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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery bug in my uncle's house

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Question
Underside of bug
Underside of bug  

Bug in uncles hand
Bug in uncles hand  
This lovely bug flew into my uncle's house, I guess he found one the night before and set it free, the next day it, or a different one flew in. So my question is, what is it? We normally don't get bugs this big in Washington.

Answer
Michelle:

The images depict an insect that does not occur naturally in Washington state.  It is a giant grasshopper, Tropidacris cristata , or something closely allied in the genus Tropidacris .

These are insects of the New World tropics, so you won't find them naturally north of about central Mexico.

http://robertoelman.photoshelter.com/image/I00001owKbjSH.zU

Did your uncle recently import anything from Mexico, Central America, or South America?  That would be the most logical explanation.  Could also have come in on produce from a tropical country.

It might be helpful to try and trace its origins and then report it to the state department of agriculture.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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