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Newfound grasshopper takes to the trees on Konza Prairie

en reported twice before in Kansas, Onaga and Oswego, as verified by Hopkins in a search of K-State's extensive entomology specimen collection.

"Its discovery on Konza is a big surprise," Hopkins said. Plans are to begin in-depth research on the Grizzly's lifecycle and habitat for the first time, just as soon as the insects emerge this summer.

Writing in the Spring 2004 issue of "Tallgrass Gazette," the newsletter for Konza Prairie docents, Hopkins said the Grizzly grasshopper "is a rather unique grasshopper that spends most of its life in trees and is seldom observed because of it secretive habits. It occurs in very low numbers, and that makes it more difficult to determine its habitat."

Hopkins speculates that its potential distribution on Konza will be limited to wooded areas along creeks and to trees around the headquarters and the Hokanson Homestead.

The Grizzly is a relatively large, very slow moving insect, and given its protective coloration -- medium-gray speckled with dark dots, sometimes with yellowish and whitish areas -- it disappears against the lichen-covered tree bark.

Hopkins plans to begin his research observation near the hackberry trees where the hoppers were last seen.

"I'll be watching for tiny first-stage grasshoppers that hatch from the eggs in late spring and I will observe their development to adulthood," he said. Grasshoppers typically go through five molting stages before becoming adults. Later in the fall, he'll try to collect enough adult specimens to determine food source and feeding habits.

Hopkins says though so little is known about this insect, it's likely the Grizzly Spur-throat Grasshopper has been in Kansas "as long as there have been trees."


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Contact: Ted Hopkins
thopkins@k-state.edu
785-532-6154
Kansas State University
21-Apr-2004


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