Plants and Animals

Appalachia arcana Secretive locust

species photo
David Cuthrell
species photo
David Cuthrell
species photo
species photo
species photo
species photo
species photo
species photo
species photo

Key Characteristics

The secretive locust is a small, short-winged grasshopper which does not have the ability to sing or fly. Males are brownish gray with a conspicuous stripe dorsally and contrasting lateral black stripes extending from the head nearly to the end of the abdomen; both sexes have red undersides on the hind femora.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G2G3 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from imperiled to vulnerable
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alcona 2 2007
Cheboygan 1 2005
Clare 4 2023
Crawford 19 2023
Iosco 6 2023
Kalkaska 1 1992
Missaukee 1 2014
Montmorency 6 2011
Ogemaw 1 2003
Oscoda 12 2023
Otsego 3 2002
Presque Isle 4 2014
Roscommon 13 2023

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.


Secretive locusts primarily inhabit open leatherleaf-dominated sphagnum bogs surrounded by jack pine. It has also been found in open groves of aspen and pines, in shrubby undergrowth of jack pine barrens, in early shrub-thicket stages of second growth northern hardwoods. Experts speculate that oviposition may occur in upland soil adjacent to bogs. This is the only grasshopper endemic to Michigan.

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

Maintain a suitable mosaic of bog and jack pine habitat. Leave sufficient buffer around boggy wetlands surrounded by jack pine when conducting timber operations. Avoid draining, filling, or other hydrologic alterations to suitable bog habitat. Species may be fire adapted, but until more research on this topic is conducted, fire management in occupied habitat should be used cautiously.

Active Period

Breeding from first week of September to third week of September

Survey Methods

They are most easily seen in mid-morning (after 10:00 AM) and early evenings (5-7:30 PM) when activity is at a peak. Males are usually found sunning at the tips of branches of leatherleaf or on trunks and branches of jack pine and tamarack. Females are more secretive, usually remaining hidden lower down in trees and shrubs. When approached, they tend to rely on camouflage and remain motionless, eventually taking two to three quick leaps in a zigzag pattern, or drop to the ground and burrow into the sphagnum.

Visual surveys, sweepnet

Survey Period: From first week of July to third week of September

Time of Day: Morning (after sunrise)
Cloud Cover: Clear

Time of Day: Evening
Cloud Cover: Clear


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.
  • Dunn, G.A. 1999. Insects of the Great Lakes Region. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 324pp.
  • Hubbell, T.H. and I.J. Cantrall. 1938. A new species of Appalachia from Michigan (Orthoptera, Acrididae, Cyrtacanthracridinae). Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. No. 389. 23pp.
  • Rabe, M.L., J.T. Legge, and D.A. Hyde. 1996. Species Animal Abstract for Appalachia arcana (Secretive locust). Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 2pp.

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