Biological Control of the Grasshopper Hesperotettix viridis pratensis by the Nematode Mermis nigrescens


  • S. Mongkolkiti
  • R. M. Hosford, Jr.


Decline and disappearance of a natural population of the grasshopper Hesperotettix viridis pratensis was related to severe infection by Mermis nigrescens. In contrast the numbers of slightly infected Melanoplus bivittatus did not decrease. Uninfected M. sanguinipes, M. differentialis and M. fernur-rubrum also did not decrease. The high percentage of infection in H. viridis pratensis was related to low, wet habitat, where the grasshopper fed primarily on Solidago missouriensis; infected individuals failed to develop ovaries or mature testes. This is believed to be the first reported occurrence of a nematode parasitizing H. viridis pratensis. In juvenile M. nigrescens the unreported shape of the stoma, the stylet shape and paired oval structures in the cerebral region were photographed. Factors affecting biological control of grasshoppers by using M. nigrescens were discussed. Key Words: Melanoplus bivittatus, Melanoplus saaguinipes, Melanoplus differentialis, Melanoplus femurrubrum, Solidago missouriensis, Environmental factors, Anatomical changes, Anatomical features.