Orthoptera Phasmatodea

ORTHOPTERA Introduction

Members of this order include grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids. They are primarily plant feeders and distributed in all zoogeographic regions. They are characterized by having biting-chewing mouthparts, usually well-developed wings, with the fore wings enlarged or thickened; some are brachypterous, and some apterous. The body is elongate and the antennae are usually long. Development is gradual; the nymph stages resemble adults except for wings, when present. Egg and nymph stages survive dry seasons or overwinter.

Pest status is limited to a few domestic and peridomestic species in the urban environment. The house cricket, Acheta domestica, is the only species that occupies and reproduces indoors. However, other crickets frequently utilize household sites for harborage and foraging, or they are attracted to lights at night. The house cricket may damage materials, but other species are only a nuisance. Large numbers of field crickets can be a nuisance. In late summer large numbers may move to the perimeter of buildings during cool nights. The presence ofthese insects around and sometimes in the living space can contribute to respiratory asthma.

Acrididae

These are typical grasshoppers. They have short, thick antennae, and the front of the head is prolonged forward a little beyond the eyes. The pronotum has a well-developed median ridge. The terminalia ofthe female are small. These grasshoppers are active during the day; they feed primarily on living plants. Males stridulate during the day, and the females of some species stridulate. Several species have wide variations in their body color pattern. These grasshoppers live in fields and meadows, and they infrequently occur in vegetation around buildings in rural and urban areas. In general, they are not attracted to lights at night.

Several species of grasshopper invade urban and suburban landscapes, gardens, and commercial nurseries during hot and dry summers in the southwestern USA. They consume foliage of many species of ornamental plants and turfgrass. The most common pest species include the differential grasshopper, Melanopus differentalis, the two-striped grasshopper, M. bivittatus, and the migratory grasshopper, M. sanguinipes. Only after they molt to adults are they pests in urban landscapes, but in rural areas severe damage may result from nymphs and adults. Problems with these grasshoppers are usually preceded by several years of hot, dry summers and warm falls. Dry weather increases the survival of adults and nymphs.

Common field grasshopper, Chorthippus brunneus Adult males are about 17.5 mm long, while females are about 22 mm long. Wings are well developed and the front wing extends beyond the bent hind legs. The underside of the thorax is densely covered with fine setae. It shows great variation in body color. The head, pronotum, and front wings may be blackish brown, brown, yellowish brown, gray, green, orange, orange-brown, pink, red, or reddish purple. The most common color varieties are striped, mottled, and semimottled with wedge-shaped marks. Eggs are laid in groups of about 14 in soil in August and September. Hatching occurs during May or June. Development is completed and adults emerge in late June or July. Adults live until October or November. Adults active in hot weather characteristically make short, hopping flights. The song of the male is a series of short chirps, and there are 6-10 chirps in each series. When two or more males are together, they often chirp alternately. Females chirp until they mate, and will resume chirping if mating does not occur frequently. The song of the female is similar to that of the male. It commonly occurs in agricultural fields, roadsides, and other artificial habitats, such as areas of concrete or asphalt, and around buildings. This species is distributed throughout Europe, North Africa, and temperate regions of Asia.

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