Subject: Mantids, cicadas, grasshoppers galore
Location: Texas Panhandle near Palo Duro Canyon
November 21, 2015 11:00 pm
We had a ridiculously wet winter and spring this year in the Texas Panhandle, so there was basically a plague of bugs and amphibians through the summer and fall. The variety blew my mind! I was sorting through my photos and picked a few of my favorites to share with the WTB community. I feel fairly confident about the species of mantids, the Carolina, Chinese and European, but I have no idea about the grasshoppers or cicadas.
Signature: Brittani Hinders
Hi again Brittani,
Now we are dealing with the Grasshopper portion of your request. The brightly colored black, yellow and red Grasshopper is a Rainbow Grasshopper, Painted Grasshopper or Barber Pole Grasshopper, Dactylotum bicolor, and according to BugGuide it is found in the : “Western Great Plains of United States (and southern Canada), southward to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and into northern Mexico.” We are relatively certain we have properly identified your second Grasshopper as the aposomatic (warning coloration) form of the Spotted Bird Grasshopper, Schistocera lineata. Our first clue came from an image posted to Other Insects, and once we had a name, we verified its identity on BugGuide. The Spotted Bird Grasshopper is a variable species, and according to BugGuide: “There is an ‘aposematic form’, which is yellowish with contrasting dark, often blackish or bluish markings that is found in Oklahoma and Texas (and perhaps in adjacent Tamaulipas).” Generally aposomatic coloration is used by toxic or foul tasting species to warn predators, but there are also palatable species that use aposomatic coloration to fool predators into thinking the tasty morsel is actually not edible. We believe that to be the case with the aposomatic form of the Spotted Bird Grasshopper.