Aquatic Insects of Michigan

by Ethan Bright, Museum of Zoology Insect Division and School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan

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Semiaquatic Orthoptera of Michigan - Identification

[under construction]

The key below for adult Orthoptera that are considered semi-aquatic is adapted from the Bland's (2003) outstanding work on the Orthoptera of Michigan. The user is referred to this volume for a complete diagnosis (and excellent photos and illustrations) for each species.


    Pronotum prolonged posteriorly, reaching at least to tip of abdomen

    1b Pronotum not prolonged posteriorly 2
    2a(1b) Front legs strongly flattened, adapted for digging
    2b Front legs not adapted for digging 4
    Body length > 1 cm; all tarsi 3-segmented Gryllotalpidae, Neocurtilla hexadactyla hexadactyla
    3b Body length <1 cm; all tarsi 0- to 2-segmented Tridactylidae
    4a(2b) Antennae <2/3 body length Acrididae
    4b Antennae > 2/3 body length 5
    5a(4b) a. Dorsum of body strongly arched in profile Rhaphidophoridae, Ceuthophilus meridionalis
    b. Pronotum morphology resembles that of abdominal terga
    5b a. Dorsum of body relatively straight in profile 6
    b. Pronotum morphology clearly different from that of abdominal terga

    a. Tarsi 4-segmented; wings held roof-like in cross-section

    b. Overall color typically green, sometimes brown
    c. Male cerci <1/4 length of hind femora
    d. Ovipositor commonly shaped like a straight or strongly curved sword
    6b a. Tarsi 3-segmented; wings held flat over back in cross-section Gryllidae
    b. Overall color often gray to black, reddish brown, pale tan to straw color, or dull greenish brown
    c. Male cerci > 1/4 length of hind femora
    d. Ovipositor in most species straight and needlelike (strongly curved in Anaxipha exigua)

ACRIDIDAE (Grasshoppers)

    1a Prosternum with prominent spine
    1b Prosternum without prominent spine 8
    2a(1b) Mesosternal lobes longer than their width
    Schistocerca Stål, 3
    2b Mesosternal lobes as wide as or wider than their length 4
    3a(2b) a. Antennal length nearly equal to combined length of head and pronotum
    Schistocerca americana (Drury)
    b. Tegmina with large dark blotches
    c. Body with a pale longitudinal dorsal stripe
    d. Male cerci narrowed toward apex
    3b a. Antennae at least the length of (female) or much longer (male) than the combined length of head and pronotum Schistocerca alutacea (Harris)
    b. Tegmina with small weak blotches or uniformly colored
    c. Body with or without pale yellow, longitudinal dorsal stripe
    d. Male cerci squarish, slightly narrowed toward apex or parallel-sided
    also: Dorsal region at front of eyes (fastigium) narrow; apical margin of male's cerci deeply emarginate; female with upper surface of dorsal ovipositor valve shallowly curved
    4a(2b) Wingless
    Booneacris glacialis canadensis
    4b Winged 5
    5a(4b) Face slanted, forming about a 60-degree angle with dorsum of pronotum in profile
    Paroxya hoosieri
    also: color of legs, especially hind tibiae, greenish yellow; cerci spatulate, narrower at middle, expanded distally to truncate or weakly emarginate apex
    5b Face nearly vertical, forming 80- to 90-degree angle with dorsum of pronotum in profile 6
    6a(5b) a. Ventral and inner surfaces of hind femora orange-red to scarlet
    Appalachia arcana
    b. Hind tibiae greenish yellow or greenish brown
    also: Male's cerci conical, not twisted; ovipositor valves lanceolate in dorsal view, gradually tapering to a broadly acute or obtuse apex
    6b Hind femora and tibiae not in above combination (if hind femora red ventrally, then tibiae also red) Melanoplus, 7 (males only)
    7a(6b) Hind tibiae greenish
    Melanoplus gracilis
    also: Hind femora without crossbands on outer face; cerci as in figure (pending)
    7b Hind tibiae not greenish Melanoplus borealis borealis
    also: Tegmina surpassing posterior margin of 5th abdominal segment; furculae large, about 1/2 length of supra-anal plate; subgenital plate wider than tall in posterior view; cerci narrow slightly beyond middle, distal third curves upward
    8a(1b) a. Face slanting backwards in profile, sometimes forming an acute angle with dorsum
    b. Hind wings colorless in most species
    8b a. Face rounded in profile Trimerotropis verruculata verruculata
    b. Hind wings very pale yellow to clear yellow proximally
    also: Median carina of pronotum cut by 2 sulci, posterior one usually more distinct; antennae filiform; hind tibiae dull yellowish; overall color dark gray-brown to blackish; apex of hind wing dark
    9a(8a) Lateral carinae of pronotum straight and nearly parallel in dorsal view
    9b Lateral carinae of pronotum distinctly incurved at middle and divergent posteriorly 11
    10a(9b) Basal segments of antennae not strongly flattened and only slightly broader than middle segments
    Dichromorpha viridis
    10b Basal segments of antennae strongly flattened (ensiform) and distinctly broader than middle segments Metaleptea brevicornis
    also: Tegmina surpassing tip of abdomen
    11a(9b) a.Ventral edge of hind femora brownish red 12
    b. Hind tibiae dark yellow, sometimes with dark bands
    11b a. Ventral edge of hind femora not brownish red Chorthippus curtipennis curtipennis
    b. Tegmina and hind femora yellowish to brown, knees of hind femora often dull black
    also: Tegmina unmarked; overall body color greenish yellow to brown; lateral foveolae narrow and rectangular, usually conspicuous, visible from above
    12a(11a) a. Tegmina unmarked Stethophyma gracile
    b. Lateral carinae cut by 1 or 2 sulci
    12b a. Tegmina with longitudinal white streak along anterior margin above base of legs Stethophyma lineatum
    b. Lateral carinae cut by 3 sulci

