Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Acrididae Members: NC Records

Melanoplus impudicus Scudder, 1897 - Immodest Spur-throat Grasshopper

Family: Acrididae Subfamily: Melanoplinae Tribe: Melanoplini
Comments: Melanoplus is our largest genus of Orthopterans, with over 350 species occurring in North America (Cigliano et al., 2017). 38 species have been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: OSF, Google Images, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Blatchley (1920)                                                                                  
Comments: A medium-sized, brownish-yellow, long-winged grasshopper. The upper parts are grayish- to reddish-brown; the lower parts, including most of the abdomen, are yellow. The post-ocular dark stripe is variable, sometimes weak in the females. The tegmina are spotted along the middle. The hind femora are yellow with two incomplete or indistinct dark bands on both the upper and outer faces. The hind tibiae are bright red (Blatchley, 1920; Capinera et al., 2001). Melanoplus confusus is slightly smaller and similar in coloration, but is less distinctly banded on hind femora and usually has bluish hind tibiae but reddish in some individuals -- in those cases, the male reproductive structures should be checked to confirm the identification.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 18-19 mm, males; 22-23 mm, females (Blatchley, 1920)
Structural Features: The furculae are small -- shorter than the last abdominal segment to which they are attached. The cerci are broad at the base, narrowing towards the middle but maintaining their width beyond the middle until narrowing to a blunt point; the subgenital plate has an apical tubercle (Blatchley, 1920; Capinera et al., 2001)
Nymphal Stages and Development: Undescribed
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: Rehn and Hebard (1916) found it in association with woodlands dominated by pines and dry oaks, including Blackjack. Blatchely (1920) describes its habitat as grassy areas within dry, open woodlands, including both sandhills and rocky ridges.
Diet: Apparently not recorded
Observation Methods: Probably best found by flushing it by walking through its habitat
Abundance/Frequency: Not enough information is available to estimate its frequency of occurrence or abundance in North Carolina
Adult Phenology: Recorded in May and July in North Carolina
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4G5 SH
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: This species is generally considered sparsely distributed (Rehn and Hebard, 1916; Blatchley, 1920). Only a few historic records exist for North Carolina, all from prior to 1940.

Image Gallery for Melanoplus impudicus - Immodest Spur-throat Grasshopper

Recorded by: B.B. Fulton
Wake Co.
Comment: NCSU Insect Museum specimen. Internal reproductive structures were dissected and left partially exposed.
Recorded by: B.B. Fulton
Richmond Co.
Comment: NCSU Insect Museum specimen