E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Melanoplus bivittatus (Say, 1825)
Two-Striped Grasshopper
Family: Acrididae
The Families of Orthoptera of BC
Photo of species

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #12214)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Melanoplus bivittatus in British Columbia
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Species Information

This is a large, robust diurnal species of grasshopper that is readily recognized by the two distinctive yellow stripes, with black borders, that run from the back of the eyes to the tip of the forewings. The stripes form a V at the tip of the wings (Capinera et al. 2004). It is olive-green or yellowish-green on the dorsal side, yellow beneath. Hind femora are yellowish with a dark stripe. Males are 25-35 mm long, females are 29-45 mm long (Capinera et al. 2004). This species is most similar to differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis), and both are large species of the genus.

Biology


Diet:

This is a polyphagous species (feeds on many different foods). Food plants include grasses and herbs such as mustards, fireweed, plantains, legumes and composites (Pfadt, 2010).

Reproduction:

In northern Washington and southern BC, this species has been observed ovipositing in late September in open fields, on wooden fence rails. Capinera et al. (2004) indicate that eggs hatch in mid-spring in most regions, while adults are found from July to September. Life cycle is one year, but in some regions of Canada it is two years. Pfadt (2010) says: “Most populations of the twostriped grasshopper have a one-year life cycle, but in mountain parks of British Columbia at altitudes above 3,000 feet, populations take two years to complete a life cycle. A two-year life cycle may also occur among populations inhabiting meadows of the Rocky Mountains.”

Behaviour:

This species is active during warm, clear weather (Pfadt 2010). Behaviour varies with time of day—they may be found on tops of plants in the evenings and on the ground early in the day (Pfadt 2010).

Habitat


This is an adaptable species, but it is most often associated with tall, lush sites and disturbed sites, including agricultural fields (Capinera et al. 2004). Habitat is generally close to wetlands (Miskelly pers. Comm. 2010).

Distribution

Range

Global Range:

Found throughout most of the US (with some exceptions in the south) and the southern regions of Canada (Carpinera et al. 2004).

BC Range:

Range in BC is generally across the south, and in the Peace River area (Miskelly pers. Comm. 2010).

Comments


This species is a signficant pest of agricultural crops, and causes damage to crops such as alfalfa, corn, and other grains. In urban areas, it is a garden pest. Outbreaks of this species are reported, with one of the worst outbreaks reported from North and South Dakota. Pfadt (2010) says: “[Food].. favorable weather over a few consecutive years allow populations to irrupt. In eastern North and South Dakota such favorable conditions combined to precipitate one of the worst outbreaks of the twostriped grasshopper and differential grasshopper in agricultural history. Populations increased slowly for three years, 1928 to 1930. Both species reached phenomenal numbers in 1931 and 1932. They devastated fields of alfalfa, small grains, corn, vegetables, and a variety of fruit and shelterbelt trees. In 1933 and 1934 a severe drought not only ruined crops and other vegetation but also terminated the grasshopper outbreak.”

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
NativeS5No StatusNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

Species References

Capinera, John L., Ralph D. Scott and Thomas J. Walker. 2004. Field Guide to the Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of the United States. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.

Pfadt, Robert E. 2010. Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers. Modified from the Second Edition, Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 912, September 1994 for electronic publication. Available online.

General References


Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2021-10-23 8:06:47 AM]
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