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The plains lubber grasshopper ranges widely on the western plains of the United States and Mexico. It inhabits several types of prairies: shortgrass, mixedgrass, tallgrass, sand, and desert prairies. In these diverse habitats it depends on the presence of certain forbs for its sustenance. It locates patches of host plants along roadsides, field margins, and disturbed rangeland. Patches of common sunflower, Helianthus annuus, are especially attractive to this grasshopper.
n its favored habitat, patches of common sunflower and certain other forbs, the plains lubber grasshopper behaves as a beneficial insect by providing some measure of biological control of weeds. However, large populations inhabiting roadsides and field margins have invaded gardens in Iowa and cotton fields in western Oklahoma and the western plains of Texas. The plains lubber grasshopper can be extremely damaging to young cotton plants; outbreak numbers of adults have completely destroyed stands. They consume all of the foliage and leave only the stems. More often the damage has been limited to 40 or 50 marginal rows. Populations of one adult per 3 feet of row in cotton or two per square yard in vegetation bordering the field are capable of causing economic damage.