Australian Plague Locust
Plaguing, 24 specimens flying
S10: Adult: dorsal
|Class:||Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)|
|Order:||Crickets, Grasshoppers & Katydids (Orthoptera)|
|Family:||Short-horned Grasshopper (Acrididae) iNaturalist Observation|
|Species:||Australian Plague Locust (Chortoicetes terminifera)|
|This Photo:||🔍Plaguing, countless sitting🔎|
Thank you Robert Read, Matthew Connors & Thomas Mesaglio for confirming the id of this species for us
General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA), the Adelaide Hills and elsewhere
~30mm long. Males are smaller than females
Very variable in colour ranging from vivid green to pale brown. While the colours vary, the patterns of the wings and on the hind legs are always the same. The rear legs are also red.
Notice the stripe on top of the head to the pronotum isn't diagnostic (as it appears on the male but not the female that are mating).
The black "patch" seen on the rear tip of the closed wings helps to quickly separate these from other similar grasshoppers. The "cross" on the back, previously used to separate these, is also found on similar grasshoppers, eg Austroicetes sp.
It seems when they contact another of their species every 30 seconds they go into a mating frenzy, causing plaguing. There must be good conditions for them to start with to encounter so many others in such a short time frame.
While we have photographed 10 separate specimens, as can be deduced in the plaguing shots, we've seen thousands in a day.