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Short-horned grasshopper subfamilies feed at different rates on big bluestem and switchgrass cultivars

Ullah, Muhammad Irfan, Mustafa, Fatima, Hoback, William W., Brust, Mathew L., Farnsworth-Hoback, Kerri M., Foster, John E.
Biologia 2016 v.70 no.12 pp. 1631-1636
Andropogon gerardii, Melanoplus differentialis, Melanoplus femurrubrum, Panicum virgatum, biofuels, cultivars, feeding preferences, fuel production, grasses, grasshoppers, leaves, pests, planting
Grasshopper species belonging to subfamilies Melanoplinae, Gomphocerinae and Oedipodinae were tested for their feeding rate on three types of grass. All grasshopper species were offered Shawnee and Kanlow cultivars of switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L. and big bluestem, Andropogon gerardii Vitman. The grasshoppers, Melanoplus femurrubrum and Melanoplus differentialis were also tested for their feeding on turgid or wilted leaves of the Shawnee cultivar of switchgrass. We found that M. differentialis consumed more switchgrass compared to big bluestem while M. femurrubrum and Arphia xanthoptera consumed the most Shawnee switchgrass. The M. differentialis consumed more turgid grass compared to wilted switchgrass. The feeding performances show differences among grasshopper species even in the same subfamily and suggest that Melanoplinae grasshoppers may become destructive pests of switchgrass planted for biofuel production.