Taxonomic Identification Key to Schistocerca species
 
Below is an identification key to 43 Schistocerca species. Illustrations of useful morphological characters are also included. Not included are S. brevis, S. matogrosso, S. orinoco and S. magnifica. Known distribution of the species is indicated in brackets.
 
1.

Mesosternum with the length of lateral lobes longer than their width (Fig. 1). Prosternal process always present (Fig. 1). Male subgenital plate always bilobed (Fig. 2). Usually moderate to large size [Entirely in New World except S. gregaria].............................................................................. 2, Schistocerca Stål

Mesosternum with the length of lateral lobes as wide as or wider than their width. Prosternal process present or absent. Male subgenital plate variable. Usually small to medium size .................................................... Other Acrididae
 

 

2.
Antennae length, especially in males, shorter or as long as the combined length of head and pronotum (Fig. 3A, B) .................................................................... 3
Antennae length, especially in males, visibly longer than the combined length of head and pronotum (Fig. 4A, B) .......................................................................19
 

 

3.
Antennae shorter than the combined length of head and pronotum and weakly ensiform (Fig. 3A). Median carina of pronotum distinctly elevated. Tegmina, especially in females, as long as or slightly shorter than the tip of abdomen. Entire body rusty brown sometimes with slight mottling on tegmina (Fig. 5A). [Southeastern U.S. and northern Mexico] ...................S. damnifica (Saussure)
Antennae as long as the combined length of head and pronotum (Fig. 3B) and median carina of pronotum not distinctly elevated ........................................... 4
4.
Length of tegmina only slightly extending beyond abdomen (Fig. 5B) .............. 5
Length of tegmina visibly extending beyond abdomen (Fig. 5C) ....................... 7
 
 
5.
Shape of basal eminence of cingulum rounded rectangular. Median carina low. Overall color light brown. Tegmina with faint maculation. Outer surface of hind femora without dark bands. Similar to the Americana Complex, but much smaller in size. [Entire Central America] .............................................. S. centralis Dirsh
Shape of basal eminence of cingulum round. Median carina distinctly raised as a ridge. Found in West Indies .............................................................................. 6
6.
Prosternal process distinctly curved backward, nearly touching thoracic sternum (Fig. 6B). Apex of male cerci distinctly bilobed (Fig. 7D). A large black area on the inner surface of the hind femora present. [Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas] .......................................................................................S. cubense (Saussure)
Prosternal process straight or only slightly curved backward, never touching thoracic sternum (Fig. 6A). Apex of male cerci only lightly bilobed (Fig. A,B,C). Inner surface of hind femora without distinct black markings. [Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and islands east to Antigua] ........................ S. serialis (Thunberg)
 
 
7.
Length of tegmina extending distinctly more than the length of one pronotum beyond abdomen (Fig. 5C). Tegmina transparent with large distinct dark patches ............................................................................................................. 8
Length of tegmina extending only about the length of one pronotum beyond abdomen (Fig. 5B). Tegmina pattern variable ................................................. 12
8.
Lophi of epiphallus simple right angular in shape ............................................. 9
Lophi of epiphallus right angular in shape with inner side inflated ..................11
9.
Apical valve of cingulum of endophallus slightly protruding from cingulum. Median carina low. Central American locust. [Mexico south of the Tropic of Cancer and Central America, with a subspecies S. piceifrons peruviana in Peru and southern Ecuador] .................................................. S. piceifrons (Walker)
Apical valve of cingulum of endophallus distinctly protruding from cingulum. Median carina raised as a ridge ...................................................................... 10
10.
Pronotum with dark brown lateral stripes with a creamy yellow dorsal stripe in the middle running from head to tegmina. Hind tibiae usually orange red. [Southern U.S. from Texas to Florida] ............................. S. americana (Drury)
Median carina of pronotum with deep sulci. Hind tibiae brownish. Only found in the Old World. Desert locust. [Northern Africa and Middle East, with a subspecies, S. gregaria flaviventris found in the Republic of South Africa] .......................................................................................... S. gregaria (Forskål)
11.
Upper carinula of hind femora with prominently protruding granules. Prosternal process straight or only slightly curved backward, never touching thoracic sternum (Fig. 6A). Male cerci distinctly bilobed (Fig. 7D). Male subgenital plate incision shallow. Apical valve of cingulum simply narrowing toward apex. South American locust. [Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil] ............................................................................ S. cancellata (Serville)
Upper carinula of hind femora with miniscule granules. Prosternal process distinctly curved backward, nearly touching thoracic sternum (Fig. 6B). Male cerci only lightly bilobed (Fig. 7A,B,C). Male subgenital plate incision deep. Apical valve of cingulum strongly curved up. [Bolivia] ..................................................... ..........................................................................S. pallens (Thunberg) BOLIVIA
12.
Posterior margin of metazona of pronotum broadly round (Fig. 8A) ............... 13
Posterior margin of metazona of pronotum angular (Fig. 8B,C) .......................17
 
