The redlegged grasshopper, Melanoplus femurrubrum, ranges over most of North America except for high mountain altitudes and the frigid north. It is the most widely distributed species of the major crop grasshoppers. Adults of the redlegged grasshopper are medium size and have a bright yellow underside and bright red hind tibia. Rarely, the hind tibia is colored yellowish-green or blue. The bulbous subgenital plate and the shape of the cercus are diagnostic characters of the male. The nymphs are strikingly marked yellow and black. They are identifiable from their spots and color patterns. During outbreaks of the species, it may severely damage alfalfa, clover, soybeans, and small grains. The redlegged grasshopper has strong powers of flight that allow the adults to disperse and find new habitats. In years of drought, the adults develop longer wings, fly more, and make lengthy flights often in company with the migratory grasshopper. The flight of flushed individuals is swift, even, and 3 or 4 feet above the vegetation. The insects generally fly distances of 30 to 40 feet.
Meadows, grasslands, crop borders, & roadsides.