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Are high population densities the cause of macropterism in the meadow grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus; Caelifera Acrididae? Sind hohe Populationsdichten die Ursache der Makropterie beim Gemeinen Grashuepfer Chorthippus parallelus; Caelifera Acrididae?



Are high population densities the cause of macropterism in the meadow grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus; Caelifera Acrididae? Sind hohe Populationsdichten die Ursache der Makropterie beim Gemeinen Grashuepfer Chorthippus parallelus; Caelifera Acrididae?



Articulata 191: 91-102



Macroptery in normally short-winged grasshopper species has often been re-ported in the meadow grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus). A moist and cool microclimate and high population densities have been mentioned as causes of macropterism. Macropterous individuals are able to fly, but the fecundity is reduced. In the "Medebacher Bucht" (South Westphalia/North Hesse) and the "Maerkische Schweiz" (East Brandenburg) a total of 97 patches of semi-dry grass-land and pastureland and five transects along a moisture-gradient were investigated for macropterous specimens of C. parallelus. The population density was determined with three and five series of biocoenometer captures, respectively. Data on vegetation and habitat structure were gathered on each site. Macropterous individuals of C. parallelus occurred on five sites and one adjacent transect only, with percentages ranging from 2.0 to 11.8%. In both study areas macropterous specimens of C. parallelus were found only on the sites with the highest population densities: The maximum density of C. parallelus on these sites was 2.6-5.4 nymphs/m2 and 2.3-5.3 adults/m2. The populations containing macropterous individuals reached average densities three to fifteen times higher than that of populations containing only normally winged individuals. Often a relation between macropterism and moist conditions and low temperatures has been suggested. This view is contradicted by the present study. In both study areas macropterous specimens occurred only on thermally favoured sites, which were not intensively used, factors that support high grasshopper density. This study indicates that macropterism in C. parallelus is caused by high population density.

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