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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
For information on Wisconsin's rare invertebrates, contact:
Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Spotted-winged Grasshopper (Orphulella pelidna)

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Spotted-winged Grasshopper (Orphulella pelidna), a Special Concern species, occurrs in the western half of Wisconsin and can be found primarily on grasses in sandy uplands associated with ephemeral pools, freshwater marsh, or river terraces. This species is also known from dry prairies, and pastures. The spotted-winged grasshopper is a grass feeder and is active from July to early September.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Spotted-winged Grasshopper (Orphulella pelidna). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Orphulella pelidna in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2S3
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Identification: Small to medium pale grasshopper. Body color green or brown. Head with an obvious slant. Lateral pronotal carinae cut by two or three sulci. Wings extend beyond hind femora.

Similar Species: Orphulella speciosa is common. Lateral pronotal carinae cut only by one sulcus.

Habitat: Variable, dry prairie, old field, sandy uplands associated with wet areas. A species of Atlantic coastal marshes. Rangewide found in herbaceous wetland, riparian, woodland-mixed, grassland/herbaceous, and suburban/orchard.

State Distribution: Western half of state.

Global Distribution: Atlantic Coastal Plain to southern California with scattered sites in western river valleys and the northern Midwest.

Phenology: Adults in July and August.


No additional photos are available for Spotted-winged Grasshopper at this time. Please consider donating a photo to the Natural Heritage Conservation program.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Spotted-winged Grasshopper. Only natural communities for which Spotted-winged Grasshopper is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Spotted-winged Grasshopper. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Spotted-winged Grasshopper occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

Ecological LandscapeCommunity
Central Sand Hills Dry Prairie
Central Sand Hills Calcareous Fen
Central Sand Hills Southern Sedge Meadow
Central Sand Plains Northern Wet Forest
Central Sand Plains Northern Tamarack Swamp
Central Sand Plains Central Sands Pine - Oak Forest
Central Sand Plains Floodplain Forest
Central Sand Plains Southern Dry-mesic Forest
Central Sand Plains White Pine - Red Maple Swamp
Central Sand Plains Oak Barrens
Central Sand Plains Pine Barrens
Central Sand Plains Dry Prairie
Central Sand Plains Dry-mesic Prairie
Central Sand Plains Sand Prairie
Central Sand Plains Surrogate Grasslands
Central Sand Plains Alder Thicket
Central Sand Plains Central Poor Fen
Central Sand Plains Floating-leaved Marsh
Central Sand Plains Northern Sedge Meadow
Central Sand Plains Open Bog
Central Sand Plains Poor Fen
Central Sand Plains Shrub Carr
Central Sand Plains Southern Sedge Meadow
North Central Forest Ephemeral Pond
North Central Forest Northern Sedge Meadow
North Central Forest Open Bog
Northwest Sands Northern Dry Forest--mid seral
Northwest Sands Northern Dry Forest--late seral
Northwest Sands Northern Dry Forest--young seral
Northwest Sands Northern Dry Mesic--mid seral
Northwest Sands Northern Dry Mesic--late seral
Northwest Sands Northern Dry Mesic--young seral
Northwest Sands Northern Wet Forest
Northwest Sands Northern Tamarack Swamp
Northwest Sands Oak Barrens
Northwest Sands Pine Barrens
Northwest Sands Surrogate Grasslands
Northwest Sands Emergent Marsh
Northwest Sands Floating-leaved Marsh
Northwest Sands Northern Sedge Meadow
Northwest Sands Open Bog
Northwest Sands Poor Fen
Southeast Glacial Plains Dry Prairie
Southeast Glacial Plains Dry-mesic Prairie
Southeast Glacial Plains Bog Relict
Southeast Glacial Plains Calcareous Fen
Southeast Glacial Plains Ephemeral Pond
Southeast Glacial Plains Southern Sedge Meadow
Southwest Savanna Dry Prairie
Southwest Savanna Dry-mesic Prairie
Superior Coastal Plain Open Bog
Superior Coastal Plain Great Lakes Coastal Fen
Western Coulee and Ridges Floodplain Forest
Western Coulee and Ridges Pine Relict
Western Coulee and Ridges Southern Dry Forest
Western Coulee and Ridges Southern Dry-mesic Forest
Western Coulee and Ridges Southern Mesic Forest
Western Coulee and Ridges Oak Opening
Western Coulee and Ridges Oak Woodland
Western Coulee and Ridges Oak Barrens
Western Coulee and Ridges Sand Barrens
Western Coulee and Ridges Dry Prairie
Western Coulee and Ridges Dry-mesic Prairie
Western Coulee and Ridges Sand Prairie
Western Coulee and Ridges Surrogate Grasslands
Western Coulee and Ridges Emergent Marsh
Western Coulee and Ridges Northern Sedge Meadow
Western Coulee and Ridges Riverine Mud Flat
Western Coulee and Ridges Shrub Carr
Western Coulee and Ridges Southern Sedge Meadow
Western Prairie Dry Prairie

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, December 22, 2022