Return to the National Lakeshore

by Carl Strang

A couple weeks ago I went back to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, as usual seeking to add to the regional inventory of singing insects. I spent most of my time in the West Beach area.

Behind the beach is a beautiful sand prairie with plenty of blazing stars and showy goldenrods.

Behind the beach is a beautiful sand prairie with plenty of blazing stars and showy goldenrods.

The prairie hosted the same three species of band-winged grasshoppers as at the Memorial Forest in Marshall County, but their relative numbers were different. Carolina grasshoppers were present in small numbers, as at the Memorial Forest, but the other two species were reversed. The dominant one was the longhorn band-winged grasshopper.

They were colored a little differently at this site, but had the small size, bright red hind wings, and protruding head characteristic of the species.

They were colored a little differently at this site, but had the small size, bright red hind wings, and protruding head characteristic of the species.

The larger, yellow-winged species, the mottled sand grasshopper, was present in much smaller numbers.

Its colors were perhaps a little more smudged than at the Memorial Forest.

Its colors were perhaps a little more smudged than at the Memorial Forest.

Down on the beach beyond the vegetation, as is typical of the Lake Michigan shore in the Chicago region, the seaside grasshopper was common.

The camouflage of this species is truly impressive.

The camouflage of this species is truly impressive.

A final stop was the marsh where I have found rare meadow katydids in the past. I thought I heard a couple dusky-faced meadow katydids, but was unable to confirm them visually. I did find a grasshopper that, if my identification is correct, is a relatively uncommon one, living in marshes in a limited portion of northern Indiana, southern Michigan and northwestern Ohio.

Paroxya hoosieri, variously known as the Hoosier grasshopper or the Indiana swamp grasshopper, does not belong to either of the singing grasshopper subfamilies.

Paroxya hoosieri, variously known as the Hoosier grasshopper or the Indiana swamp grasshopper, does not belong to either of the singing grasshopper subfamilies.

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