Sunday, November 17, 2013

Autumn Yellow-Winged Grasshopper

This rather drab-looking grasshopper is the Autumn Yellow-Winged Grasshopper (Arphia xanthoptera), in the family
Acrididae which are the short-horned grasshoppers. They occur throughout the eastern and central United States. They are found in open woodlands, grasslands, dry fields, and prairies. They feed on various grasses and possibly other plants as well. They do not seem to occur in abundance anywhere in their natural habitats therefore they are not considered a pest species. 

I photographed this one on our wood pile. I am still not quite sure how I even noticed it as it nearly camouflaged itself perfectly against the color and grain of the wood. They are distinguished from other grasshoppers in this genus by the noticeable hump on their pronotum (neck).

They are also larger than other grasshoppers in this genus, reaching lengths up to 46mm. Their underwings are nearly always bright yellow, hence the common name. 
When approached they are quick to retreat and fly away with nothing more than a flash of brilliant yellow visible. They often sing while in flight. This sound is made by the by rubbing the underside of the forewings against the veins of the hindwings. This is believed to attract nearby females. 

Once mating has occurred the females will lay their eggs in the ground and they will overwinter in the soil. Young emerge in March or April and reach maturity by mid-summer. Adults are usually seen from August to November.


  1. Nice! Great minds must think alike. I was contemplating posting on this species for my own blog this week....but I have another candidate so as not to steal your thunder :-) Keep up the great work.

    1. That is funny that we both thought of the exact same species at nearly the exact same time out of millions to chose from. I hope you do go ahead and write about this species and please don't feel you are "stealing my thunder." I'd like to read what you write concerning this little grasshopper. I will also add the link to your article to mine and encourage people to learn more. I hope all is well with you and Heidi. Hope to see you both soon.