In environmental circles, Florida is less famous for tourism than for its distinctive ecosystems and wildlife. On the state’s peninsula, dotted amid the sandhills and scrub lands, you’ll find this rare grasshopper. With very short wings, this species cannot fly—although many grasshoppers can. Instead, it walks or uses its strong back legs to leap through tawny grasses in the sandy soil.

Perhaps only about 15 percent of the Florida scrub lands remain intact, so for this and other closely related Melanoplus grasshoppers, habitat loss and fragmentation are a major threat. But there are bright spots, including a national wildlife refuge protecting portions of scrub land and sandhill habitats. The state is also creating an ambitious wildlife corridor to link its protected public lands to one another. If completed, the corridor will connect many millions of acres, providing an invaluable buffer and a byway for wild animals—including insects.

Florida least spurthroated grasshopper
Melanoplus puer
0.4–0.7 inches (11–18 mm)
Vulnerable (natureserve)
Ecological Role
AMNH Specimen Number
AMNH_IZC 00321202
Florida, U.S.