The Migratory Locust (Locusta migratoria) is an insect in the Acrididae family of Short-Horned Grasshoppers.
The Migratory Locust varies in colour from black to brownish to yellowish and green, depending on the colour of the vegetation. Generally, it has a blackish-brown back and light-brown belly and face. It has short antennae. It has long wings and long legs.
It grows to 4-6 centimetres (1.5-2.5 inches) long.
The Migratory Locust is native to Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. It prefers scrublands. It does not like mountain regions, and it does not like rainforests. When locusts swarm and migrate, they do not travel across mountains or rainforests, so these form natural barriers.
The Migratory Locust has two phases: the solitary phase (in areas where there is plenty of food) and the gregarious phase (during drought). This is called polyphenism. Solitary locusts move around on their own, but during the gregarious phase the locusts swarm together.
It is highly mobile and a powerful flyer, spending a lot of time flying. It travels in groups, called swarms, and can travel 5-130 kilometres (3-80 miles) per day. During the swarming phase, it eats a lot of vegetation. When it is not swarming, the period is called a recession.
The Migratory Locust can live between 3-6 months.
Location of photographs: Paris Zoo, France.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM