Immature Carolina Grasshopper

Dusty Gray Hopper in the Woodpile
July 19, 2009
I found this odd looking grasshopper while stacking firewood at the edge of my yard. It was just sitting there on a tarp. Originally I picked it up to look at it more closely because I couldn’t see its eyes. There are plenty of grasshoppers of all sizes in my yard and garden including little leafhoppers eating up the garden. But they all have shiny visible eyes. Not this guy however.
I put it in a jar for a few minutes so I could look more closely but it didn’t help me see any better. It pooped a couple of times in the jar as big as mouse poo.
Then I took it outside and let it out of the jar and took photos thinking I would find it online and could use the picture for verification. But I didn’t find it.
This dusty looking hopper was about two inches long and it didn’t fly away so I don’t think it had wings. The legs had dark stripes most prominent on the inside of the hind legs. The dusty look was a lavender and brownish gray.
Ellensburg, WA USA

Unknown Grasshopper
Carolina Grasshopper

Dear Flidhais,
We believe this most resembles a Toad Lubber Grasshopper in the genus Phrynotettix, but we are not happy with that identification.  It looks a bit like the Robust Toad Lubber, Phrynotettix robustus, but we are not certain how far north that species ranges since the only examples on BugGuide are from Texas.  We hope one of our readers will be able to provide an accurate identification and additional information since BugGuide only has limited information on the genus, and we really aren’t convinced that is relevant anyways.

Correction from Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
The grasshopper from Ellensburg, Washington is simply a late instar nymph of the familiar and common “Carolina grasshopper,” Dissosteira carolina.  The deep single notch in the “crest” of the pronotum (top part of thorax) identifies it immediately.  Another molt or two and it will be an adult.
I have not made time to research the other longhorns from overseas, sorry.  Should get to it sometime this week….

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for the help. I wonder if this little guy came attached to a chunk of firewood as I
buy it from a tree trimmer in town who goes all over doing tree maintenance.
I have never seen anything like this hopper and I’ve lived here 26 years now.
I looked for more photos of the Carolina one but didn’t find anything like this, however that
may be because of the “moultings” the other poster mentions. I know virtually nothing of
grasshopper life cycles etc…lol I just thought it was a neat bug that sort of looked like
it had on armor, and the dusty looking eyes were so different. It was also larger than the
largest regular grasshoppers here.
Thanks again. Love your site!
Mary Anne O’Sullivan

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