… is a species of locust (swarming grasshopper species). Plagues of desert locusts have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. The livelihood of at least one-tenth of the world’s human population can be affected by this voracious insect. The desert locust is potentially the most dangerous of the locust pests because of the ability of swarms to fly rapidly across great distances. It has two to five generations per year.
The last major desert locust upsurge in 2004–05 caused significant crop losses in West Africa and had a negative impact on food security in the region. While the desert locust alone is not responsible for famines, it can be an important contributing factor.
The desert locust lives a solitary life until it rains. Rain causes vegetation growth and allows the female to lay eggs in the sandy soil. The new vegetation provides food for the newly hatched locusts and provides them with shelter as they develop into winged adults…
A Senegalese boy watches locusts swarm in Mbour village, northern Senegal, in 2004.
by Mary Bates
Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) are usually shy and solitary insects that live in dry regions from North Africa to India. But when conditions force them into close proximity, they make a remarkable transformation.
In this so-called gregarious phase, locusts turn from tan and green to black and yellow. They become aggressive, seeking out other locusts and coming together in a ravenous swarm. Locust swarms can contain a billion or more individuals that consume their own body weight daily. Large swarms can stretch for dozens of miles and strip entire fields of vegetation in minutes.
One of the worst locust swarms in modern times took place in 2004, when the insects swept across all of northern Africa, from Mauritania to Egypt, and eventually reached as far east as Israel and as far north as Portugal.
The Giant Leaf Katydid is China’s largest Orthopteran. It is nocturnal and feeds on Ficus bark and leaves. This is an advanced wingless juvenile but already with a body length (excluding antennae and limbs) of 6cm.
A. cinerea is a species in the silent slanted-face grasshopper subfamily (Acridinae). The 40+ species in genus Acrida lack stridulatory organs on their legs, hence they are “silent.” Acrida species are omnivorous; many are pests of agricultural crops including sorghum, wheat, rice, cotton, weed, sweet potato, sugar cane and Chinese cabbage.
A. cinerea, is found throughout China, Japan, South East Asia and Indonesia. It grows to 2-3 inches long, has a green or brown body, colorless hind wings and long legs that support long jumps and sustained flight. Historically it has been used as a human food source, recent studies have examined its nutritional value as a potential high quality and easy to rear oil source for the poultry industry…