T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Grasshopper (New Zealand) Phaulacridium marginale

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Family: Acrididae
Genus: Phaulacridium
Species: P. marginale
Binomial name: Phaulacridium marginale
Common names: NZ Grasshopper,  Lowland short-horned grasshopper

Phaulacridium marginale is a native New Zealand grasshopper found in low altitudes throughout the North Island, the South Island, Stewart Island and on many smaller islands. It is rarely found above 900m. They feed on grass and they are well camouflaged and are coloured to match background vegetation.
The wings on P. marginale are micropterous (small wings) between 1–3 millimetres making this species flightless like most of New Zealand grasshoppers. However, fully winged adults (89% adults female and 11% adults male are extremely rare and can be found throughout New Zealand. The obvious benefits of having macropterous wings is to increase survivability by escaping adverse local conditions, colonizing new areas and a more effective way to escape predators. It is not clear what causes the micropterous P. marginale to produce fully develop wings in New Zealand. A possible trigger for this could be if individuals are put under a large amount of stress from harmful local conditions during its final instar. Male body length 10–15 millimetres, Female body length 20–30 millimetres.