Locust insect

Locust insect. Description, features, lifestyle and locust habitat

Locust considered not a very distant cousin of pretty grasshoppers. However, the damage caused by their accumulated clusters is enormous in scale. Bare orchards, gnawed at the root of the field of grain crops, devastated plantations — the final result after visiting their gluttonous herd.

Description and Features

Nature awarded locusts with an elongated body and six limbs, of which two pairs — short and weak, one (back) — stronger and much longer. In some cases, there are specimens whose «growth» approaches 15 cm.

This subspecies has a large head with clearly visible eyes. One pair of solid elites covers 2 transparent wings that are practically invisible when folded. Locust applies to the long-standing order of Orthoptera, of which there are presumably more than twenty thousand species.

Coloring is usually not related to heredity, only the conditions in which the individual lives and the stage of its formation affect the color. Instances originating from the same litter will be colored differently if they grow up under different conditions.

The formation stage has a direct impact on how the insect looks — loners are painted in camouflage shades (green-yellow or hazel), which are influenced by the region of residence. When the pack is formed, everyone acquires color, exactly the same as everyone else. The gender distinction is already disappearing at this time.

The speed with which the flock moves reaches 120 km per day. Locust in the photo looks like a grasshopper familiar to every child. In order not to make a mistake and not miss the appearance of a formidable dirty trickster, you should pay attention to the following characteristic features:

  • grasshopper and grasshopper recognized primarily by the size of the antennae. The grasshopper’s whiskers are not much larger than his own size, the locusts have short mustaches, they are no more than his head;
  • locusts have less developed forelimbs than grasshoppers;
  • grasshoppers love the cool of the night and begin to activate in the evening, and the locusts are active in the daytime;
  • grasshoppers are loners; they never gather in large groups for self-preservation;
  • an ordinary grasshopper is a predator that eats only small insects, and locusts are a devourer of vegetation (for the most part, it will eat anything it comes across without any analysis).

Kinds

The following locust species are most famous:

1. Migratory or Asian.

It is found in massive quantities in European countries and in countries located in western Asia, in the Mediterranean territories of the African continent, in countries of East Asia. The size of the body of an adult is usually 40-60 mm.

The wings have a barely noticeable grayish tone and darkened veins. The color repeats the shades of the surrounding area — emerald greenish, grayish brown or sand. The hind limbs of these insects have a darker color than the body.

This species is common in the Mediterranean climate zone of northern Africa. You can see insects in the southern part of European countries, as well as in countries located on the Balkan Peninsula and in the south of Russia.

Small adults, in most cases, they are no more than 20 mm, the color is usually inconspicuous, grayish-brownish. A distinctive feature by which they can be recognized is a cross-like pattern of a light shade on the back and dark spots randomly located throughout the body.

The main place of settlement is the countries of the Iberian and Apennine peninsulas. You can meet insects in areas located west of the Urals and in Asian countries, in the Altai Territory and in the countries of the Arab East.

The maximum size to which an adult insect grows is 40 mm. Individuals of the Italian prus have a brick or brownish color, on the back are clearly visible lightish hue specks or stripes.

4. Siberian filly.

You can meet in almost all areas of the Asian part of the Russian Federation (except for permafrost areas) and in Kazakhstan. A large number of Siberian filly can be found in the northern territories of Mongolia and China, the highlands of the Caucasus. Matured individuals of relatively modest sizes, their length is not often more than 25 mm. The color of insects is brown with a brownish tint or khaki.

5. Egyptian filly.

You can meet this species in European countries, the northern regions of the African continent, and Middle Eastern countries. This is one of the most impressive insects. Females can grow up to 60-70 mm. The males are smaller, their body size is not more than 40-45 mm.

Such locusts are usually painted in mouse color or the color of wet sand. The hind legs of the insect have a bluish tint, sometimes with the addition of yellow-red. A characteristic feature are clearly visible dashes — black and white, they can be seen on convex eyes.

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6. Blue-winged filly.

It lives in the steppes and forest-steppe regions of Asia and Europe, the Caucasus, the western regions of Siberia and Kazakhstan. Does not apply to species that are large. 20 mm is all that a pest with beautiful wings can grow to. The color of the insect is amazing.

The wings have a turquoise or juicy blue color, on which a fancy pattern of thin strokes of dark color is clearly visible. The hind legs have small spikes of a light shade and are tinted in light blue.

7. Rainbow locust.

Lives on the island of Madagascar. This is a very spectacular and eye-catching individual, but at the same time, it is extremely toxic. All of her organs were literally saturated with toxic and poisonous substances, since she eats only plants that produce poisonous juice.

