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Tetrix species
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Caelifera
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, that 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 lack of arolium between the clows, first thoracic sternite modified into collar-like structure called sternomentum, tarsal formula 2-2-3, scaly fore wings, and developed hind wings[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


The name may be derived from Latin tetricus or taetricus, meaning harsh, sour, severe.[13]

Subfamilies and Genera[edit]

Approximately 1,900 species have been described; according to the Orthoptera Species File[14] the following genera are included:

Subfamily Batrachideinae[edit]

Auth.: Bolívar, 1887

Saussurella cornuta

Subfamily Cladonotinae[edit]

Auth.: Bolívar, 1887

Potua morbillosa (Borneo)

Subfamily Discotettiginae[edit]

Auth.: Hancock, 1907

Discotettix belzebuth

Tribe Discotettigini Hancock, 1907

Tribe unassigned

Subfamily Lophotettiginae[edit]

Auth.: Hancock, 1909

Subfamily Metrodorinae[edit]

Auth.: Bolívar, 1887

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

Tribe Ophiotettigini Tumbrinck & Skejo, 2017

Tribe Unassigned

Subfamily Scelimeninae[edit]

Auth.: Hancock, 1907

Tribe Criotettigini Kevan, 1966

Tribe Scelimenini Hancock, 1907

Tribe Thoradontini Kevan, 1966

Tribe unassigned:

Subfamily Tetriginae[edit]

Auth.: Serville, 1838

Tribe Dinotettigini Günther, 1979

Tribe Tetrigini Serville, 1838

Paratettix sp.

Tribe unassigned:

Subfamily Tripetalocerinae[edit]

Auth.: Bolívar, 1887

Tripetalocera ferruginea

Tripetalocerinae was originally described by Bolívar in 1887[15] 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 fwo 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)[16]. Till recently[16], 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[17].

Subfamily unassigned[edit]

Tribe Xerophyllini Günther, 1979

Subfamily and tribe unassigned:


  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. ISSN 0748-3007.
  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.
  11. ^ a b c Resh VH, Cardé RT (2003) Encyclopedia of Insects. Academic Press, Amsterdam, pg 839
  12. ^ Bastow JL, Sabo JL, Finlay JC, Power ME (2002) A basal aquatic-terrestrial trophic link in rivers: algal subsidies via shore-dwelling grasshoppers. Oecologia 131: 261–268
  13. ^ "Family Tetrigidae - Pygmy Grasshoppers".
  14. ^ Orthoptera Species File ((Version 5.0/5.0, retrieved 26 November 2018: checking incomplete)
  15. ^ 1850-1944., Bolívar y Urrutia, Ignacio (1887). Essai sur les acridiens de la tribu des Tettigidae. Imprimerie C. Annoot-Braeckman. OCLC 42198873.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Tumbrinck, J. & Skejo, J. (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, Entomological Society of Latvia. 3: 525–580, figures 104–124.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]