Friday, December 30, 2011

A Deadly Grasshopper Fungus

Dead Carolina Grasshopper-3.jpg
Carolina Grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina)

We began to see the bodies of these big grasshoppers in the fields in August. They all were at the top of tall grass. At first, we thought they died of old age, but there were too many (about 10 during the month when we had never seen any at all). With some research and overhearing a conversation on VPR, we learned that they died from the fungus Entomophthora grylli, which causes them to climb to the highest point they can reach and hang on tight. It's a sad sight. We thought we had solved the mystery until we found evidence of another grasshopper killer (not Oscar the Kitten) . . . stay tuned.


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