Samuel Hubbard Scudder.

Revision of the orthopteran group Melanopli (Acridiidae), with special reference to North American forms online

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From the Proceedings of the United States National Museum, Vol. XX, pages 1-431
with Plates I-XX VI >.

[No. 1124.]









Fruin ihc Proceedings of the United States National Museum, Vol. XX, pages \ 421
(with Plates I-XXVI).

[No. 1124.]


I8 97 .








Introduction 1

Characteristics and limitations 2

Geographical distribution 4

Dimorphism in length of tegmina 5

Materials, etc 7

Table of the genera of North American Melanopl t 9

Genus 1. Gynmosdrtetes 14

Genus 2. Netrosoma 16

Genus 3. Parad ichroplus 18

Genus 4. Phaedrotettix 22

Genus 5. Conalcaea 23

Genus 6. Barytettix ' 27

Genus 7. Phaulotettix 29

Genus 8. Cephalotettix : 30

Genus 9. Ehabdotettix 32

Grnus '0. Cyclocercus r 36

Genus 11. Sinaloa 40

Genus 12. Paraidemona 41

Genus 13. Aidemona 44

Genus 14. Hypochlora . 46

Genus 15. Campy lacautha 48

Genus 16. Eotettix 53

Genus 17. Hesperotettix 55

Genus 18. Aeoloplus 68

Genus 19. Bradynotes 80

Genus 20. Deudrotettix 91

Genus 21. Podisma 94

The North American species 97

The Old World species Ill

Genus 22. Paratylotropidia '. 117

( Jenus 23. Melanoplua 120

Lakinus series 139

Flabellifer series 144

Bowditchi series 153

Glaucipes series 161

Utahensis series 164

Spretns series 169

Devastator series 190

Impudicus series 203

Aridus series 205

Indigens series 210

Mancus series 212

Dawsoui series , 220



Geuus 23. Melanoplus Continued. r&>.

Rusticus series 2!H

Borckii series 241

Puer series 250

Inormitns series 253

Fasciatus series ; 258

Alleni series 272

Femur rubruin series 275

Ciuereus series 291

Angustipennis series 301

Packard!! series 308

Texanus series 317

Plebej us series 325

Collinus series 332

Robustus series 349

Bivittatns series 359

Puuctulatus series 371

Genus 24. Phoetaliotes 376

Genus 25. Paroxya 380

Genus 26. Poecilotettix 385

Genus 27. Oedaleonotus 390

Genus 28. Asemoplus 394

Genus 29. Philocleon 396

Genus 30. Aptenopedes 398

Appendix 403

1. List of heretofore-described species of North American Melanopli, with

their present nomenclature 403

2. Undetermined forms 405

3. List of South American Melanopli 406

Explanation of plates 407

Index.. 413




THE PEESENT ESSAY describes iii detail and discusses the classifi-
cation of a group of grasshoppers which forms the prevailing type of
orthopteran life throughout North America the common short-horned
grasshoppers one sees every summer day. Its best known representa-
tive to the world at large is the destructive migratory locust of the
West, the so called "Eocky Mountain Locust." The outbreak of this
insect has been at times extremely disastrous; so much so that a Gov-
ernment commission was for several years in existence, which pub-
lished nearly twenty years ago two voluminous reports in which it and
on or two of its immediate allies were studied with a minuteness and
thoroughness, and illustrated with a fullness very rarely given to any
such insignificant looking creature.

This destructive insect has numerous closely related allies in all parts
of the United States, many of which often abound to such an extent as
to do serious damage to crops, and a few of them have been known to
migrate in similar fashion (though over a far more restricted area), so
that they have sometimes been mistaken by the uninstructed for that
destructive pest.

The group is almost confined to North America, and a great many
species have been described by various writers in a more or less desul-
tory manner. It is the aim of the present paper to enlarge and sys-
tematize our knowledge of this important group as a basis for future
studies. No group of North American Orthoptera has been in greater
need of revision.

