Grasshoppers collected at the Deaton Preserve, Greene County, Mississippi

JoVonn G. Hill and Joe A. MacGown

            We arrived at the Deaton Preserve near noon on 12 May 2006. After unlocking the gate we proceeded down the sandy dirt road for a couple of miles or so until we came to an open grassy area where a pipeline apparently ran through. This area (31°00'04"N88°42'08"W) was sandy and home to some gopher tortoises. There were several research plots that had been set up at various spots in the area, which we tried to avoid. The pipeline area itself consisted of short mowed grass with open sandy spots intermixed. This area was bordered by forest on either side with plenty of oaks (Quercus spp.), pines (Pinus spp., especially Pinus palustris), and yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) present with random openings with taller grasses and other vegetation present.

            We were visiting this site to collect ants, but being interested in grasshoppers, I (JGH) always take the opportunity to do a little hopper collecting. Upon pulling up to the to pipeline several Pardalophora phoenicoptera (Burmeister) flew up to evade our approaching vehicle.  After unpacking our gear we went off in separate directions with Joe going down the pipeline and myself heading toward the sandier spots.  It quickly became evident that this was going to be a good place for some hoppers as every step I took seemed to flush out at least 5-6 individuals from several different species. There were several species belonging to the subfamily Oedipodinae, the so-called “Banded-Wing” grasshoppers, namely P. phoenicoptera, Spharagemon marmorata picta (Scudder) Spharagemon cristatum (Scudder), and Psinidia fenestralis (Serville). This made for a quite a display as grasshoppers with various shades of orange and yellow, banded with black, flew through the air.  So, in between my ant collections I made an effort to snag a couple of specimens of each grasshopper species.

            There were also lots of Melanoplus impudicus Scudder in this area.  This species is typically associated with rocky or sandy areas.  Two species of Schistocerca, S. americana (Drury) and S. damnifica (Saussure) were present as well. These species are extremely good fliers and typically take refuge in trees when flushed, so they required a little more effort to collect.  Only single individuals of Melanoplus sanquinipes Gurney and Brooks and Chortophaga viridifasciata (DeGeer), were observed, which is surprising as these two are typically common species.  Overall it was a pretty good spot for hoppers with nine species being collected in an hour and a half.  However, much of our collecting was confined to the open area. The Deaton Preserve is a relatively large area with varying habitat types and it is likely that several more species of grasshoppers occur here.

Grasshoppers collected at Deaton Preserve 12 May 2005

Chortophaga viridifasciata (DeGeer)
Pardalophora phoenicoptera (Burmeister)
Spharagemon marmorata picta (Scudder)
Spharagemon cristatum (Scudder),
Psinidia fenestralis (Serville)
Schistocerca americana (Drury)
Schistocerca damnifica (Saussure)
Melanoplus sanquinipes Gurney and Brooks
Melanoplus impudicus Scudder

Links

Deaton Preserve Ants