Date of this Version
Melanoplus packardii Scudder was described in 1897. Three additional closely-related species were later described and their status as species has been questioned on numerous occasions. We examined morphology from specimens collected in Nebraska which fit descriptions of three of the four forms and specimens that appeared to be hybrids. We found distinct morphological characters suggesting species status for M. foedus and M. packardii, but not for M. foedus fluviatilis. Examination of aedeagi of these three forms suggests that M. foedus and M. packardii are each distinct, but that the aedeagi of M. f. fluviatilis and M. f. foedus cannot be distinguished. Molecular analyses of the three groups did not produce clear separations and suggest gene exchange between these three forms may be ongoing. Together, these data suggest that M. foedus and M. packardii should be recognized as sibling species, but M. foedus fluviatilis is best considered a form of M. foedus, typically found in low lying areas.