My son and I came across these two interesting looking grasshoppers during a hike in the Chihuahuan desert surrounding El Paso Texas. I have searched the web and can find nothing that looks like these. They appear to be in a juvenile stage, although they are approximately one and a quarter inches long and three fourths of an inch across. Thank you for your help identifying these critters.
We are mystified and turning to Eric Eaton for assistance. Eric quickly responded: ” The other two ‘hoppers from Houston are robust toad lubbers, Phrynotettix robustus. They range just into western Texas, north into southern New Mexico. They are adults, just wingless stone (boulder?) mimics:-) Neat find, nice images! Eric”
I was looking at your “What’s that bug” page and saw someone sent in a picture of some toad lubbers from my neck of the woods. Although P. robustus is in the area, these could also be Phrynotettix tshivavensis (Haldeman). The only way to tell them apart is to look on the inner hind femora which is distinctly black in tshivavensis (the one on the left might by robustus) or compare the relative sizes (tshivavensis is usually smaller). These both look like males. Both species commonly have small stubs of wings. P. tshivavensis is known as the Chihuahuan toad lubber. Good to see someone else looking at insects in El Paso without a can of RAID!
University of Texas at El Paso