What's this orange grasshopper found in Weld County, Colorado?

Asked July 19, 2015, 2:12 AM EDT

Hello! I discovered this grasshopper today (7/18) in a parking lot in Weld County, Colorado and was surprised to even see something like this in my area. It is completely new to me and I would like to know more. I tried looking up the type of grasshopper and I feel I have narrowed it down to the genus Melanoplus, either the species bivittatus (also known as the Two-Striped Grasshopper, correct?) due to its two vibrant white stripes on its head right behind the eyes running down the back of its head; or species femurrubrum (Red-Legged Grasshopper) due to its equally vibrant reddish legs held close to the body. Photos of either species found online have not been accurate for either and I was hoping for some clarification. While the bivittatus seems to resemble more what I've found, the femurrubrum has been recorded as being found in Colorado. The grasshopper I found was rather approachable, but when I got ahold of it became active as in scurrying as much as jumpy. It does have very powerful jumps and moved quickly; it seems to have wings and was able to fly with its jumps to increase its leap to roughly 3.5-4 meters. Can you help me confirm which species this is? I can answer additional questions if need be. Thank you!

Weld County Colorado grasshoppers

1 Response

I can not identify this based on the photographs, as it is a bit blurry and grasshopper identification can be difficult, since there are so many species of similar general appearance. But it does appear to be a Melanoplus species.

There is a set of good fact sheets on most of the grasshoppers that occur in the region (about 100 species) at: http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/grasshopper/ID_Tools/F_Sheets/

I think if you went through the fact sheets related to the Melanoplus species in that series you may be able to match it.