Proc. N. M. vol. xx 1 1


and ' twftittitictis. Stated as briefly as possible, the
Melanopli are Acridians in which the antennae are longer than the fore
femora, which have no foveolae on the vertex, the fastigium more or less
deflexed, passing insensibly into the frontal costa, the prosteruum
mucronate, no sharp and distinct lateral carinae (or they are rarely
present), an arolium on all the tarsi, the hind tibiae with smooth mar-
gins, provided with 9-14 (by rare exception 8) spines regularly disposed
in the outer series, which lacks an apical representative, and the second
hind tarsal joint only half as long as the first.

To state their characters more in detail, theMelauopli may be described
as Acridians, generally of small or medium size, never very large, in
which the head is not greatly exserted and the face is moderately oblique
or subvertical; the antennae are linear, longer than the fore femora; the
eyes are of moderate size, not very strongly prominent, never twice as
long as the infraocular portion of the geuae, the interspace between
them very rarely broad, generally narrow; the fastigium is more or less
decliveut, never greatly produced in the axis of the body, apically entire
and with no transverse ruga, passing insensibly and with obtuse arcu-
ation into the frontal costa; the latter is hardly rounded as seen from
the side, percurrent or subpercurrent, generally sulcate, the sulcation
ordinarily confined to the lower portion; without foveolae, the teinpora
small, obliquely declivent, confused with the front; the superior ocelli
more distant than the antennal scrobes ; the lateral carinae of the face
nearly equidistant from the lateral margins of the frontal costa, but
slightly divergent inferiorly. The dorsum of the pronotum is nearly
plane and without a crest, generally with no distinct lateral carinae, but
at most with rounded shoulders or feeble rugae to represent them, but
often passing insensibly into the lateral lobes ; the principal sulcus is
continuous; the prozona is generally smooth or obsoletely punctate,
never tuberculate, its sulci generally feebly impressed, often mesially
interrupted or subinterrupted, the posterior sulcus often distinctly
divergent laterally from the principal sulcus; the metazona is generally
shorter than the prozona and lies in the same or nearly the same plane
with it, almost always densely punctate; the lateral lobes are truncate
or subtruncate posteriorly, with no humeral sinus or only a feeble one,
the posterior lower angle distinctly obtuse. The prosteruum is armed
with a spine which is usually rather prominent and conical, sometimes
truncate, never sinuate, generally vertical on the posterior face, nearly
or quite as high as the anterior coxae, the posterior portion of the pro-
sternum not or but slightly tumescent; the mesosternal lobes are quad-
rate or transverse, separated more or less widely, the apical inner angle
rectangulate or obtusangulate, generally rounded (often obtusely), the
inner margins generally rounded, often posteriorly divergent; the meta-
sternal lobes are contiguous or not very distant excepting sometimes
in the female and then rarely as distant or even nearly as distant as


the mesosterual lobes. The tegmina are frequently abbreviate or even
wanting; when fully developed, they taper gently almost throughout
and are rather remotely reticulate at least in their apical half, the cells
of the postradial area wholly or partially biseriate in arrangement on
either side of an intercalary vein; the wings are almost always clear
and uniform, never definitely pictured, the veins never scalariform, the
areolae quadrate or longer than broad. All the tarsi are furnished with
an arolium, the front legs are less distantly separate*:! than the hind
pair, the fore tarsi are of moderate length, the first joint short or rather
short; the hind femora are distinctly incrassate basally, generally sur-
pass the abdomen, the upper face generally smooth, the dorsal cariua
entire, unarmed, not profoundly excised before the geuiculation; the
hind tibiae have smooth lateral margins, the spines of the outer and
inner paries are equal or subequal in length, those of the outer series
typically nine 1 or more in number, rarely exceeding fourteen, placed at
subequal distances apart and lacking an apical spine next the calcaria;
the hind tibiae have the first joint not compressed, equal to or slightly
longer than the third, the second much shorter, generally a half shorter,'
than the first as seen from above. The second dorsal segment of the
abdomen is neither granulate nor dentate at the anterior angles, the
extremity of the abdomen in the male generally more or less clavate
and recurved, the supraanal plate not tuberculate, with a basal median
sulcus, a furcula usually present, the cerci very variable, rarely longer
than the supraanal plate, straight or gently curved, never abruptly
recurved basally, generally compressed at least in part, often laminate,
but with no iudirected median spine.

