Subject: Dictyophorus spumans
Location: Krugersdorp, South Africa
March 20, 2014 1:59 am
The Locust I found Yesterday.
On research I discovered it may be the above.
Is the foam toxic to humans?
Signature: Sharon Parkinson
Your identification is correct and the common name for your individual is the Koppie Foam Grasshopper, one of the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers. According to NeatNature: “The Koppie Foam Grasshopper is indeed toxic, consuming poisonous plants and storing the toxins inside their bodies. The are also known for bathing themselves in a noxious foam when threatened. Through glands along their thorax, it is able to squeeze out a putrid foam which then covers them. The smell and the taste is enough to ward off any predator curious enough to get too close.” According to Project Noah: “Many members of this family (Pyrogomorphidae) can produce a defensive foamy secretion from there thoracic region which contain strong and poisonous chemicals, nasty deterrent and hence the vivid warning coloration. The Pyrgomorphs are also referred to as ‘Gaudy Grasshoppers’. The warning coloration reflects their poisonous nature. The nymphs consume poisonous plants such as Milkweeds and retain the chemicals which include cardiac glycosids (heart poisons). There are records of dogs dying after eating these grasshoppers. One would have imagined that such a distinctive looking locust/grasshopper would be easily identified but unfortunately this has not proved to be the case. I initially located 2 other photos of this species on the web but neither author had committed to a species ID beyond genus. Progress: we (the PN community) now believe that this is a subadult of the species Dictyophorus spumans, with adult coloration and that the earlier nymph stages are much more black with red trimmings.” It is our understanding that the toxins will also affect humans.