13.
Male subgenital plate incision U-shaped (Fig. 9A) ........................................... 14
Male subgenital plate incision V-shaped (Fig. 9B,C) ........................................ 15
 
 
14.
Frontal half of pronotum dark green and distal half bright yellow, with bright yellow dorsal stripe. Base of tegmina with bright orange veins. Hind femora overall yellow with orange and dark green markings. Tegmina often smoked black. [Endemic to Galápagos Islands, Ecuador; on all islands except Española] .......................................................................................... S. melanocera (Stål)
Pronotum brownish without dorsal stripe. Hind femora brownish with two dark bands. Tegmina semi-transparent with brown maculation. [Endemic to Galápagos Islands, Ecuador; Islas Española, Floreana, Gardner near Española, Genovesa, San Cristóbal].................................................... S. literosa (Walker)
15.
Integument sculpting pattern on pronotum with thickened ridges and shallow punctures. Pronotum with granules. Tegmina with faded maculation. Hind femora with two dark bands. Hind tibae red. [Trinidad] ............ S. beckeri Dirsh
Integument sculpting pattern on pronotum fading near median carina .......... 16
16.
Pronotum with granules present on dorsal surface. Prosternal process distinctly curved backward, nearly touching thoracic sternum (Fig. 6B). Tegmina with elongate, faded maculation. Apical valve of cingulum simply narrowing toward apex. [Mexico] .................................................. S. pallens (Thunberg) MEXICO
Pronotum without granules. Prosternal process straight or only slightly curved backward, never touching thoracic sternum (Fig. 6A). Tegmina with large brown maculation. Apical valve of cingulum rectangular and distinctly curved down. Male subgenital plate notch deep and angular. [Ecuador and Peru] .................................................................................... S. subspurcata (Walker)
17.
Posterior margin of metazona of pronotum acutely angular with pointed apex (Fig. 8C). Overall color brown. Lateral lobe without distinct pattern. [Endemic to Socorro Island, Islas de Revillagigedo, Mexico] ..................... S. socorro (Dirsh)
Posterior margin of metazona of pronotum obtusely angular with round apex (Fig. 8B). Color variable .................................................................................. 18
18.
Tegmina with mottled maculation. Overall gray in color. Lateral lobe of pronotum, with single dark marking and white marking at the base. Hind femur with two dorsal bands. [Western U.S., including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and the northern Mexico] ........... S. vaga (Scudder)
Tegmina with large pantherine maculation. Overall brownish in color. Yellow dorsal stripe running from head to pronotum, disappearing in the middle of pronotum. [Peru] ................................................................ S. interrita Scudder
19.
Antennae length, especially in males, extending much beyond pronotum (Fig. 4B) .................................................................................................................. 20
Antennae length, especially in males, long but not extending much beyond pronotum (Fig. 4A) .......................................................................................... 31
20.
Male epiproct with a pair of tubercles in the middle (Fig. 10B) ........................ 21
Male epiproct without a pair of tubercles in the middle (Fig. 10A) .................. 25
 
