Grasshoppers, Pacific Northwest
The pallid-winged grasshopper can reach up to 41 mm long. The body is gray to grayish-brown in color, and the back legs are quite big for its size. The leathery front wings are the same color as the body with one or two darker cross-bands. The back wings are a pale yellow color with a dark band on the edge. The antennae are much shorter than the body, they are a short horned grasshopper. They have auditory organs on the abdomen.
The pallid winged grasshopper can be found from British Columbia including all of Vancouver Island, south to Mexico and east to Montana.
The pallid-winged grasshopper is found in a wide range of habitats, but is especially prevalent in sparsely vegetated areas. When we hike the high country, you see many of these grasshoppers.
They feed on vegetation, and when the population increases, it can be very damaging to grasslands and crops. They are in turn fed upon by any predators large enough to catch them.
The female will deposit up to twelve egg masses with around 100 eggs in each, she lays them below the soil with her stiff ovipositor. Grasshoppers overwinter as eggs and the nymphs emerge in the spring.
The pallid winged grasshopper is hard to spot when resting, but when disturbed, they take flight with a clicking sound showing their back wings. After landing, the back wings are folded under the front wings and they disappear back into the environment.
The males sing during the day by rubbing their back legs against the front wings. This sound varies from one species to the next, and may be used to attract females. The sound can change with the temperature of the environment also.