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Melanoplus chattahoochee Male
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Melanoplus muscogee Hill, 2015

Muscogee Grasshopper

Federal Protection: No US federal protection

State Protection: No Georgia state protection

Global Rank: GNR

State Rank: S2

SWAP High Priority Species (SGCN): No

Element Occurrences (EOs) in Georgia: 8

Habitat Summary for element in Georgia: Georgia habitat information not available


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 blueish-gray.  The male cerci are falcate (comma-shaped). This species has short wings and is incapable of flight, but is a very strong jumper. 

Similar Species

May occur alongside M. chattahoochee. These species can be separated by the shape of the male cerci, which are triangualr in M. chattahoochee and falcate in M. muscogee, and by the shape of the internal male genitalia.

Habitat

This species is known from sandhills, as well as the margins of pine woods. Seems to be common in dense stands of forbs and grasses and in tangles of Smilax sp. and Rubus sp..

Diet

Melanoplus muscogee is likely a generalist feeder of herbaceous plants. 

Life History

Like all Orthopterans, the Melanoplus muscogee undergoes an incomplete metamorphosis.  This species is endemic to the Fall Line Sandhills of western Georgia. 

Survey Recommendations

Walk through scrubby vegetation to flush and locate grasshopper. Catch with a net to confirm ID.

Range

The muscogee grasshopper is only known to occur along the Fall Line in Georgia.

Threats

The primary threats to this species come from development and fragmentation of its habitat, combined with a naturally narrow range. 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, Melanoplus muscoggee is known from five populations all of which are on public lands or TNC properities. 

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. “Revision and Biogeography of the Melanoplus scudderi Species Group(Orthoptera: Acrididae: Melanoplinae) with a Description of 21 New Species and Establishment of the Carnegiei and Davisi Species Groups.” Transactions of the American Entomological Society 141, no. 2 (October 14, 2015).

Authors of Account

JoVonn G. Hill and Brady S. Dunaway

Date Compiled or Updated

12/2/2019

Melanoplus chattahoochee female. Photo by Mississippi Entomological Museum. Image may be subject to copyright.