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Tetrix species
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Caelifera
Superfamily: Tetrigoidea
Family: Tetrigidae
Rambur, 1838

Tetrigidae[1] is an ancient family in the order Orthoptera,[2] which also includes similar families such as crickets, grasshoppers, and their allies. Species within the Tetrigidae are variously called groundhoppers,[3] pygmy grasshoppers,[4] pygmy devils[5] or (mostly historical) "grouse locusts".[6]

Diagnostic characteristics[edit]

A typical Tetrigid species that commonly inhabits arid banks of water bodies in Southern Africa. Lateral aspect, showing how the pronotum covers the hind-wings. The vestigial tegmen is visible just above the anterior coxa.
Tetrigidae Dorsal aspect. The same specimen from above. In both pictures note the unusually heavy structure of the posterior femur, and the correspondingly massive pulley-like femoro-tibial joint, similar to the anatomy of the Tridactylidae.

Tetrigidae are typically less than 20 mm in length and are recognizable by a long pronotum. This pronotum extends over the length of the abdomen, sometimes to the tip of the wings, and ends in a point.[4] In other Orthoptera, the pronotum is short and covers neither the abdomen nor the wings. Tetrigidae are generally cryptic in coloration.[7] Some species have enlarged pronota that mimic leaves, stones or twigs.[8][9] Other characteristics pygmy grasshoppers exhibit in comparison to other Orthoptera families are the lack of an arolium between the claws, the first thoracic sternite being modified into collar-like structure called sternomentum, a tarsal formula of 2-2-3, scaly fore -wings, and developed hindwings.[10]

General biology[edit]

In temperate regions, Tetrigidae are generally found along streams and ponds, where they feed on algae and diatoms.[11] The North American species Paratettix aztecus and Paratettix mexicanus, for example, depend on aquatic primary production for between 80% and 100% of their diet.[12] Riparian species are capable of swimming on the surface of the water, and readily leap into the water when alarmed[9] Some species in the tribe Scelimenini are fully aquatic and capable of swimming underwater.[10][11]

The highest biodiversity of Tetrigidae is found in tropical forests.[10] Some tropical species are arboreal and live among mosses and lichens in tree buttresses or in the canopy,[11] while others live on the forest floor.[7]

Like other Orthoptera, Tetrigidae have a hemimetabolous development, in which eggs hatch into nymphs. Unlike other temperate Orthoptera, however, temperate Tetrigidae generally overwinter as adults.[4]

Some subfamilies within the Tetrigidae, such as the Batrachideinae, are sometimes elevated to family rank besides the Tetrigidae.

Arulenus miae is a pygmy grasshopper species from the tropical mountainous rainforests of the Philippines. The species was firstly discovered in Facebook post.[5]

Paratettix aztecus eating algae


Origin of the name of the family is not completely clear as there are different sources on its etymology. The name may be derived from Latin tetricus or taetricus, meaning harsh, sour, severe.[13] The name may also originate from the earlier name 'Tettigidae', based on Tettix (synonym of Tetrix), which was preoccupied by Tettigidae (synonym of Cicadidae).[14] Because of the preoccupation by the cicadas' family name, the second 't' in 'tt' was changed into 'r', resulting in the word Tetrigidae.

Subfamilies and Genera[edit]

Approximately 2,000 species have been described; according to the Orthoptera Species File[15] the following genera are included:

Subfamily Batrachideinae[edit]

Saussurella cornuta

Auth.: Bolívar, 1887; selected genera:

Subfamily Cladonotinae[edit]

Potua morbillosa (Borneo)

Auth.: Bolívar, 1887; selected genera:

Tribe Cladonotini Bolívar, 1887[16]

Tribe Choriphyllini Cadena-Castañeda & Silva, 2019[17]

  1. Choriphyllum Serville, 1838
  2. Phyllotettix Hancock, 1902

Tribe Valalyllini Deranja, Kasalo, Adžić, Franjević & Skejo, 2022[18]