 
21.
Small for the genus (male= 29-32mm; female= 39-41mm), eyes highly prominent and protruding. Tegmina narrow and with mottled maculation. Hind femur with two dark dorsal bands. Taken alive, color green. Museum specimens brown. Endemic to Central Florida, only found on Florida rosemary Ceratiola ericoides. [Central Florida, U.S.] .......................... S. ceratiola Hubbell & Walker
Body size not small, eyes normal. Tegmina without distinct maculation ......... 22
22.
Fore and middle femora of males distinctively inflated. Basal eminence of cingulum, hour-glass shaped, and very broad in the middle ........................... 23
Fore and middle femora of males not inflated. Basal eminence of cingulum, slightly or highly constricted in the middle ...................................................... 24
23.
Overall coloration olive green. Upper carina and upper carinula without a row of small dots. Hind tibiae mostly red, pink, or orange. Posterior margin of abdominal tergites always without a row of black dots. [Southwestern U.S., including Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado] ....................................................................................... S. shoshone (Thomas)
Coloration extremely variable (brown, olive green, or black and yellow). Upper carina and upper carinula with a row of small dots. Hind tibiae brown, red, or black. Posterior margin of abdominal tergites always with a row of black dots. [Entire U.S.] .......................................................................... S. lineata Scudder
24.
Overall coloration rusty brown. Pronotum cylindrical, not narrowing toward head. Head slightly inflated. Dorsal longitudinal stripe usually absent, but can be present. Male cerci small, quadrate, length about the same as width, distal tip slightly bilobed. [Eastern U.S., including Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina] ........................................................................................ S. rubiginosa (Harris)
Overall coloration brownish to slightly olive green. Pronotum narrowing toward head. Head small and not inflated. Dorsal longitudinal stripe always present. Male cerci quadrate, length about the same as width, slightly inflated in the middle, distal tip bilobed. [Eastern U.S.] ............................ S. alutacea (Harris)
25.
Overall profile of male subgenital plate slightly longer than wide ................... 26
Overall profile of male subgenital plate much longer than wide ..................... 29
26.
Apical lobes of male subgenital plate slightly or much flared outward (Fig. 9C) ........................................................................................................................ 27
Apical lobes of male subgenital plate not flared outward (Fig. 9A,B) .............. 28
27.
Male cerci highly bilobed, and lower apical angle protruding more than upper. Apical lobes of male subgenital plate only slightly flared outward. Upper carina and upper carinula of hind femora without a row of small dots. Two distinct dorsal bands on hind femora with upper half of medial area black. Hind tibiae mostly red, sometime black or blue. [Southwestern U.S., including Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and Mexico] .................................. S. albolineata (Thomas)
Male cerci not bilobed. Apical lobes of male subgenital plate highly flared outward. Upper carina and upper carinula of hind femora with a row of small dots. Two dorsal bands on hind femur present or obliterated to no band. Hind tibiae purple, brown or black. [Southern U.S. and northern Mexico] ........................................................................................ S. obscura (Fabricius)
28.
Male subgenital plate incision shallow. Overall color brownish with olive hue and bright yellow dorsal stripe running from head to tegmina. Tegmina olive-green without pattern. [Mexico] ................................................... S. cohni Song
Male subgenital plate incision deep. Overall color brown with yellow dorsal stripe only on head and pronotum. Tegmina sometimes with faded small maculation. Median carina distinctly raised. [Mexico] ........ S. camerata Scudder
29.
Male subgenital plate incision U-shaped (Fig. 9A). Lophi of epiphallus crested inward. Lower margin of lateral lobe of pronotum with white marking. [Trinidad] ........................................................................ S. nitens (Thunberg) TRINIDAD
Male subgenital plate incision V-shaped (Fig. 9B). Lophi of epiphallus inflated triangular ........................................................................................................ 30
30.
Overall color olive-green. Tegmina brown without maculation. Dorsal stripe green. Outer surface of hind femora without maculation. [Costa Rica, Panama] ......................................................................................... S. crocotaria Scudder
Overall color brown. Tegmina brown with faded maculation. Dorsal stripe yellow. Outer surface of hind femora with some maculation. [Colombia] ....................................................................... S. nitens (Thunberg) COLOMBIA
31.
Posterior margin of metazona of pronotum broadly round (Fig. 10A) ............. 32
Posterior margin of metazona of pronotum angular (Fig. 10B,C) .................... 33
