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Female Melanoplus acidocercus. Photo by the Mississippi Entomological Museum. Image may be subject to copyright.
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Melanoplus acidocercus Hebard, 1919

A spur-throat grasshopper

Federal Protection: No US federal protection

State Protection: No Georgia state protection

Global Rank: GU

State Rank: S3

SWAP High Priority Species (SGCN): Yes

Element Occurrences (EOs) in Georgia: 7

Habitat Summary for element in Georgia: Sandhills


Description

A small grasshopper (10-27 mm in length).  Brownish in color with black stripe extending laterally from behind the eye down the thorax. Hind tibia are red.  The male cerci are triangular. This species has short wings and is incapable of flight, but is a very strong jumper. 

Similar Species

Other related species tend to differ in habitat and range. In the lab, species can be separated by dissecting and observing internal genitalia.

Habitat

This species is known from open pine forests in sandhills along the coastal plain of southern Georgia and northern Florida.

Diet

Probably a generalist feeder on herbaceous plants and tender oak leaves. 

Life History

Like all Orthopterans, the Melanoplus acidocercus undergoes an incomplete metamorphosis. Adults can be found during late summer to fall. 

Survey Recommendations

Walk through savanna to flush and locate grasshoppers. Catch with a net to confirm ID.

Range

Melanoplus acidocercus is found along the Fall Line in Georgia, as well as further south and southeast into the Coastal Plain of Georgia and north Florida.

Threats

The primary threats to this species come from development and fragmentation of its habitat. Suppression of fire has also allowed woody species and exotic invasive species to encroach on the open habitat needed by this species.

Georgia Conservation Status

At present this speice has been documented at four localities in Georgia, all of which are on public land. 

Conservation Management Recommendations

Conservation of this species is best conducted by preservation and management of the remaining habitats where it occurs. Reintroduction of fire into the landscape will help maintain and restore suitable habitat.

References

Hill, J.G. 2009. The grasshopper (Orthoptera: Acrididae) fauna of sand dunes along the Little Ohoopee River, Emanuel County, Georgia, USA.  Journal of Orthoptera Research. 18: 29-35.

Hill, J.G. 2015. Revision and biogeography of the Melanoplus scudderi species group (Orthoptera: Acrididae) with a description of 21 new species and establishment of the Carnegiei and Davisi species group. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 141: 252-350.

Authors of Account

JoVonn G. Hill and Brady S. Dunaway

Date Compiled or Updated

12/2/2019

Male Melanoplus acidocercus. Photo by the Mississippi Entomological Museum. Image may be subject to copyright.