  1. Lepocranus Devriese, 1991
  2. Valalyllum Deranja, Kasalo, Adžić, Franjević & Skejo, 2022

Tribe Xerophyllini Günther, 1979 SE Asia - selected genera:

Tribe Unassigned

Subfamily Lophotettiginae[edit]

Auth.: Hancock, 1909

Subfamily Metrodorinae[edit]

Auth.: Bolívar, 1887; selected genera:

Holocerus taurus (with red mites, Madagascar)

Tribe Amorphopini Günther, 1939

Tribe Cleostratini Hancock, 1907

Rostella phyllocera (Borneo)

Tribe Clinophaestini Storozhenko, 2013

Tribe Miriatrini Cadena-Castañeda & Cardona, 2015 (monotypic)

Tribe Ophiotettigini Tumbrinck & Skejo, 2017

Tribe Unassigned

Subfamily Scelimeninae[edit]

Discotettix belzebuth (Scelimeninae)

Auth.: Hancock, 1907 Tribe Scelimenini Hancock, 1907; selected genera:

incertae sedis

Subfamily Tetriginae[edit]

Paratettix sp.

Auth.: Serville, 1838

Tribe Dinotettigini Günther, 1979

Tribe Tetrigini Serville, 1838

Tribe unassigned:

Subfamily Tripetalocerinae[edit]

Auth.: Bolívar, 1887

Tripetalocera ferruginea

Tripetalocerinae was originally described by Bolívar in 1887[19] to gather all the Tetrigidae genera of the old world with widened antennae (e.g. Arulenus, Discotettix, Hirrius, Ophiotettix, Tripetalocera). This subfamily today includes only two species in two genera - Tripetalocera (with one species) from India and Borneo and Tripetaloceroides (with one species) from Vietnam and PR China. Members of the subfamily are characteristic within Tetrigidae by massive antennae built up of only eight segments (other Tetrigidae have usually 11-16, Batrachideinae 18-22).[20] Till recently,[20] the subfamily included two tribes - Tripetalocerini and Clinophaestini (including Clinophaestus and Birmana), but the later was moved to the subfamily Metrodorinae due to similarity to Ophiotettigini.[21]

Subfamily unassigned[edit]


Auth. Kevan, 1966


Auth. Kevan, 1966

Subfamily and tribe unassigned[edit]


