Migratory Locust

Locusta migratoria

Family: Acrididae

Order: Orthoptera

Description:

Brown.

Body - 6cm long 1.5cm wide.

End section of leg (Tarsi) has 3 segments.

Antennae less than half the length of the body.

Sings or make clicking sounds and stops when approached.

Has wings and flies.

Chewing mouthparts.

Strong rear legs for jumping.

Front segment of thorax has a strong shield (pronotum).

Abdomen has 11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8.

Antennae have 7 or more segments.

Biology:

Life Cycle:

Hatches from an egg to become a nymph (or miniature adult). Has several moults before reaching it final size in several weeks. It may have two or more generations per year which results in the quick production of plague numbers. Occurs mainly in coastal and subtropical regions.

Habitats:

Origin and History:

Distribution:

Significance:

This is the locust of biblical fame. Fortunately, it is not as destructive in Australia. Migratory locusts may build up to large numbers after drought breaking rains in the semi arid grasslands. Individuals may migrate at night to form dense swarms or they may develop from nymphs from dense egg beds. These swarms or bands then move by day devouring crops and pastures in there path. Swarms of migratory locust less frequent than the Australian plague locusts but cause high economic losses when they attack the summer cropping areas of eastern Australia. Only one plague has been recorded (1973 to 1976) in eastern Australia.

Management and Control:

In most years control is not economical. When plagues occur concerted campaigns are mounted involving spraying of egg beds and swarms or bands. Research into biological control is being conducted by the CSIRO.

Related Species:

Grass hoppers, crickets and sandgropers.

Similar Species:

References:

CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991).

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.