Plants and Animals

Melanoplus walshii Walsh's short-winged grasshopper

Key Characteristics

This short-winged grasshopper is between 18 and 30 mm long with females much larger than males. The tegmina (thickened, leathery front pair of wings) are only about ¼ longer than the pronotum (large dorsal plate behind the head). In addition, the hind tibiae are reddish-orange and the hind femur is distinctly cross-banded with dark on the outer side. According to Bland (2005) the front and middle femora of males look swollen compared with those of all other spur-throated grasshoppers.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G4G5 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from apparently secure to secure
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Berrien 2 1920
Dickinson 1 1959
Houghton 1 1936

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


In Michigan reported in thickets, vines, and other herbaceous plants and on the ground of sapling trees such as prickly ash and oaks (Bland 2005). From Blatchley (1920) "inhabits thickets of shrubbery, and herbage in and near deciduous woodlands”. All other reports refer to edges of forests or other places with vines and bushes with Lugger (1898) mentioning grapevine as the preferred host by this grasshopper and describing the eating of big holes in the leaves.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

Studies to determine the habitat requirements of this species are needed to inform management recommendations.

Active Period

Active from second week of July to fourth week of September

Survey Methods

Sweep net or aerial net survey

Survey Period: From first week of August to fourth week of September

Time of Day: Daytime
Humidity: Humid
Cloud Cover: Clear
Air Temperature: Warm
Wind: No Wind


Survey References

  • Borror, D.J. and R.E. White. 1970. A Field Guide to the Insects of North America and Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 404pp.
  • Martin, J.E.H. 1977. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada (Part 1): Collecting, preparing, and preserving insects, mites, and spiders. Publication 1643. Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa.

Technical References

  • Bland, R.G. 2003. The Orthoptera of Michigan: Biology, Keys, and Descriptions of Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets. Michigan State University Extension, East Lansing. Extension Bulletin E-2815. 220pp.
  • Blatchley, W.S. 1920. Orthoptera of North-Eastern America. The Nature Publishing Company, 1920. 784 pp.
  • Luggar, O. 1897. The Orthoptera of Minnesota. Bull. No. 55, Minn. State Exp. Stat., 1-296. St. Paul.