One of the largest grasshoppers in North America at 32 to 58 mm in length and is a conspicuous species because of its size, colorful wings, and because it habitually flies over dirt roads and other bare ground. The spread wings of the males measures 75mm across while that of the females 80 to 102mm. They can be identified by their brownish-black wings with yellow margins and a ridge running down the back and because of its large size and rather lazy bobbing flight it is often mistaken for a butterfly. The tegmina are colored in shades of tan, brown or grey and match the general body color and have faint speckles.
Found near bare ground, roadsides, and fields.