Plants and Animals

Melanoplus viridipes Green-legged grasshopper

Key Characteristics

This is a short-winged grasshopper. The body length of males ranges from 17.5 to 18.5 mm. Females are larger, ranging in length from 21.5 to 25.5 mm. Adults are characterized by solid green forelegs and midlegs; black lateral stripe running the full length of the pronotum; and short wings covering less than half of the abdomen (this combination of characteristics is diagnostic). In addition, the lower half of side of the pronotum is white and the top of the pronotum is either all black or black with white patches.

Melanoplus can be distinguished from Dendrotettix and Appalachia because the latter two usually have more extensive brown on the hind femur; prominent black lines along the mid-line of the pronotum; and the wing pads are separated over the back (sometimes in Dendrotettix the wings are fully developed). Booneacris have no wings as adults.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure
State Rank: S1S3


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Livingston 1 2012
Oakland 1 2015
Washtenaw 1 2020

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.


This species occurs on ground or low vegetation, shrubby growth on sand plains, and in open woods or wood edges. It feeds on both grasses and forbs (Bland 2003).

Natural Community Types

  • Unknown

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 and restore suitable habitat. Avoid dredging, filling, or other hydrologic alterations at known sites. Prescribed fire may be an appropriate habitat management tool but care should be taken to not burn all occupied habitat at once. Remove invasive plants that could alter habitat quality. More studies to determine the habitat requirements of this species are needed to better inform management recommendations.

Active Period

Active from first week of May to second week of August

Survey Methods

Sweep net or aerial net survey

Survey Period: From second week of May to second week of August

Time of Day: Daytime
Humidity: Humid
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.