The foundation for our present knowledge of the structural features
of the Melanopli was laid by Stal 2 and enlarged in his Systema
Acrideodeorum (1878) and his Observations Orthopterologiques, lit
(1878). In its present form the group was first defined and named by
Brunner von Wattenwyl, 3 who applied to it the term PEZOTETTIGES.
I have here limited it strictly in the same manner, but it will appear
that it contains a very much larger number of generic types than were
credited to it by Brunner and a vast multitude of species. I shall
moreover show below, when treating the genus Podisma, 4 that the gen-
eric term Pezotettix, from which Brunner derived the name of the
group, has been misapplied of recent years, and should be referred to
the group called Platyphymata in Brunner's Revision. I have accord-
ingly here named the present group MELANOPLI after its predominant
genus MelanopluSj the species of which far outnumber all the others com-
bined. Giglio-Tos in recent papers has described several new genera and

1 By exception, in one sex or on one side of the body, there may be only eight.

2 Recensio Orthopterorum, I (1873).

3 Revision du Systeme des Orthopteres (1893).

4 See also Psyche, VII, pp. 195-196.


species from South America; but in the present paper full consideration
will be given only to the North American species; a table will, however,
be added for the determination of the Old World species in their place,
and the South American forms will be merely tabulated at the close.

Geographical distribution. The Melanopli are an almost exclusively
American group; a single genus, Podisma, is represented in the Old
World (and more abundantly than in the New) north of 35 north lati-
tude. With that exception almost all the genera and species are confined
to North America. South America possesses four genera (not included in
the present paper) Dichroplus, Scotussa, Scopas, and Atrachelacris, with
about twenty known species mostly referred to Dichroplus, besides
ParadichropluSj with four species in Paraguay. The remaining genera
are exclusively North American, but eleven of them Netrosoma,
Phaedrotettix, Conalcaea, Barytettix, Phaulotettix, Geplialotettix, Rhab-
dotettix, Cyclocercus, Sinaloa, Aidemona, and Philocleon, with nineteen
species, besides two species of the South American genus Paradichro-
plus, are found exclusively in Central America and Mexico, or only pass
the borders of the United States narrowly.

All of these Central and South American genera (with the single
exception of Philocleon) belong to the division of Melanopli in which
the lateral margins of the subgenital plate of the male are not at all
ainpliateatthebase; and they corn prise all but three of the genera belong-
ing to that section, these three being Gymnoscirtetes with one species in
Florida, Hypochlorawith one species from the Canadian border to Kansas
and Colorado, and Campy lacantha with four species, three ranging
from Nebraska to Texas and one found in Mexico. The great bulk of
the species and most of the genera (including all but one Philocleon
of those belonging in the section with ampliate basal margins to the
subgeuital plate) are confined to the United States and Canada, where
they form one of the dominant types of Acridiidae.

This division, that with ampliate basal margins, is represented (apart
from Philocleon with its single species) by fourteen genera and one hun-
dred and seventy-nine species, of which only four genera occur south
of our border, with thirteen species confined to Mexico, and twelve
others found both in Mexico and the United States; leaving ten genera
wholly, and four others almost wholly, belonging to the more northern
region, with one hundred and sixty-six species. No species of either
division are found in the Antilles.

With trifling exceptions, then, the division with nouarnpliate basal
margins to the subgenital plate is characteristic of Central and South
America or subtropical and tropical America while the other divi-
sion, vastly more important, is characteristically temperate North
American, with one outlier in temperate Europe Asia.

The dominant genus is Melanoplus with one hundred and thirty one
species described in the present paper; a number more are known to


me, but insufficiently. Podisma follows, with about twenty-four
species, of which only eight are found in America, then Aeoloplus with
ten, Hesperotettix with eight, and Bradynotes with seven. The remaining
genera have at the most only three or four species each, and fourteen
of them are monotypic.

