Nymphal orthops: The chronically mis-identified

Tis the season when the hoppers start really hopping, and taking a perusal of the species lists, it seems like orthops are definitely in people's radar. There are just enough to make it challenging but not enough to overwhelm. That being said, the one thing people seem to have the most difficulty in doing is recognizing nymphal orthops and realizing that they are often not identifiable to species. It can be tricky, but usually the nymphal wings have a less defined venation and often the pads are somewhat 'puffy' compared with mature wings. The terminalia of both males and females is also poorly developed, but this can sometimes misdirect people too.

The most regularly misidentified groups are Melanoplus and Conocephalus because they are commonly encountered in a variety of habitats, including urban settings. Nymphal Melanoplus are abundant and some have some odd markings that can confuse us and lead us down the wrong road of identification. Many different genera, including non-North American groups, have been added to the species list for Ontario based on misidentified Melanoplus (and an easy way for us to recognize there is a problem). Keep a close eye on your images and if you suspect it is a nymph, be cautious about species identification. With Conocephalus, the issue is largely limited to identification of species based on nymphs; Conocephalus strictus, a rarely encountered species in Ontario, seems to be regularly tagged as the go to species, while C. brevipennis and C. fasciatus are much more commonly encountered and are the likely culprits in most cases. While these mis-ids do catch our attention, posting them can lead to a long line of "collected nearby" identification biases by others, so be cautious. Alas, while we all want to get to that species level id, it may not be possible with images of just the nymphs.

Good luck with getting these nymph mis-ids in your rearview mirror this year... after all, hindsight is 2020!! :) If you have any questions, don't be afraid to tag any of the admins to help out with your ids (@stevepaiero or @brandonwoo )

Publicado el agosto 26, 2020 03:46 TARDE por stevepaiero stevepaiero


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