Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Acrididae Members: NC Records

Pseudochorthippus curtipennis (Harris, 1835) - Marsh Meadow Grasshopper


Family: Acrididae Subfamily: Gomphocerinae Tribe: GomphoceriniSynonym: Chorthippus curtipennis                                                                                 
Comments: Previously considered to belong to Chorthippus, a very large Palearctic genus. Reclassified as Pseudochorthippus by Defaut in 2012 (see Cigliano et al., 2018), which itself is a primarily Palearctic species; only P. curtipennis occurs in the New World.
Species Status: Two subspecies have been described, with only the nominate form found outside coastal California (see Otte, 1981)
Field Guide Descriptions: Capinera et al. (2004)Online Photographs: BugGuide (as Chorthippus); OSF (specimens of P. c. curtipennis)Technical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Blatchley (1920); Otte (1981)                                                                                  
Comments: A slender, medium-small grasshopper. Marked with green and brown on the head and thorax, but with the pattern highly variable in both sexes. The abdomen is usually strongly banded with black and yellow but the tegmina and hind femora are unmarked except for the knees, which are black. Tegmina are uniformly pale brown or yellow (Blatchley, 1920; Otte, 1981). Orphulella species are similar in size and color but do not have solidly black hind knees and their tegmina are usually spotted on the sides.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 13-15 mm, males; 15-24 mm, females (Blatchley, 1920)
Structural Features: Antennae are flattened at the base and are longer than the head and pronotum in the males but roughly equal in the females (Blatchley, 1920). Wing length is variable, with both long- and short-winged forms in both sexes but usually longer in the males (Blatchley, 1920; Otte, 1981))
Structural photos
Singing Behavior: Males stridulate. Piers (cited by Blatchley, 1920) describes the song as a lisping "thru, thru, thru"
Nymphal Stages and Development: Nymphs of Western populations are described and illustrated by Brust et al. (2014)
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from open, grassy habitats, including from fairly dry ridges
Diet: Feeds on grasses and sedges (Brust et al., 2014)
Observation Methods: Best found by walking through its habitat and flushing individuals into making short jumps.
Abundance/Frequency: Populations can be extremely dense locally
Adult Phenology: Adults mature in July and persist until October
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to have a restricted distribution in the state but is not restricted in terms of habitat types. Although its overall range in North Carolina needs to be documented, its locallly abundant populations appear to be reasonably secure within the state.

Photo Gallery for Pseudochorthippus curtipennis - Marsh Meadow Grasshopper

Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan
Watauga Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall and Bo Sullivan
Ashe Co.
Comment: Female
Recorded by: Stephen Hall and Bo Sullivan
Ashe Co.
Comment: Male
Recorded by: Stephen Hall and Bo Sullivan
Ashe Co.
Comment: Female
Recorded by: Stephen Hall and Bo Sullivan
Ashe Co.
Comment: Female
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Alleghany Co.
Comment: Male
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Alleghany Co.
Comment: Male