Spurcate Grasshopper  (4 photos & one video)
Family -Short-horned Grasshoppers (Acrididae)
Species:  Dissosteira spurcata

Dissosteira spurcata in Utah
I found these strange creatures in a populating frenzy at Promontory Point in Box Elder County, Utah. I had seen them all over the area
but this particular place seemed to be the "mating grounds" for them. I stepped out of the car to take a photo and kept hearing these
faint stridulations and when I turned my head I caught a glimpse of a hovering grasshopper. I've seen grasshoppers fly lots of times
never hover. They were everywhere doing this so I concluded it must be a mating ritual. The females seemed unimpressed but
the little hopper-guys just kept right on trying. Below is another view. © Carol Davis 7-19-2015

spurcate grasshopper
One of the characteristics of this species is the light-colored "X" that you can
see right behind the head in this photo.  There is a great description of these funny,
albeit destructive, grasshoppers
from the book "North American Grasshoppers"
by Daniel Otte (which can be viewed on
Google books.) Below is one of the
persistent males pursuing a reluctant female.  . © Carol Davis 7-19-2015

male and female grasshopper
"Give me a break!" Female giving the male the brush-off.  © Carol Davis 7-19-2015

hovering grasshopper
This is what the hovering male looks like. They are fun to watch. They make a noise that is not loud or annoying
(unlike most Utah grasshoppers) and in between kiting sessions they walk around and occasionally raise their
legs and vibrate them (remember how Amos McCoy looked when he hopped around and his arms raised up - now
you get the picture).  I have to admit I was becoming quite attached to the little things. They come in different
 shades but  most of the males were straw-colored.  Here is my video on Youtube of a hovering male.


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