Favorite food — leaves and fruits of milkweed. Appearance is admirable — the whole color scheme gathered on her wings, and this is understandable, because she lives in bright vegetation. The dimensions of the beauty are impressive — up to 70 mm.

Lifestyle & Habitat

A distinctive feature of the locust is its ability to live alone and gather in giant communities. If the individual is a loner, she behaves quite calmly, sedentary and not gluttonous. The devastating effects of her stay are usually not observed.

When the food disappears, the insects try to lay as many eggs as possible, from which the herd individuals hatch, ready to move around vast spaces. This offspring is larger, and their wings are better adapted for long flights. About half a billion individuals sometimes gather in giant locust clusters. Such flocks possess amazing mobility and interact as a single organism.

It is believed that a shortage of organic substances and amino acids in the body of individuals can serve as a signal for the egg laying because of the insufficient amount of food in dry years.

Individuals of catastrophic damage to green spaces do not bring. Appetite in individuals is very moderate. In their entire lives, they eat no more than five hundred grams of green mass. The main problem is the locust, united in a flock.

To replenish the energy balance and vitality, individuals gathered in a herd are forced to eat without stopping, otherwise they will die from thirst and lack of protein. Locusts, having appeared in the company of numerous relatives, begin to show amazing gluttony. One individual is able to absorb about four hundred grams of green mass per day, but there are millions of them in a flock.

With a lack of protein in the body, insects begin to degenerate into predators, and the process of eating their own kind begins. In this case, the flock is divided into two symbolic subgroups, one of which runs in front, and the second — tries to catch up and eat. And those fleeing, and catching up, eat everything in their path, completely destroying the crops and gardens.

Locustpest unpretentious. The multimillion-dollar community will leave bare land with rare remains of protruding stems after its stay. Individuals differ in their best appetite in the absence of heat (morning and evening).

Reproduction and longevity

Locust is an egg-laying insect and reproduces sexually. An enterprising male, to attract a female, produces a specific hormone by the smell of which the female is looking for a suitable partner.

Attracted by the smell, she finds the male and tries to get as close to him as possible. The male is attached to the female and tries to lay a sperm capsule in the part of the posterior end of the abdomen (ovipositor). Mating often takes a lot of time, and can last up to 13 hours.

The female ovipositor leaves the female directly in the ground and covers it with a foamy liquid, which solidifies and turns it into a solid cocoon. One such clutch may contain 60-80 eggs. Over the course of her life, a female makes six to twelve clutches in which up to four hundred eggs are found.

Twelve days later, white larvae crawl out of such a cocoon, which are immediately immediately intensively fed. The larva undergoes several stages of development and turns into an adult specimen after 35-40 days.

The time that locust lives on depends on the climatic conditions of habitat and can be from 7-8 months to 2 years. In areas with severe winters, locusts die with the onset of frost. Noticing in its territory locust-like insect, it should be watered as often as possible, as the filly breeds poorly with high humidity.

Plants are best treated with a liquid specifically designed to combat these insects. Animals that eat poisoned leaves should die in 2-3 days. Particular attention should be paid to finding places where eggs can be laid, and try to prevent the appearance of larvae.

Interesting Facts

Among the features of the structure and life of locusts, one can distinguish many interesting facts:

  1. Due to the fact that the insect has well developed hind legs, it can move in a single jump at a distance exceeding the body size by twenty times.
  2. When eating locusts, they eat everything that is painted in green. As soon as the food, which has greenish shades, ends in a closed room, the locust begins to eat its relatives, if they have a green color.
  3. Insects can fly huge spaces without landing — up to four hundred kilometers. The longest flight of locust flocks is from the African continent to the islands of the Caribbean. A herd of locusts walking on foot overcomes an area of ​​twenty kilometers during daylight hours.
  4. In 5 days, 7,000 tons of citrus were swallowed by a locust community that attacked an orange tree plantation in Morocco. Amazing gluttony — one ton per minute.
  5. Locustinsect, which inhabits all continents of the globe, the exception is only Antarctica. This is due to harsh climatic conditions and a complete lack of food. But an interesting fact, they are not in North America. Last known locust invasion on the continent dates back to 1875.
  6. The most unusual way to control locusts was recorded in the 15th century in France. The judge, who considered the case of spoilage of vineyards by insects, ruled on the allocation of a plot of land that was strictly forbidden to leave the pests.
  7. Locust is on the menu of many nations of the world. Eat these insects in thirty-six states located on the African continent, twenty-nine Asian countries and in twenty-three states of the South American continent. Studies have shown that locusts are a nutritious product that can replace meat, it does not have much fat and many vitamins.
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