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Lateral view of Trimerotropis saxatilis. Photo by the Mississippi Entomological Museum. Image submect to copyright.
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Trimerotropis saxatilis McNeill, 1900

Lichen or Rock Grasshopper

Federal Protection: No US federal protection

State Protection: No Georgia state protection

Global Rank: G3

State Rank: S3

SWAP High Priority Species (SGCN): Yes

Element Occurrences (EOs) in Georgia: 4

Habitat Summary for element in Georgia: Granite flatrock outcrops.


Description

Males of this species are anywhere from 23-30 mm (0.91-1.81 inches) in length, whereas females are 28-38 mm (1.10-1.50 inches). Usually, they are speckled and their color most closely resembles the rocks and lichens they are found on. Darker specimens tend to be black while lighter-colored specimens are a pale green to match the lichen colonies. Hind tibiae range from yellow to dark brown.

Similar Species

Trimerotropis pallididpennis is western in its distribution and the ranges do not overlap.

Habitat

The lichen grasshopper is found on lichen-encrusted rockfaces, typically at the summit of mountains and hills. Often, it is seen in more open and unprotected, sun-scorched glades, but it may also be found in smaller glades among old-growth forest.

Diet

It is generally accepted that this species feeds on the lichens it is found among.

Life History

Like all Orthopterans, the lichen grasshopper undergoes an incomplete metamorphosis.

Survey Recommendations

Flushing the grasshoppers from the ground and observing where they land is the best way to locate specimens. Actively pursuing them with a net is the best way to capture specimens.

Range

Threats

Threats to this grasshopper are several. The glades where they reside offer little to no economic benefits or returns and may be viewed as waste areas by landowners. A lack of education on the ecologic significance of these sites among landowners and land managers leads them to feel that the only proper use may be as dump-sites for trash, for recreational vehicle trackways, and even as canvases for graffiti “artists”. On another front, while the glade habitats are edaphic, maintained by characteristically shallow or nonexistent soil depositions, encroachment by some woody species like eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) threatens to block out sunlight required by the lichens and characteristic glade forbs that support T. saxatilis.

Georgia Conservation Status

Conservation Management Recommendations

The best conservation measure for this species is the long-term preservation of the glades where it occurs. In glades which may have historically been more open and unprotected, remove encroaching brush. Some glades benefit from the disturbance provided by fire and controlled burnings can aid in rejuvenating the local flora, as well as maintaining the woody vegetation on the glades’ margins. Removal of trash piles and discouraging the dumping of waste might seem insignificant, but it can actually be a strong step to the reclamation of the lichen grasshopper’s habitat, especially on smaller fragmented glades. Of great importance, is ensuring protections against graffiti artists and motorists driving atv’s, bikes, and other large vehicles or equipment. Routinely walking across lichen communities can be highly detrimental, as well, and it would be recommended to avoid any unnecessary foot traffic.

References

Authors of Account

Brady S. Dunaway

Date Compiled or Updated

12/2/2019

Dorsal view of Trimerotropis saxatilis. Photo by the Mississippi Entomological Museum. Image submect to copyright.