Wingless Grasshopper

Phaulacridium vittatum

Family:

Order: Orthoptera

Description:

Colour - Brown with orange hind legs.

Body - 13-20 mm long and slender. Often has a light band down each side.

End section of leg (Tarsi) has 3 segments.

Wings - small and non functional. Occasional winged individuals occur.

Chewing mouthparts.

Strong rear legs for jumping.

Front segment of thorax has a strong shield (pronotum).

Abdomen has 11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8.

There are species of grasshoppers all over Australia.

Antennae have 7 or more segments.

Nymphs are black and very small (less than 2 mm) when they hatch.

Biology:

Life Cycle:

One generation per year. Eggs are laid in pods of 12-14 in sandy soil in summer and partially develop then go into a resting stage that is broken by the cool moist conditions of winter. As temperatures rise in spring the egg develops rapidly and hatches in August when there is an abundance of spring feed. The nymphs go through several moults to produce adults that lay eggs from October to November.

Habitats:

Origin and History:

Distribution:

Significance:

They will eat a wide range of food but tend to prefer green material. They can cause serious damage to newly planted trees and lucerne pastures. Common in coastal pastures and may build up to large numbers but don't form swarms.

Management and Control:

In most years control is not economical. Trees planted into pasture paddocks require protection. ULV insecticides and bran baits are effective but may need repeated applications.

Thresholds:

More than 30 per square metre are generally worth control to minimise damage to young trees and green pastures.

Related Species:

Australian Plague Locusts have red on the inside of the hind legs and a black tip or blotch on the hind wings. Wings are obvious when they are 13-20 mm long (4th instar). The body doesn't have a stripe down each side

Crickets, sandgropers.

Similar Species:

References:

CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p377, 378, 390(diagram), 391.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.