Romalea guttata, known commonly as the “eastern lubber grasshopper” or just “lubber grasshopper,” is a grasshopper native to the southeastern and south central portion of the United States. Populations exist in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. It is the most distinctive grasshopper species within the southeastern United States, and is well known both for its size and its unique coloration. It can reach nearly 3 inches (8 cm) in size.
The Romalea guttata goes through several stages. When in the nymph stage, it is smaller than in the adult stage, wingless and completely black with one or more yellow, orange or red stripes. The Romalea guttata then enters its adult stage, in which they reach between 2½ to three inches (6.4 to 7.6 centimeters), grow wings half the length of their body and become either a dull yellow often characterized by black spots and markings, a bright orange with black markings or entirely black(as in the nymph stage) with yellow or red striping. In the black adult color phase, the grasshopper is widely known by the name “diablo” or “black diablo” in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The insect is also colloquially known as a “graveyard grasshopper.”
Photograph taken by Steven Pasternack.