dominated by young hardwood saplings, 82 F
3 Recorded by: Jim Petranka
Yancey Co.
2020-08-27
One individual was singing from rank vegetation at an overlook on the Parkway at 4814 ft. Air temp. ~71F; 42-44 pulses per sec.; frequency of around 7.3 kHz.