The genera with widest latitudinal range (over twenty degrees) are,
primarily, Melanoplus, and tben Hesperotettix (eight species), PJtoc-
t nluttes (one species), Oedaleonotus (one species), Campylacantha (four
species), and probably Podisma (eight species). Aeoloplus (ten species)
follows hard after. The genera characteristic of the United States,
with narrowest known limits, are Gymnoscirtetes and Eotettix, both
known only from Florida. These last two, with Paroxya and Apteno-
pedes, are the only genera (with eight species between them) confined
to the eastern United States, if Texas may be included in that term,
for they do not extend west of that. Most of the genera are western,
using that term in a broad sense, though Hypochlora, Campylacantha,
Dendrotettix, Paratylotropidia, and PhoetaUotes all but Campylacantha
monotypic genera are peculiar to the Mississippi Valley, though prin-
cipally to its western half. The only genera found across or almost
across the continent, or at all events on opposite sides of the continent,
are Melanoplus, Hesperotettix, and Podisma. Aeoloplus (ten species),
Bradynotes (seven species), Poecilotettix (three species), Oedaleonotus
(one species 1 ), and Asemoplus (one species) are characteristic of the
extreme West. Finally, Hypochlora (one species), Bradynotes (seven
species), Podisma (eight species), and Asemoplus (one species) are con-
fined or nearly confined to the region north of latitude 35. Podisma
has also the same limitations in the Old World. Regarding the distri-
bution of Melanoplus, with its great preponderance of forms, further
details will be given under that genus.

There are but few species which range across the continent, yet not
a few have a very wide distribution. The examples of the former are
wholly confined to Melanoplus: M. atlanis, fasciatus, femur-rubnim,
extremus, minor, tmdfemoratus, M. extremus only in the high north. As
illustrations of the latter may be mentioned Hesperotetiix pratensis,
PhoetaUotes nebrascensis, Paroxya florldana, Oedaleonotus enigma, and
the following species of Melanoplus: flabellifer, spretus, scudderi, daw-
soni, cinereus, packardii, luridus, differentialis, bivittatus, and punctula-
tns. Most of these range more widely from north to south than from
east to west. About three fourths of all the species are known from
west of the Mississippi River only.

J)imorphism in length of tegmina. We find in the Melanopli every
variation possible in the length of the tegmina, but the species are ill
general tolerably well fixed in this respect. The same is the case with
most of the genera, the species of which are in each case generally
apterous, provided with lateral pads, abbreviated tegmina, or fully



developed tegmina, as the ease may be; but all the larger genera (except-
ing Bradynotes] and some of the smaller show considerable diversity in
this respect; the greatest difference between different members of the
same genus obtains in the two largest genera: Melanoplus. where the
species may range from those with merely lateral pads to those with
tegmina far surpassing the hind femora; and Podisma, where they
range from apterous species to those with tegmina half as long as the
abdomen. But this range is not confined to the larger genera, for sev-
eral monotypic genera (Dendrotettix, Phoetaliotes, and Oedaleonotus) dis-
play a wide difference between different forms of the single species they
possess, in the length of the tegmina, a difference which is also paral-
leled or almost paralleled among certain species of the genera Hespero-
tettijc, Podisma, Melanoplus, and Paroxya, and particularly of the genus

This last genus is of particular interest in this connection, for it is
subequally divided between distinctly short-winged and distinctly long-
winged forms, which only rarely appear to be closely allied; yet in four
of the species, M. dawsoni, M. marginatus, M.fasciatus, and M. extremis
species in no way closely related there is a marked dimorphism in
respect of the length of the tegmina, the first two being normally pos-
sessed of tegmina only slightly longer than the pronotum, the last two
of tegmina hardly as long, if as long, as the abdomen, but all occasion-
ally equipped with tegmina distinctly surpassing the hind femora.
When, however, we compare these fully developed tegmina (Plate I, tigs.
a, c, /, i) either with the abbreviated tegmina of the same species, as in
If. extremus (Plate I, fig. </), or with those of their nearest macropterous
allies, M. gladstoni (Plate I, fig. b), M.paroxyoides (Plate I, fig. fc), and
M. borealis (Plate I, fig. d), as in the other species, we can not fail to be
struck by the common differences which separate these abnormal macrop-
terous tegmina from the normal tegmina of the genus. (See further the
tegmina of the type of the genus, M. femur-rubrum, Plate I, tig. /?.).
Instead of the regularly tapering form normal to the genus, the added
portion, which is largely the extension of the region beyond the post-
radial intercalary area, is nearly equal, giving the tegmina a consider-
ably greater apical breadth and a consequent openness of neuration,
besides a less tapering form. What is further to be noticed is that this
apical breadth and openness of neuratiou is also the characteristic of
several cases in other genera where there is similar dimorphism in length
of tegmina, as in Dendrotettix quercus, Podisma alpina, and Phoetaliotes
nebrascensis (Plate I, fig. e). In Podisma the most abbreviated form ot
wing is plainly normal, and I am therefore inclined from these examples
to regard the abbreviated as the normal form in Dendrotettix, Phoeta-
liotes,smd the species of Melanoplus (except, of course, M. femur-rubrum)
here illustrated. The same, however, is not the case in Oedaleonotus,
where dimorphism of similar degree is found, and it is therefore prob-


