Long-Term Core Site Grasshopper Dynamics for the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (1992-2013)



Grasshoppers are important animals in semi-arid environments, both as herbivores and as food resources for higher level consumer animals. Grasshoppers tend to be numerous and represented by many species in semi-arid environments, especially in desert grasslands. Grasshopper species range from environmental specialists, to environmental generalists. Grasshopper populations tend to change considerably from year to year, often in response to annual variation in rainfall and plant production. The purpose of this study was to monitor grasshopper species composition and abundance over a period of many years from black grama grassland, blue grama grassland, creosotebush shrubland, and pinyon/juniper woodland environments at the Sevilleta, in relation to seasonal and annual variation in precipitation and plant production. Data were collected for all individual species to provide information on community dynamics as well as population dynamics. The working research hypothesis for this study was that grasshopper populations in all environments will correlate positively to seasonal and annual variation in precipitation and plant production. Spring grasshopper populations will be especially high during El Nino years, and late summer populations especially high during La Nina years. This study was initiated in 1992, and is ongoing to the present time.

Data set ID: 


Date Range: 

Wednesday, September 2, 1992 to Thursday, May 28, 1998

Publication Date: 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016