Acrididae at Big Hammock Natural Area, Tatnall County, Georgia

Three trips to each natural areas were spread out over of 2007 to allow for seasonal differences in species composition. The trips were made on 15-16 May, 16-17 July, and 5 October. A total of five species of grasshopper were collected from Big Hammock, which represented the lowest diversity among the three natural areas surveyed. Two species found at this site, S. cristatum (Scudder) and S. marmorata picta (Scudder) are indicative of open areas or open woodlands with sandy soils in the southeastern United States. Melanoplus cf. nigrescens (Scudder) was unique to this site. It was collected in the areas with more of a closed canopy, mainly along the trail at the edge of the sandhill habitat. This species belongs to the Melanoplus nigrescens/querneus group which is a bit of a taxonomic enigma in the Southeast with apparent intergradation among the species (Dakin and Hays 1970). Names cannot be confidently placed on many of the specimens of this species until this group is studied more intensively. Melanoplus scapularis Rehn and Hebard occurred at this site and the Fall Line Sandhills N. A. This little known
species, was most frequently found in large patches of gopher apple (Licania michauxii), where several individuals were observed eating the browned flowers of that plant. Big Hammock shared three species with Ohoopee Dunes, Spharagemon bolli Scudder, S. cristatum, and S. marmorata picta, and four species with the Fall Line Sandhills N. A.