  1. ^ Rambur (1838) Faune entomologique de l'Andalousie 2:64
  2. ^ Song, Hojun; Amédégnato, Christiane; Cigliano, Maria Marta; Desutter-Grandcolas, Laure; Heads, Sam W.; Huang, Yuan; Otte, Daniel; Whiting, Michael F. (2015-03-09). "300 million years of diversification: elucidating the patterns of orthopteran evolution based on comprehensive taxon and gene sampling". Cladistics. 31 (6): 621–651. doi:10.1111/cla.12116. hdl:11336/10677. ISSN 0748-3007. PMID 34753270. S2CID 53702892.
  3. ^ Ragge DR (1965). Grasshoppers, Crickets & Cockroaches of the British Isles. F Warne & Co, London. p. 299.
  4. ^ a b c Borror DJ, Tripplehorn CA, Johnson NF (1989) An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 6th edition. Harcourt Brace College Publishers. New York. pg 213
  5. ^ a b Skejo, Josip; Caballero, Joy Honezza S. (2016-01-21). "A hidden pygmy devil from the Philippines: Arulenus miae sp. nov. — a new species serendipitously discovered in an amateur Facebook post (Tetrigidae: Discotettiginae)". Zootaxa. 4067 (3): 393. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4067.3.7. ISSN 1175-5334. PMID 27395882.
  6. ^ Imms AD, rev. Richards OW & Davies RG (1970) A General Textbook of Entomology 9th Ed. Methuen 886 pp.
  7. ^ a b Grimaldi D, Engel MS (2005) Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. pg 211
  8. ^ Skejo, Josip (2017). Taxonomic revision of the pygmy devils (Tetrigidae: Discotettiginae) with online social media as a new tool for discovering hidden diversity. Zagreb: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology. pp. 1–246.
  9. ^ a b Preston-Mafham K (1990) Grasshoppers and Mantids of the World. Facts of File, New York. pg 32
  10. ^ a b c Muhammad, Amira Aqilah; Tan, Ming Kai; Abdullah, Nurul Ashikin; Azirun, Mohammad Sofian; Bhaskar, Dhaneesh; Skejo, Josip (2018-09-25). "An annotated catalogue of the pygmy grasshoppers of the tribe Scelimenini Bolívar, 1887 (Orthoptera: Tetrigidae) with two new Scelimena species from the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra". Zootaxa. 4485 (1): 1–70. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4485.1.1. ISSN 1175-5334. PMID 30313773. S2CID 52975589.
  11. ^ a b c Resh VH, Cardé RT (2003) Encyclopedia of Insects. Academic Press, Amsterdam, pg 839
  12. ^ Bastow, J. L.; Sabo, J. L.; Finlay, J. C.; Power, M. E. (2002). "A basal aquatic-terrestrial trophic link in rivers: algal subsidies via shore-dwelling grasshoppers". Oecologia. 131 (2): 261–268. Bibcode:2002Oecol.131..261B. doi:10.1007/s00442-002-0879-7. PMID 28547694.
  13. ^ "Family Tetrigidae - Pygmy Grasshoppers".
  14. ^ Buckton, George Bowdler (1890). Monograph of the British Cicadae or Tettigidae. London: Macmillan & Co.
  15. ^ Orthoptera Species File (Version 5.0/5.0, retrieved 26 November 2018: checking incomplete)
  16. ^ Bhaskar, Dhaneesh; Stermšek, Sara; Easa, P. S.; Franjević, Damjan; Skejo, Josip (2020-12-10). "Wide-nosed pygmy grasshoppers (Cladonotinae: Cladonotini, Xerophyllini) of India and Sri Lanka: catalogue with an identification key and description of a new species of the genus Tettilobus". Zootaxa. 4894 (3): 474–500. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4894.3.12. ISSN 1175-5334. PMID 33311079. S2CID 229173782.
  17. ^ Silva, Daniela Santos Martins; Cadena-Castañeda, Oscar J.; Pereira, Marcelo Ribeiro; De Domenico, Fernando Campos; Sperber, Carlos Frankl (2019-10-16). "Review of Lophotettix, the sole member of the subfamily Lophotettiginae Hancock, 1909 (Insecta: Orthoptera: Caelifera: Tetrigidae)". Zootaxa. 4686 (3): 346–360. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4686.3.2. ISSN 1175-5334. PMID 31719477. S2CID 207937067.
  18. ^ Deranja, Maks; Kasalo, Niko; Adžić, Karmela; Franjević, Damjan; Skejo, Josip (2022-07-01). "Lepocranus and Valalyllum gen. nov. (Orthoptera, Tetrigidae, Cladonotinae), endangered Malagasy dead-leaf-like grasshoppers". ZooKeys (1109): 1–15. Bibcode:2022ZooK.1109....1D. doi:10.3897/zookeys.1109.85565. ISSN 1313-2970. PMC 9848646. PMID 36762343.
  19. ^ Bolívar & Urrutia, Ignacio (1887). Essai sur les acridiens de la tribu des Tettigidae. Imprimerie C. Annoot-Braeckman. OCLC 42198873.
  20. ^ a b Storozhenko, Sergey Yu. (2013-10-03). "Review of the subfamily Tripetalocerinae Bolívar, 1887 (Orthoptera: Tetrigidae)". Zootaxa. 3718 (2): 158–170. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3718.2.4. ISSN 1175-5334. PMID 26258216.
  21. ^ Tumbrinck, Josef; Skejo, Josip (2017). "Taxonomic and biogeographic revision of the New Guinean genus Ophiotettix Walker, 1871 (Tetrigidae: Metrodorinae: Ophiotettigini trib. nov.), with the descriptions of 33 new species" (PDF). Biodiversity, Biogeography and Nature Conservation in Wallacea and New Guinea. Riga: Entomological Society of Latvia. pp. 525–580, figures 104–124.

External links[edit]