able that the fully equipped form is here the normal, although, so far as
we now know, it is much less commonly found than the brachypterous
forms. Other instances where there is considerable but not so marked
nor perhaps so uniform a difference in win^-length is in Paroxya flori-
(lana and perhaps Hesperotettix viridis, in both which genera the length
of the tegmina is variable. In these two species the tegmina are not
apically broad in the macropterous forms, and differ only in length from
the brachypterous forms.

MtttcrialKj etc. The specimens forming the basis of the present study
are in my own cabinet, which contains, often in large series, the greater
portion of the species, collected in large part by myself in different
sections of the country, but supplemented by specimens secured from
the Texan collections of Boll and Belfrage, a large series from Iowa
and Illinois obtained by Doctor J. A. Allen, and others from the South-
western States and Mexico by Edward Palmer; besides the entire col-
lection of Mr. P. E. Uhler, who many years ago generously turned over
to me his own private collection, containing among other things many
specimens obtained from the early explorers of the West.

Through the favor of the Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian
Institution, in charge of the United States National Museum, Doctor G.
Brown Goode, and the Honorary Curator of Insects in the same insti-
tution, Doctor C. V. Eiley, I have had the Museum's entire collection of
Melanopli in my hands during this study. The collections of the
Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have
also been open to me. My neighbors and colleagues, Mr. Samuel Hen-
shaw and Mr. A. P. Morse, have also placed all their Melanopli in my
hands; and from Professor Lawrence Bruner, of Lincoln, Nebraska, I
have received a complete series of all the forms known to him, which has
been on the whole the most important aid I have received. Professor
Jerome McNeill, who had begun a study of the Melanopli, mainly of the
National Museum, not only generously transferred the work to my hands,
but gave me free use of his notes and sent me several species otherwise
unknown to me. The University of Kansas sent me a series of interest-
ing western forms in its museum, Mr. W. S. Blatchley a series of the
Indiana species known to him, Professor C. P. Gillette interesting forms
from Colorado, and Professor H. B. Weed a few from Mississippi. All
of these gentlemen have freely answered many inquiries made of them,
and any failing in the present paper must be laid at my door. In this
way I have seen the types of nearly all the species described from
North America, and while in England Mr. Samuel Henshaw kindly
examined for me several of Walker's types at the British Museum. I
have been further aided for the European species by Hofrath Brunner
von Wattenwyl, Doctor Chr. Aurivillius, and Mons. A. de Bormaus.

In all, I have examined for the purposes of this paper nearly eight
thousand specimens, of which about seven thousand belong to the


single genus Melanoplus. The sexes are nearly equally divided, the
males forming about forty-six per cent of the whole. Thirty genera
(eighteen new) and two hundred and seven species (one hundred and
fifteen new) are described in the present paper.

Finally, by the aid of a grant from the ELIZABETH THOMPSON SCI-
ENCE FUND I have been able to procure illustrations of the abdominal
appendages of every avaiable species.

A few words should be added regarding certain details of presenta-
tion: Instead of giving the range of variation in the measurements of
each species, I have selected as far as possible typical average speci-
mens, male and female, for the purpose, taking the measurements of all
parts from the same individuals. The number of individuals of each
species seen is given, and the localities from which they came immedi-
ately added, with the name of the collector (when not myself), and
when not from my own collection, the source from which I have received
them stated (in parentheses); occasionally my own name is there
added, when specimens from the same source are also found in my col-
lection ; where no parenthesis follows the locality, the specimens referred

Online LibrarySamuel Hubbard ScudderRevision of the orthopteran group Melanopli (Acridiidae), with special reference to North American forms → online text (page 1 of 54)