Eastern Lubber Grasshopper found in NEW JERSEY!!!!

Walmart Watermelon Bug
Location: Found in NJ
June 24, 2011 10:11 pm
Good evening. A friend who works at a local Walmart was unpacking watermelons and came across this bug. To me it looks like a grasshopper of some sort and then again it doesn’t can you tell us what it is and if it is a danger.
Signature: Ellen

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

Dear Ellen,
This is an immature Eastern Lubber Grasshopper,
Romalea microptera.  There are two recognized common color variations and this is the dark morph.  There is a very thorough information page on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the species is found in the south from Texas to South Carolina and all states between.  It would be interesting to learn where the watermelons originated.  Though this is a native species to the U.S., it does not range to New Jersey, and since its method of entry was unnatural in that it was the result of the transportation of crops, this could not be considered a normal range expansion.  We doubt this individual will reproduce since it is too young to have mated, and it is not likely to find a mate in New Jersey unless it is another stowaway.  We will nonetheless tag this as an Invasive Exotic.

Thanks so much for the quick response. It reminded me of a grasshopper I had seen in the everglades several years ago although the one in Florida was much brighter in color.  As you can imagine this guy gave the young lady quite a jolt as she was unpacking the melons.

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