TETRIGIDAE (Pygmy Grasshoppers)


    a. Antennae with > 15 segments

    b. Front femora with broad, shallow, longitudinal groove or channel dorsally
    1a a. Antennae with <15 segments 3
    b. Front femora without a groove or channel but with a distinct longitudinal ridge dorsally
    2a(1a) Anterior margin of pronotum with distinct acute median point
    Tettigidea armata armata
    2b Anterior margin of pronotum without distinct acute median point, margin is obtuse-angulate Tettigidea lateralis lateralis
    3a(1b) a. Fastigium of vertex slightly or not extended in front of eyes in profile
    Paratettix cucullatus
    b. Middle femora strongly lobed on ventral margin
    3b a. Fastigium of vertex greatly extended in front of eyes in profile 4
    b. Middle femora weakly or not lobed on ventral margin
    4a(3b) Median carina of vertex not extended beyond anterior margin of fastigium in dorsal view
    Tetrix subulata
    also: Facial profile weakly or not emarginate in front of eyes (above antennae); middle femur 3.8-4.7x as long as broad
    4b Median carina extended beyond anterior margin of fastigium in dorsal view Tetrix arenosa angusta
    also: Anterior margin of fastigium truncate in dorsal view; pronotum relatively flat in cross-section

RHAPHIDOPHORIDAE (Cave and Camel Crickets)

One species of Rhaphidophoridae - Ceuthophilus meridionalis Scudder - in Michigan is found around semi-aquatic habitats, such as debris of moist forests, floodplains, and edges of lakes and streams (Bland 2003). Males are characterized by: Thoracic terga shiny, with many distinct pale blotches; spurs of hind tibiae with one distinct ridge dorsally, and dorsal spines not darkened at base; Ab8 tergum not strongly extended posteriorly and not concealing the Ab9 tergum; Ab9 tergum truncate and solid, distinctly produced beyond the posterior edge of Ab8 tergum, and extended beyond the base of the cerci; entire length of subgenital plate usually divided vertically by a median sulcus; subgenital plate as high
as wide and shallowly emarginate, upper part of lobes narrow and project slightly. Females have dorsal spines of hind tibiae pale or slightly darkened at base; ventral ridge in proximal area of hind femora with <18 small teeth; and dorsum with broad yellowish orange median stripe, dark region on each side
of stripe.

