Northern Wingless Grasshopper

2013 June 8

Rosie caught this grasshopper for me just outside our back door on July 16, 2012[1].

One obvious feature is the complete lack of wings. I thought at first that this was the nymph of a grasshopper that would have wings as an adult, but even grasshopper nymphs at least have some indication that they are going to have wings someday.

Going through my copy of “Orthoptera of Michigan”, I found out that the complete lack of any evidence of wings pretty much reduced the possibilities to the Northern Wingless Grasshopper, Booneacris glacialis canadensis, which is the only grasshopper species known to live in Michigan that completely lacks wings. This is a darker-green, northern subspecies of the Wingless Mountain Grasshopper, Booneacris glacialis

This particular subspecies is mostly in Canada, but comes down into the upper peninsula of Michigan as well as the northern part of the lower peninsula. I kind of wonder whether they managed to get across the Straits of Mackinac (which is several miles of open water) on their own, or if they hitched rides on vehicles going across on either the old car ferry, or the bridge. If they did it on their own, they might have walked over shortly after the glaciers retreated, back when the lake levels were still fluctuating wildly and the Straits were sometimes not as wide as they are now. Although it probably would have required either going across on floating vegetation, or swimming over. They certainly didn’t fly across!

[1] I think I might have had the aperture set too far open on the camera when I took these shots. which would be why the depth of field of the pictures is shallow, and parts of the pictures came out blurry. I’ve got to watch that.

2 Responses
  1. June 11, 2013

    I love the tiny hairs on his face. He looks like I do when my wife is gone for the weekend. Shave? I’ll shave tomorrow.

  2. June 11, 2013

    Heh. Regarding facial hair, last month Sandy was going to be out of town for a week, and Sam and Rosie decided that they wanted to see what I looked like with a beard. So, to humor them I didn’t shave for a week and a half. They thought I was amusingly bristly at the end.

    And then Sandy came home, and said, “Cute. Now shave it off, please.”

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