Orthoptera of North Carolina
Scientific Name: Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View Acrididae Members: NC Records

Melanoplus punctulatus (Uhler, 1862) - Grizzly Locust



Adult male, gray-brown form

Adult male, pale form

Nymph, pale form
Taxonomy
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: Described by Scudder (1862) based on a single specimen contributed by P.R. Uhler and with the name attributed to him. More complete descriptions are given by Beuntenmueller (1894) and Blatchley (1920). Three subspecies have been described (see Cigliano et al., 2017), two of which have been reported in North Carolina by Rehn and Hebard (1916), M. p. punctulatus and M. p. arboreus. These two forms appear to be indistinguishable based on coloration and other features visible in photographs and unless specimens have been inspected and clearly belong to one or the other of the subspecies, records are assigned to the full species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Capinera et al. (2004)Online Photographs: BugGuide, Google Images, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Blatchley (1920)                                                                                  
Comments: A medium-large grasshopper, one of the larger species in this genus. The typical form is gray-brown, with the body, legs, and tegmina covered with speckling or spotting, giving it a "grizzled" appearance. The hind femur has a distinctive crimson shade on the inner face and the upper and outer faces have two dark bands. The hind tibiae are reddish or sometimes a dark reddish-brown (Beutenmueler, 1894; Blatchley, 1920). In addition to the gray-brown form, yellowish, greenish, and paler gray forms occur (BugGuide, 2017). Additionally, at least some North Carolina specimens have a pale whitish ground color with spots and other markings that are contrastingly black rather than brown. This form does not appear to be described anywhere in the literature, including any of the three described subspecies. Whether this form differs in any other structural features from the typical form is unknown, as is any possible habitat or distributional differences.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 19 - 30 mm, males; 27 - 44 mm, females (Blatchley, 1920; combining both subspecies)
Structural Features: The antennae of the males are exceptionally long (Beutenmueller, 1894), equal to or longer than the hind femur (Blatchley, 1920). The furculae of the males are scarcely evident but the cerci are large and somewhat boot-shaped: narrow at the base and broadly expanded apically (Blatchley, 1920). See illustrations in Blatchley and Capineira et al. (2004).
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: Arboreal. Some authors have reported a particular association with pines, but others have found it in hardwoods as well. North Carolina records come from sandhill stands of mixed Longleaf and xerophytic oaks as well as wooded residential neighborhoods in the Piedmont.
Diet: Unrecorded. An observation in Wake County by Karen Blum indicates that it may feed on mosses and lichens.
Observation Methods: Seen near the ground following cold nights in the fall
Abundance/Frequency: Seen irregularly in the fall when it comes down out of the trees
Adult Phenology: Sightings of adults appear to increase in the fall, possibly the result of being forced down out of the trees by the weather or loss of food
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [S4S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Although observed somewhat irregularly, this species is probably common throughout the state and occupies a wide range of wooded habitats. Consequently, it appears to be secure in the state.

Image Gallery for Melanoplus punctulatus - Grizzly Locust

Recorded by: Owen McConnell
Brunswick Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Ashe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Yancey Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Yancey Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams
Gates Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Michael P. Morales
Cumberland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Avery Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Avery Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Avery Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Holly Weston
Chatham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Karen Blum
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: J.Williams
Vance Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams
Gates Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: J.Williams
Vance Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: J.Williams
Vance Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: ASH
Moore Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: ASH
Moore Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: ASH
Moore Co.
Comment: