Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Acrididae Members: NC Records

Amblytropidia mysteca (Saussure, 1861) - Brown Winter Grasshopper


Taxonomy
Family: Acrididae Subfamily: Gomphocerinae Tribe: AmblytropidiiniSynonym: Amblytropidia occidentalis
Comments: The only member of this primarily Neotropical genus that occurs in North America north of Mexico (Otte, 1981; Cigliano et al., 2018)
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Capinera et al. (2004)Online Photographs: BugGuide, Google ImagesTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Blatchley (1920); Otte (1981)                                                                                  
Comments: A medium-sized Slant-faced Grasshopper, whose yellow and brown shadings help it blend in with pine needles and oak leaf litter on the ground (Blatchley, 1920). The head and body are sometimes uniform brown, but bicolored morphs are common, with the dorsal surfaces light brown or gray and the sides dark brown to blackish, or the reverse (Otte, 1981). A light line sometimes runs from the top of the head along the lateral edges of the pronotal disc and the wings can be lightly spotted. The hind femora are often bicolored: light brown on the dorsal face and dark on the sides; the knees and hind tibiae are brown. The sides of the abdomen can be strongly marked with alternating bands of black and white. No other Slant-faced Grasshopper is similar.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 20-27 mm (to end of tegmina), males; 27-36 mm, females (Otte, 1981)
Structural Features: The fastigium is smooth and convex, the antennae are relatively short, and the eye is very large. The lateral carinae of the pronotum are cut by two sulci. The tegmina are almost always longer than the abdomen and often extend beyond the end of the hind femora.
Singing Behavior: Apparently has not been observed
Nymphal Stages and Development: Similar in color to the adults
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: The majority of our records come from Longleaf Pine habitats, including savannas, flatwoods, and sandhills. In the Uwharries several populations have been found in association with Piedmont Longleaf Pine Forests but both in that region in other areas, populations have been found in association with upland stands of pine-oak woodlands, where either Shortleaf Pine, Virginia Pine, or Loblolly are present.
Diet: Apparently unrecorded
Observation Methods: Best found by walking through its habitat and flushing individuals into making short jumps
Abundance/Frequency: Observed fairly frequently in the right habitats but usually in low densities
Adult Phenology: Appears to be bivoltine in North Carolina, with the first adults appearing in the early spring and persisting to June; the second brood emerges in August and persists until at least until November
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric Pine Forests and Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: This species appears to be most common in Longleaf Pine woodlands, which have undergone dramatic reduction since Colonial times. However, it is not restricted to those habitats and occurs over a fairly wide area. While not common, its populations currently appear to be secure within the state.

Image Gallery for Amblytropidia mysteca - Brown Winter Grasshopper

Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall, Dee Stuckey, Savannah Hall
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall, Dee Stuckey, Savannah Hall
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Savannah Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Several seen out in the grassy field
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Savannah Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Several seen out in the grassy field
Recorded by: Mark Shields
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Hunter Phillips
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Harnett Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: E. Corey
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: ASH
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: E. Corey, C. Helms, M. Flanagan
Columbus Co.
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