Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Acrididae Members: NC Records

Melanoplus keeleri keeleri keeleri Thomas, 1874 - Keeler's Locust


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.
Species Status: The two subspecies, M. keeleri keeleri and M. k. luridus, have long been recognized, based on differences in size, reproductive structures, and coloration; in North Carolina, moreover, they appear to be allopatric: Rehn and Hebard (1916) describe the nominate subspecies as being primarily Southeastern and found in the extreme southern end of the Appalachians only at elevations around or below 2,000'. Subspecies luridus, on the other hand, is primarily Northern and Western; it reaches North Carolina along the Appalachians and is found at higher elevations than the nominate form, often above 4,000'.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: BugGuide, Google Images, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Blatchley (1920)                                                                                  
Comments: A medium-sized, long-winged grasshopper. Rehn and Hebard (1916) state "many of the specimens are very dark in general coloration, with the lighter areas of the caudal femora cinnamon color and very striking; the series from Winter Park, North Carolina, composed wholly of such specimens, is particularly brilliantly marked."
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 23.5-25.7 mm, males; 28.2-32.5 mm, females, North Carolina specimens (Rehn and Hebard, 1916)
Structural Features: According to Blatchely (1920) subspecies keeleri is characterized by features of the male and female reproductive structures as well as by the larger size of the females: "subgenital plate of male longer than broad; upper fork of cerci strongly oblique, scarcely bent upward; lower valves of ovipositor relatively long, almost straight; females rarely under 26 mm. in length"; see illustrations and more detailed descriptions given in Blatchley.
Structural photos
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: Habitats occupied by this species include the wetter range of Longleaf Pine associations, such as Wet Pine Savannas, Sandhill Seeps, and Bean Dips.
Observation Methods:
Adult Phenology:
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4S5]
State Protection:

Image Gallery for Melanoplus keeleri keeleri - Keeler's Locust

Recorded by: Ed Corey, Steve Hall, Scott Pohlman, Judy Ratcliffe
Scotland Co.
Comment: Adult male. Photo by Scott Pohlman
Recorded by: Steve Hall, Bo Sullivan, Jim Petranka
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall, Bo Sullivan, Jim Petranka
Scotland Co.
Comment: Common
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields
Duplin Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Harnett Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Harnett Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Moore Co.
Comment: Nymph. Identification based on location and the pattern on hind tibia
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Brunswick Co.