Lately things have been slow on The Smaller Majority blog. This is mostly because I have been crazily busy with preparations for my upcoming trip to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, where I will be staying until June. While there I hope to be able to make regular updates to the blog and, if my previous trip were to be any indication of what to expect, there will be a lot of stories and pictures of really cool critters.
But despite my busy schedule I simply cannot resist posting a photo of the very first orthopteran of the season, the Green-striped Grasshopper (Chortophaga viridifasciata), which Kristin found today while working in her garden. In the NE US these hoppers are usually the first ones to appear in the spring, thanks to their ability to overwinter as fairly large nymphs. Most orthopterans in our region overwinter as eggs, although there are a few other species that we should be able to see soon, including Pygmy grasshoppers (Tetrix subulata), Sulphur-winged grasshopper (Arphia sulphurea) and, a little later, field crickets (Gryllus veletis).
Green-striped Grasshoppers are quite polymorphic and green, brown, or grey individuals can be found in the same population. In the southern US there may two generations of these insects in a year, but in Massachusetts we get only one.
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Wow! you guys have got hoppers already… C’mon West Coast, we shouldn’t have to play catch up!