Grasshoppers Collected at Fall Line Sandhills Natural Area


Excerpt from Hill, J. G. and J. A. MacGown. 2008. Survey of Grasshoppers and Ants from the Big Hammock, Ohoopee Dunes, and Fall Line Sandhills Natural Areas. Report to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 30 pp. [pdf]

The Fall Line Sandhills Natural Area in Taylor County, Georgia is an 876 acre tract of sandhill habitat that was only recently acquired by the state of Georgia. Historically, this area was most likely a mix of oak/pine dune scrub and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forests, which were dominated by wiregrass (Aristida stricta) and a myriad of other understory species. However, periodic burns are required for longleaf pine forests to flourish, with the result that only few of these pines are still present today. More recently, much of the property was planted with loblolly pines (Pinus taeda), which have not faired well due to the deep sand. Along the western edge of the property is an open swath that was created by a powerline cut. Vegetation on the powerline cut included Rubus sp., Opuntia humifusa, risky tread softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus), wiregrass, and a variety of other grasses and forbs. Small pockets of oak scrub are still present and are dominated by turkey oak (Q. laevis), bluejack oak (Q. incana), dwarf post oak (Q. margaretta), loblolly pine, Rubus sp., wiregrass (Aristida beyrichiana), and an abundance of other plants present as well such as persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), Vaccinium sp., O. humifusa, little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), risky tread softly, and other species. In addition to the typical sandhill flora and fauna, 11 species of concern are known to occur at the site including 8 animals and 3 plants, making this a unique area and an ideal study site for insects as well.

Three trips to each natural areas were spread out over of 2007 to allow for seasonal differences in species composition. A total of 20 species were collected from this natural area, giving it the highest level of diversity of the three habitats surveyed. This natural area shared 12 species with the Ohoopee Dunes N. A. and four species with the Big Hammock N.A.. Overall seven species were unique to this natural area including Dichromorpha viridis (Scudder), Achurum carinatum (Walker), Mermiria picta (Walker) Chortophaga viridifasciata (Degeer), Hesperotettix viridis (Thomas), Melanoplus keeleri (Thomas), Melanoplus sanquinipes Gurney and Brooks. The overall grasshopper diversity of this site is in part due to the large powerline right (Sites 1 and 2) of way running through the natural area (as evidenced by 15 of the 20 species occurring at sites 1 and 2). The removal of woody species along this corridor provided more suitable conditions for the herbaceous cover favored by most grasshoppers, and the relative canopy free conditions also provided habitat for several species such as Chortophaga viridifasciata and Trimerotropis maritima. Several of the species occurring at the Fall Line Sandhills N. A. are characteristic of species that, in the southeastern U. S., are confined to long leaf pine savannahs and/or naturally occurring open areas. These include Mermiria picta, Hesperotettix viridis, Melanoplus scapularis. The remainder of the species are typical of open habitats, such as roadsides, pastures, and old fields, in the Southeast, although Spharagemon cristatum, S. marmorata picta, Psinidia fenestralis (Serville) (Scudder), Melanoplus impiger Scudder, and Melanoplus impudicus Scudder are generally restricted to areas with sandy soil.

 

Collection information of grasshoppers and ants from the Fall Line Sandhills Natural Area.
Site
Lat/Long
Description
# Grasshopper Sp.
1
32°34'37"N84°17'25"W
Open powerline cut
13
2
32°35'03"N84°17'28"W
Open powerline cut and planted Pinus taeda
8
3
32°34'51"N84°16'49"W
Planted P. taeda w/ scattered P. palustris
0
4
32°34'37"N84°16'24"W
Open grassy area bordered by planted P. taeda. Also P. palustris, Q. margaretta, and Crataegus sp.
7
5
32°34'37"N84°16'24"W
Young P. taeda plantation
8
6
32°34'21"N84°16'27"W
Older P. taeda plantation
1
7
32°34'41"N84°16'59"W
Open pine and large Q. falcata. Lots of herbaceous sp.
1

 

Grasshoppers collected at Fall line Sandhills Natural Area

Gomphocerinae
Orphulella pelidna (Burmeister): Sites 1, and 5.
Dichromorpha viridis (Scudder): Site 4.
Achurum carinatum (Walker): Site 2.
Mermiria picta (Walker): Site 1.
Syrbula admirabilis (Uhler): Site 1.
Oedipodinae
Arphia sulphurea (Fabricius): Site 1.
Chortophaga viridifasciata (Degeer): Sites 1 and 2.
Pardalophora phoenicoptera (Burmeister): Sites 1, 2, 4, and 6.
Spharagemon cristatum (Scudder): Site 1, 2, and 4.
Spharagemon bolli Scudder: Sites 5, 6, and 7.
Spharagemon marmorata picta (Scudder): Sites 1, 4, and 5.
Trimerotropis maritima (Harris): Site 1.
Psinidia fenestralis (Serville): Sites 2, 4, and 5.
Cyrtacanthacrdinae
Schistocerca damnifica (Saussure): Site 2.
Melanoplinae
Melanoplus impiger Scudder: Site 1, and 5.
Melanoplus impudicus Scudder: Sites 1, 4, and 5.
Melanoplus keeleri (Thomas): Site 4.
Melanoplus sanquinipes Gurney and Brooks: Site 2.
Melanoplus scapularis Rehn and Hebard: Site 5.

Also see: Ants collected at Fall Line Sandhills Natural Area