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Female Melanoplus clypeatus. Photo by Mississippi Entomological Museum. Image may be subject to copyright.
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Melanoplus clypeatus (Scudder, 1877)

Shield-tailed 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: 0

Habitat Summary for element in Georgia: Mesic longleaf


Description

Large for a Melanoplus sp. (28-36 mm in length). Dull brownish-yellow in color with no real distinguishing marks; the typical postocular stripe is very narrow or often obsolete. Hind tibiae are dull red with black spines. Male cerci are stout, with the basal 3/5 being longer than wide.

Similar Species

M. clypeatus symmetricus is known only from Florida and associated with grassy swamps not far from the coastline. Lateral pronotum lobes of the female are shorter and deeper than those of M. clypeatus. Also, the apex of the subgenital plate is less elevated. In the lab, specimens can be further distinguished by dissecting and observing internal genitalia.

Habitat

Likely to be found in heavy, dense undergrowth within wet pine woods. Habitat could be described as swampy.

Diet

Likely a generalist herbivore. 

Life History

Like all Orthopterans, the Melanoplus nossi undergoes an incomplete metamorphosis. Adults can be found throught the summer months. 

Survey Recommendations

Walk through suitable habitat to flush Melanoplus from resting. Catch specimens with a net to confirm ID.

Range

This species’ recorded range falls within the eastern Gulf Coastal Plain and the southern Atlantic Coastal Plain. Such localities as Thomasville and Sandfly are referenced. 

Threats

Timber cutting of the forests where these grasshoppers are found is their most immediate threat. Also, absence of periodic fires needed to maintain the habitat are likely a contributing factor to declines.

Georgia Conservation Status

Conservation Management Recommendations

Protect forests where this species is known to occur from development and timber harvests. Reintroduce fire at the appropriate intervals where possible.

References

BLATCHLEY, W. S. ORTHOPTERA OF NORTHEASTERN AMERICA: with Especial Reference to the Faunas of Indiana and Florida ... Indianapolis, Indiana: The Nature Publishing Company, 1920

Authors of Account

Brady S. Dunaway

Date Compiled or Updated

December 2019

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