This key was developed to aid in the identification of rangeland grasshoppers. Basic knowledge of grasshopper features and terminology is helpful using this key. A glossary with illustrations has been included as a reference.
The key consists of four adjustable panes. The left two panes relate to characters and character states (features and states) and the right two panes to the grasshopper species (entities) available in this key.
The top left pane lists the available features and their character states, which can be selected during the identification process. This listing is reduced when character states are selected. The species remaining are displayed in the pane to the top right.
The bottom left pane displays the feature states that have been selected, and the discarded entities are displayed in the pane to the bottom right.
The key contains a list of grasshoppers, their features and associated character states. The process of identifiying a grasshopper is done by making character state selections, thus removing grasshoppers from that list that do not match the combination of character states selected. This process of selecting character states continues until the grasshopper (entities) list is reduced to a short list of possibilities, and in most cases, down to a single grasshopper.
Most character states are accompanied by an illustration. Click on the illustration's thumbnail to see an enlarged version. To select a state, click in the checkbox to the left of the state text.
Start by selecting character states in any order you wish. If you're not sure about a particular character, then try selecting a different feature that you're more confident about. You are not required to select character states in any particular order. Continue the selection process until the list of remaining taxa in the bottom right pane is reduced as much as possible. The goal is to reduce this list to a single taxa without guessing character states.
If you select the wrong character state by mistake, just remove it by unchecking.
Depending on your experience with grasshoppers, you might not be able to confidently select enough character states to reduce the list of remaining taxa to a single species. If this happens, you can use the attached fact sheets and images to continue and complete the identification process.
During the identification process, it is possible to end up with an empty list of taxa remaining for the combination of character state selected. When this happens, one of the following situations has occurred:
For additional tips on using Lucid keys, see these Best Practices.