Great Basin Naturalist


Low-density grasshopper populations were sampled at 15 pairs of rangeland sites in south central Idaho. One site of each pair had not been grazed by livestock for at least 10 years. Grazed sites were managed under normal grazing regimes established by the Bureau of Land Management.

Mean grasshopper density was higher on ungrazed sites than on grazed sites. Proportions of Melanoplus sanguinipes were higher on ungrazed sites than on grazed sites and were higher on annual grasslands than on other vegetation types. Effects of grazing appeared to be independent of vegetation type.

Proportions of Comhpocerinae, a subfamily of grasshoppers that feeds almost exclusively on grasses, were affected by vegetation type, but not grazing. Crested wheatgrass seedings supported the highest proportions of Gomphocerinae. Proportions of Oedipodinae were affected by grazing and vegetation type. Higher proportions of Oedipodinae were found on grazed sites than on ungrazed sites, and on sagebrush/grass sites than on annual grasslands. Results indicate that livestock grazing during drought conditions tends to reduce grasshopper populations in southern Idaho rangeland.