Grasshopper (Sigaus piliferus) North Island alpine grasshopper
Species: S. piliferus
Scientific name: Sigaus piliferus
Common name: North Island alpine grasshopper
Sigaus piliferus is a North Island alpine grasshopper in the genus Sigaus.. It was first described by Hutton (1897). There are eight species with this genus. Sigaus piliferus is currently the only representative of this endemic grasshopper genus found in the North Island. The main locations for Sigaus piliferus are the Kaimanawa, Tararua, Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges, the mountains of the Central Plateau, and Mt Hikurangi (East Cape). It has never been found on Mt Taranaki.
Like most New Zealand grasshoppers it lives above the tree line and is routinely frozen under the winter’s snow. This allows multiple generations to be present at any one time and for species lives to span up to three years.
Sigaus piliferus are sexually dimorphic; females being larger than males at maturity and like all species of the endemic New Zealand genera they are flightless. They have no ears, no obvious egg laying spike, their antennae are short and they do not sing. To distinguish the genus Sigaus from other genera within the Acrididae family one has to examine the difference in the male’s internal genitalia. Colour variation exists within this species.
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