Spur-throated Grasshopper

Barytettix humphreysii

 
Barytettix humphreysii photo © by Mike Plagens

Observed in Black Canyon, Yavapai Co., Arizona. Identification was verified by David Ferguson

Acrididae -- Short-horned Grasshopper Family

Many species of spur-throated grasshoppers (s.f. Melanoplinae) inhabit the Sonoran Desert. The name arises from a spur structure on the venter between the head and thorax (not visible in photo here). Barytettix humphreysii is unusual in having very short wings that make it incapable of flight. The massive head is in part due to powerful muscles that operate the mandibles. The specimen pictured was found feeding on leaves of Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) - a plant with very tough leaves. Other species of melanoplines are excellent fliers and sometimes are mass-migrators covering 100's or 1000's of kilometers similar to locust grasshoppers.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2015