03 February 2011

Peakesia brunnea - Grey Peakesia

Click image to enlarge

Grey Peakesia - Peakesia brunnea

Peakesia brunnea is another grasshopper from the large and highly diverse Acrididae family. It is a robust looking insect with females over 3 cm (11/4”) in length (males are smaller) and noticeable by their rounded contours, particularly the head profile. It is recorded from the SW of WA and surprisingly also in the Eastern States from Canberra to the North of Sydney.

Around Esperance it is found in low growing open heath containing a variety of sedge species of which it seems to favour. Locally there is a similar looking species, the Mimetic Gumleaf Grasshopper, Goniaea opomaloides, but Peakesia brunnea is smaller and has distinctive red lower legs, also the paraglossae (the projection below the chin) is peg-like, whereas with G. opomaloides it is chisel shaped.

The Grey Peakesia is obviously a local species, so will be around from spring to autumn, but I have only encountered them during the summer months. This may be because the nymphs have then matured to adults and  less likely to be confused with other grasshopper young that are around during spring.