GRYLLIDAE (Crickets)

    1a a. Hind tibiae with 3 pairs of long spines in sockets (excluding apical spines)
    Anaxipha exigua (Say)
    b. Brushlike pad on the ventral side of the 2nd tarsal segment of the hind tarsi
    c. Ovipositor flattened laterally and curved upward
    1b a. Hind tibiae with > 3 pairs of long spines in sockets (excluding apical spines) 2
    b. 2nd tarsal segment of hind tarsi without brushlike pad
    c. Ovipositor needlelike, straight or gently curved, not flattened laterally
    2a(1b) a. Paired distoventral spurs of hind tibiae approximately equal in length
    b. Ovipositor < 6 mm long, gently curved upward
    2b a. Paired distoventral spurs of hind tibiae distinctly unequal in length 4
    b. Ovipositor < 4 mm long and gently curved upward or > 4 mm long and straight
    3a(2a) a. Ovipositor > 4.5 mm long Eunemobius melodius (Thomas and Alexander)
    b. Stridulatory file on ventral side of male's tegmen near base has > 100 teeth
    3b a. Ovipositor < 3.5 mm long Eunemobius carolinus carolinus(Scudder)
    b. Stridulatory file on ventral side of male's tegmen near base has <75 teeth
    4a(2b) a. Body < 7 mm long, generally unmarked above
    Neonemobius palustris palustris
    b. Ovipositor <4 mm long, shorter than hind femur, gently curved upward
    4b a. Body usually > 7 mm long, commonly with dorsal spots or lines 5
    b. Ovipositor > 4 mm long, longer than hind femur, straight
    also: Tegmina short or long, not truncate; hind wings usually present; body reddish brown to black, with distinct or indistinct dorsolongitudinal stripes on head and pronotum
    5a(4b) a. Pronotum barrel-shaped, anterior margin as wide as posterior margin Allonemobius fasciatus fasciatus
    b. Dorsal surface of head and pronotum with longitudinal dark and pale stripes
    5b a. Pronotum not barrel-shaped, anterior margin distinctly narrower than posterior margin Allonemobius allardi (Alexander and Thomas)
    b. Dorsal surface of head and pronotum with indistinct to moderately distinct longitudinal stripes


One Michigan species of mole crickets - Neocurtilla hexadactyla hexadactyla - is associated with sandy and muddy soils along ponds, streams, and marshes. This species is differentiated from other mole crickets by having the front tibiae with 4 spiny dactyls (claws), and the hind tibiae without spines on distal half of inner face, apex with 8 spines.

TRIDACTYLIDAE (Pygmy Mole Grasshoppers)


    a. Body usually > 5.5 mm

    Neotridactylus apicialis (Say)
    b. Prosternum with conical process
    c. Tarsus of hind leg similar in length to long pair of apical spurs on hind tibiae
    1b a. Body usually <5.5 mm 2
    b. Prosternum without conical process
    c. Tarsus of hind leg vestigial or absent
    2a(1b) Antennae of male 11-segmented, female 12-segmented
    Ellipes gurneyi Günther
    2b Antennae of male and female 10-segmented Ellipes minutus Scudder


    1a a. Dorsum of head broadly rounding into face in profile or, if slightly rounded, then tegmina are distinctly leaflike Amblycorypha oblongifolia
    also: Overall coloration green; tegmina leaf-like but oblong-oval and well-developed, 3x or more as long as greatest width, and much longer than pronotum; 6 to 12 teeth on inner edge of hind femora; fore and middle tibiae flat or grooved dorsally; ovipositor long, gradually curved, apex rounded, large teeth at and below apex; costal area without extensive cross-veins; wing and body outline relatively narrow in dorsal view; prosternal spines absent
    1b Dorsum of head flatly rounded into face or angulate in profile 2

