Desert locusts are short-horned grasshoppers that have been around for centuries. This insect makes appearances in notable literary and religious works, including the Bible.
While desert locusts are part of the grasshopper family, they differ from other species in the way they live. While grasshoppers are generally solitary, desert locusts can transform into gregarious swarms.
- A desert locust's life cycle consists of three stages: the egg, nymph, and winged adult.
- Solitary desert locusts are usually green in color. They change to a yellow spotted color when they swarm.
- It takes anywhere between two to four weeks to fully mature. The males mature first and produce chemical compounds to stimulate maturity in the females.
- The female locust can lay 100 eggs at a go. She looks for soft, moist soil to deposit her clutch of eggs.
- Desert Locusts live primarily in the dry areas of North Africa, Arabia and Southwest Asia. During high population years, desert locusts also extend into parts of Spain, Italy and India.
- To grow, the nymph needs to molt a few times, eventually developing floppy wings that harden thanks to hemolymph.
- A locust swarm can include up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer. These swarms can fly up to 93 miles in one day and cause catastrophic damage to crops.
- Swarming locusts produce serotonin, which causes them to become mutually attracted.
- Desert locusts caused great chaos in Africa, Asia and the Middle East from 1966 to 1969. During those three years, locust populations grew from 2 to 30 million.
- In the wild desert, wasps, birds, reptiles, and flies prey on locusts.
Glad they arent here in the Americas! Such large swarms and can cover so much territory and do such damage!! EEK!