Date of this Version
Creigh, A.; K. Mclarty; S. L. Gardner. (2018). "Factors Affecting the Parasitism of Gregarine Species in Grasshoppers In Western Nebraska." University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Honors Thesis Archive.
We conducted a survey of the species of parasites found in grasshoppers around the area of Dunwoody’s Pond to investigate whether there were any species specific parasitic relationships occurring there. We collected grasshoppers from several areas around Dunwoody’s Pond totaling 15 species including Melanoplus bivittatus (Say 1825) , Melanoplus sanguinipes (Fabricius, 1798) , Melanoplus differentialis (Thomas 1865), and Melanoplus femurrubrum (De Geer 1773), along with others (Seymour et al., 2009) and compared the parasites found in them. This study is similar to one conducted in South America by Lloyd in 1951, and we hoped to find connections between species to support or disprove cospeciation hypotheses (Page, 1993) and to determine if factors such as the developmental stage or the sex of the host insect affected the prevalence of parasites in the hosts. We had expected to find mites on the external shell of the grasshoppers and horsehair worms in the body cavities of the grasshoppers based off of our preliminary research and our literature search (Rees, 1973), (Hanelt et al., 1999). Our results indicate a distinct lack of species specific parasitism as well as a complete absence of any mites or horsehair worms. We found multiple species of gregarines including Amoebogregarina nigra Clopton, 1999, two unidentified species of gregarine and maggots, across several host species of grasshoppers. Analysis of this data supports a hypothesis of non-species-specific parasitism and indicates that two host factors (development stage and sex) are statistically insignificant to parasite prevalence in grasshoppers.