commonly called grasshoppers, species in this family vary
greatly in shape, size and colouring but all possess large
hind legs well developed for jumping. They have short antennae,
a short ovipositor and well-developed wings. Grasshoppers
are active during the day and can produce sound by rubbing
a row of pegs located on the hind legs against part of the
forewings. Most species feed on grass (as their name suggest),
but other vegetation is also consumed including leaves,
stems and even dead eucalyptus leaves.
name locust is given to those species that are known to build
up in large numbers. Locust swarms then migrate across large areas
causing almost complete destruction to all green vegetation, especially
grasshoppers and locusts generally lay their eggs in a mass in the ground
by extending their short ovipositors through the soil surface. On hatching
the young resemble adult but are smaller and have no wings. Wings slowly
develop over a series of moults.
Australian plague locust is a native species of Australia and is one of
the most economically important species in Australia. At times this species
is known to build up in great numbers forming swarms that migrate across
central and eastern Australia eating their way through almost anything
green. This species can be recognised by the black patch on the tip of
the hind wing and the red colouring on its hind leg. The body of female
Australian plague locusts is usually green, but when swarming is brownish
plague locust swarm
and pepper grasshopper)
is sometimes known as the salt and pepper grasshopper and its reddish
colouring is a reflection of its preferred environment. This species is
widespread across the arid to semiarid areas of the country and is usually
found in sandy environments. This is an alert and quick-moving grasshopper
that will take to the wing readily when disturbed.
more grasshopper and locust species visit the Australian
- Acrididae section found here.