    Dorsum of head approximating a right angle with face in profile

    Scudderia texensis
    also: Dorsolateral margin of tegmina unstriped; males: supra-anal plate not broadly triangular, apex with notch very broad, with median rounded projection, outer lobes tapering to narrow point and appearing laterally compressed with elongate curved median process that is notched or forked at apex; female: Ovipositor bent abruptly upward, < 1.5 times as long as pronotum; ovipositor broader at base than at middle; tegmina 5-5.5x as long as greatest width
    2b Dorsum of head forming an acute angle with face in profile 3
    3a(2b) Vertex of head extended into a cone (fastigium) of various shapes beyond
    basal antennal
    Neoconocephalus lyristes
    also: Cone distinctly longer than wide, narrowing from base to apex; underside of cone mostly or entirely black; sides of cone straight or slightly concave, cone narrowly rounded apically; tegmina 4.2 to 4.7 times longer than greatest width; ovipositor does not extend beyond tegmina
    3b Vertex of head not extended into a cone beyond basal antennal segment 4
    4a(3b) a. Body small and slender, usually < 17mm long excluding ovipositor 5
    b.Tegmina usually not surpassing end of abdomen, if surpassed, then hind wings extend beyond tegmina
    c. Spines between base of front legs very short or absent
    d. Ovipositor nearly straight
    4b a. Body robust, usually > 17mm long 8
    b. Tegmina surpassing both abdomen and hind wings
    c. Spines between base of front legs long, cylindrical
    d. Ovipositor usually curved upwards
    5a(4a) Sides of abdomen shining black or brownish black
    Conocephalus nigropleurum
    also: Male's cerci swollen near base of smooth tooth, apex of cerci slightly concave
    5b Sides of abdomen green or brownish 6
    6a(5b) a. Lower outer edge of hind femora with 1 to 5 small spines Conocephalus attenuatus
    b. Tooth of male's cerci near base of cerci short, narrow
    c. Ovipositor about twice body length
    6b a. Lower outer edge of hind femora without small spines 7
    b. Tooth of male's cerci not near base of cerci, relatively long, and broad or narrow
    c. Ovipositor less than twice body length
    7a(6b) Hindwings and tegmina surpassing end of abdomen; male's cerci with stout tooth Conocephalus fasciatus
    7b Tegmina and wings not surpassing end of abdomen Conocephalus brevipennis brevipennis (Scudder)
    also: Paired prosternal spines present; more than 1 pair of apical spurs on hind tibiae; tooth of male's cerci not beyond middle of cerci; male's cerci beyond (distal to) tooth with inner (dorsolateral) surface concave in cross-section; female's ovipositor £body length, upper margin of ovipositor nearly straight
    8a(4b) Hind tibiae blackish
    Orchelimum nigripes Scudder
    8b Hind tibiae not blackish 9
    9a(8b) Male's cerci with portion beyond (distal to) tooth equal to or shorter than basal portion
    Orchelimum gladiator Bruner
    also: Posterior lateral sinus of pronotal lobes poorly developed; tooth of male's cercus slender, > 1/2 length of cercus
    9b Male's cerci with portion beyond tooth longer than basal portion 10
    10a(9b) a. Lateroventral margin of distal half of hind femora with 3 to 4 spines
    Orchelimum volantum McNeill
    b. Male's cerci pointed apically
    10b a. Lateroventral margin of distal half of hind femora without spines 11
    b. Male's cerci bluntly rounded apically


    11b Females 13
    12(11b) Face with median red-brown stripe Orchelimum concinnumScudder
    12b Face without median red-brown stripe (may be finely dotted Orchelimum campestre Blatchley
    13a(11b) Ovipositor 1/2-2/3 length of hind femur
    Orchelimum gladiator Bruner
    13b Ovipositor <1/2 length of hind femur 14
    14a(13b) Face with median red-brown stripe
    Orchelimum concinnum Scudder
    14b Face without median red-brown stripe (may be finely dotted) Orchelimum campestre Blatchley

Bland RG. 2003. The Orthoptera of Michigan : biology, keys, and descriptions of grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets. Michigan State University Extension: East Lansing, Michigan. 220 p.