32.
Prosternal process distinctly curved backward, nearly touching thoracic sternum (Fig. 6B). Length of tegmina extending only about the length of one pronotum beyond abdomen (Fig. 4A). Lateral stripes on dorsum of pronotum brownish and often faded. Sculpture on pronotum with small and narrow ridges. [Barbados] .................................................. S. pallens (Thunberg) BARBADOS
Prosternal process only slightly curved backward, never touching thoracic sternum (Fig. 6A). Length of tegmina extending distinctly more than the length of one pronotum beyond abdomen (Fig. 4B). Lateral stripes on dorsum of pronotum olive-green. Lower margin of lateral lobe of pronotum with white marking. [Ecuador, Peru] ............................... S. pallens (Thunberg) ECUADOR
33.
Posterior margin of metazona of pronotum acutely angular with pointed apex (Fig. 8C) .......................................................................................................... 34
Posterior margin of metazona of pronotum obtusely angular with round apex (Fig. 8B) .......................................................................................................... 35
34.
Lower margin of lateral lobe of pronotum with white marking. Outer surface of hind femora with white background numerous black dots. Tegmina with large brown maculation. Hind tibiae deep wine red with the tip of tibial spines black. [Colombia] ........................................................................ S. diversipes Hebard
Small for the genus (male= 24-26mm; female= 36-40mm). Pronotum with two narrow brown lateral stripes and yellow dorsal stripe running from head to middle of pronotum. Fore and middle legs light olive-green. Hind tibiae proximally green, becoming red nearing tarsi. Male cerci narrowing toward apex. [Endemic to Hispaniola, especially in Dominican Republic] ............................................................................. S. quisqueya Rehn & Hebard
35.
Male cerci widest near base and narrowing toward apex (Fig. 7A,B) ............. 36
Male cerci width of apex similar to width of base (Fig. 7C,D) .......................... 37
36.
Upper carina of hind femora numerously serrate. Overall coloration dark green. Integument of lateral lobe highly rugose. Ovipositor slender and elongated. [Only known from Brazil] .................................................... S. braziliensis Dirsh
Upper carina of hind femora regularly serrate. Outer margin of tegmina with white streak. Lower margin of lateral lobe of pronotum with white marking. Distinct dorsal stripe on head and pronotum. Hind tibiae usually wine red to purple [West Indies, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina] ............ S. flavofasciata (De Geer)
37.
Male cerci apex distinctly bilobed (Fig. 7D) ...................................................... 38
Male cerci apex not bilobed (Fig. 7C) .............................................................. 39
38.
Overall color variable. Tegmina extending about one pronotum length beyond abdomen (Fig. 5B). Male subgenital plate incision deep and U-shaped. [Colima, Guerrero, Mexico] ............................................... S. nitens (Thunberg) COLIMA
Overall color brown. Tegmina extending only slightly beyond abdomen (Fig. 5A). Male subgenital plate incision shallow and V-shaped. [Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Mexico] ...................................................... S. nitens (Thunberg) NUEVO LEON
39.
Male cerci apex upper portion modified as a small pointed projection (Fig. 7B) ........................................................................................................................ 40
Male cerci apex without any modification ........................................................ 42
40.
Male cerci slightly longer than the width. Apical lobes of male subgenital plate only slightly flared outward. Overall color variable. Hind wings yellow with smoked color. [Guatemala] ......................... S. nitens (Thunberg) GUATEMALA
Male cerci distinctly longer than the width ...................................................... 41
41.
Ovipositor slender. Overall coloration olive-brown. Endemic to Gorgona Island. [Gorgona Island, Colombia] ..................................................... S. gorgona Dirsh
Tegmina with mottled maculation. Dorsal stripe wide and faintly present. Hind wings yellow hue. [Vera Cruz, Mexico] .......... S. nitens (Thunberg) VERA CRUZ
42.
Median carina of pronotum low. Tegmina with dark maculation. Hind margin of metazona highly constricted. Dorsal stripe distinctly narrowing down in the middle of pronotum. [St. Kitts, West Indies] .................... S. carribeana (Dirsh)
Median carina of distinctly raised as a ridge ................................................... 43
43.
No distinct markings on lateral prozona. No visible dorsal stripe. [St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, West Indies] ............................... S. columbina (Thunberg)
Lower margin of lateral lobe of pronotum with white marking. Pronotum with numerous maculation. [St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, West Indies] ............................................................................................. S. virginica (Dirsh)
 

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