Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Acrididae Members: NC Records

Melanoplus propinquus Scudder, 1897 - Southern Red-legged Melanoplus

Family: Acrididae Subfamily: Melanoplinae Tribe: MelanopliniSynonym: Melanoplus femurrubrum propinquus
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. Along with M. sanguinipes and femurrubrum, M. propinquus belongs to the Sanguinipes Species Group (Cigliano et al., 2017).
Species Status: Propinquus has been considered by some authors (e.g., Blatchely, 1920; Helfer, 1987) to be a subspecies of femurrubrum. It is listed as a separate species by the Orthoptera Species File, however, which is how we treat it here.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: BugGuide, Google Images, GBIF                                                                                  
Comments: Grayish-brown with a red hind-tibia; the underside of hind femur is also shaded with red. Similar in overall appearance to M. sanguinipes and femurrubrum, although duller and less yellowish than the latter. The diagnostic features are structural, however, and any photographs submitted as this species must show the external reproductive structures of the males.
Structural Features: The furculae of the male reach at least half-way across the supra-anal plate, with the fingers extending fairly straight (Scudder, 1897); those of femurrubrum often reach less than half-way across and are more tapering, widely separated, or divergent. The cerci are also more rounded at the apex than in femurrubrum, which are more angulated, appearing diagonally truncate from above (Scudder, 1897; Capineira et al., 2004). See Structural Photos.
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
Observation Methods:
Adult Phenology:
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S3S4
State Protection:

Image Gallery for Melanoplus propinquus - Southern Red-legged Melanoplus

Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Moore Co.
Comment: Female; males also collected
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall, John Amoroso, and Ed Corey
Bladen Co.
Comment: Identity confirmed based on inspection of the cerci. Very similar in appearance to M. sanguinipes, which was collected in the same area and habitat