Wingless grasshopper

Phaulacridium vittatum

Size: Female 18 mm, male 13 mm long.

Adult Description: Colour variable, ranging from dark grey to brown but never green. Five colour-pattern forms exist; about 6% of adults of both sexes have a distinct white lateral body stripe (see above). The thighs (femora) of the hind (jumping) legs have a distinct black mark mid way along their length. Wingless grasshoppers are slender in appearance; their thoraxes are straight in profile while those of Australian plague locust and Austroicetes are typically saddle-shape in profile. Wingless grasshoppers have a flat, pointed peg on their throats; Australian plague locust and Austroicetes do not have pegs on their throats.

Damage: Wingless grasshoppers are common in coastal pastures during spring and summer and will eat any green plant material. They also require dry feed, and may shred dry pasture residues. They are serious pests of dry-land lucerne on the south coast and in summer green pastures in southern dairying areas. They can devastate farm gardens and will attack, and over a number of years may kill, native trees standing in pastures. Seedling trees planted into paddocks need protection, to prevent severe losses.


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