Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Acrididae Members: NC Records

Orphulella pelidna (Burmeister, 1838) - Spotted-Wing Grasshopper

Family: Acrididae Subfamily: Gomphocerinae Tribe: Orphulellini                                                                                 
Comments: One of two species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Cigliano et al., 208), both of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Species Status: Populations inhabiting salt marshes -- including in North Carolina -- were previously identified as O. olivacea, which is now considered to be just a synonym (Cigliano et al., 2018)
Field Guide Descriptions: Capinera et al. (2004)Online Photographs: BugGuide; OSF (specimens)Technical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Blatchley (1920); Otte (1981)                                                                                  
Comments: A small, slender, long-winged grasshopper. The coloration and pattern are highly variable, ranging from green to brown to dark brown above and usually mottled or blotched with brown and off-white along the sides; the middle lateral sides of the tegmina are usually spotted with white and black in our populations. The lateral carinae of the pronotum are white and constricted in the middle. The sections of the carinae on the metazona are bordered inwardly by a black triangle but not on the prozona, unlike the pattern in Eritettix simplex, which has black triangles or bands along both sections. Orphulella speciosa is similar but differs in structural features (see below).
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 14.5-21 mm, males; 17-24 mm,females (Blatchley, 1920)
Structural Features: The lateral carinae are cut with two or occasionally three sulci in pelidna but only with one in speciosa; Eritettix simplex also has only one. The tegmina are narrow and extend beyond the ends of the hind femora in O. pelidna but are shorter in both O. speciosa and Eritettix simplex.
Singing Behavior: Blatchley (1920) and Otte (1970) decribe this species making crepitations during flight but no records of stridulation appear to exist
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: Otte (1981) describes this species as inhabiting primarily wet grasslands and marshes in the East (drier habitats in the West). The majority of our records come from wet Longleaf Pine Savannas and Sandhill Seeps, as well as coastal marshes in the Coastal Plain. Records from the Mountains also come from boggy habitats but records from the Piedmont are largely historic, with the habitats not described.
Diet: Feeds on grasses and sedges, at least in the West (Brust et al., 2014)
Observation Methods: Best found by walking through its habitat and flushing individuals into making short jumps
Abundance/Frequency: Regularly occurring in Longleaf Pine habitats and often locally abundant
Adult Phenology: Adults appear in July and persist until October, at least in the Coastal Plain
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: This species is widespread and frequent in wet savannas, seeps, and other wet grassy swales in the Coastal Plain. Its status in the rest of the state is unclear, however.

Photo Gallery for Orphulella pelidna - Spotted-Wing Grasshopper

Recorded by: Mark Shields
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan
Carteret Co.
Comment: Form olivacea
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan
Carteret Co.
Comment: Form olivacea
Recorded by: Stephen Hall, John Amoroso, and Ed Corey
Bladen Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall, John Amoroso, and Ed Corey
Bladen Co.
Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams
Gates Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Brunswick Co.