Currently viewing the category: "Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers"
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Subject: UNKNOWN GRASSHOPPER
Location: Botriver Western Cape
January 30, 2015 6:24 am
Hi Bugman,
My hubby and I were in Botriver over the past two weeks ie. 14 to 25 Jan 2015.
We captured this stunning picture of what we believe is a grasshopper of sorts. Absolutely beautiful, never seen anything like it in my life.
Thought you might like to have a look at it and maybe identify it for me?
thanks so much.
kind regards
Signature: Judy

Green Milkweed Locust

Green Milkweed Locust

Hi Judy,
Your images are stunning and this Grasshopper is gorgeous.  It is a member of the family Pyrgomorphidae, commonly called the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers.  They feed on milkweed, and many species are ably to synthesize and store compounds from the plants that render the grasshoppers toxic.  They also have aposomatic or warning coloration to ward off predators.  Your individual is a Green Milkweed Locust,
Phymateus leprosus, and you can verify our identification on iSpot.

Green Milkweed Locust

Green Milkweed Locust

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Subject: Grasshopper
Location: Coffee Bay, Wild Coast, South Africa
January 8, 2015 9:12 am
I would like to know what type of grasshopper this is.
Signature: Dalina Geldenhuys

Gaudy Grasshopper

Gaudy Grasshopper

Dear Dalina,
This colorful Grasshopper is in the family Pyrgomorphidae, and the members are commonly called Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers, Gaudy Grasshoppers or Koppie Foam Grasshoppers.  We believe your individual is a female
Maura rubroornata based on this image posted to iSpot.  Here is another image from iSpot.  There are images of mounted specimens on Orthoptera Species File, and there appear to be significant variations in the markings of this species.

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Subject: Bush Locust?
Location: Waterberg Plateau Namibia
January 3, 2015 1:31 pm
I took this picture on the Waterberg Plateau in Namibia in November of this year. It seems very similar to the Common Milkweed Grasshopper but has some differences. It was very large at least 10 cm.
Signature: Al Kirkley

Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper

Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper

Dear Al,
You are correct that this is one of the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers in the family Pyrgomorphidae, and though the colors on your individual are not as vivid, it looks like this Foam Grasshopper on Beetles of Africa, though that individual is not even classified within the family.
  This similar looking individual on FlickR is identified as Phymateus leprosus, and checking on that name produces this image on http://utaseibt.de/gras.html.  It appears there are minor variations in color and intensity within the species.

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Subject: Nymph Phymateus viridipes?
Location: Kitgum, Uganda
August 31, 2014 8:52 pm
Hello! My mom recently traveled to Uganda (August 2014) and took some photographs of some really neat large grasshoppers. They was photographed in Kitgum, Uganda. I think they may be nymph Phymateus viridipes? Do you agree?
Signature: Hannah

Milkweed Grasshoppers

Green Milkweed Locust

Hi Hannah,
We agree with your identification of
Phymateus viridipes, the Green Milkweed Locust, one of the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers in the family Pyrgomorphidae.  You can compare your image to the ones on iSpot.

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Subject: south-african grasshopper
Location: South-Africa
August 2, 2014 3:23 am
Hello bugman,
This grasshopper I photographed in the second half of January 2005 in South-Africa. I already saw many pictures of Milkweed Grasshoppers and Toxic Foam Grasshoppers, but what really is different I think, is that the one I photographed was at least 15 cm long and what I mostly see in pictures are far smaller ones. Anyway, let me know what you think.
Kind regards, Hanny Keulers
Signature: Hanny Keulers

Koppie Foam Grasshopper

Bushlocust:  Phymateaus morbillosus

Dear Hanny,
This is one of the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers in the family Pyrgomorphidae, and we believe it is a Koppie Foam Grasshopper,
Dictyophorus spumans.  As you can see from the images on ISpot, this is a highly variable species and indications are that there are numerous subspecies.  The Grasshoppers feed on Milkweed, and they are able to store the toxins, which makes them at the very least unpalatable, and at worst, toxic if ingested.  Even though the coloring is highly variable, the coloration is generally aposomatic or warning coloration, which helps predators to remember an unfavorable taste or reaction if another individual is encountered at a later time.  

Correction
Dear Daniel,
Having continued my own search, I have meanwhile been able to identify my locust with 100% certainty as a Phymateaus Morbillosus, very colourful and beautiful. What I still am wondering about is the size. Can an adult locust reach a total length of 15 cm.? Thanks for your help anyway, I also add a picture for your website.
Kind regards, Hanny Keulers

Hi again Hanny,
Thanks for getting back to us on this identification.  We are going to try to find credible links to
Phymateaus morbillosus.  The first one we located is on the Catalogue of South African Insects, but there is no further description there other than identifying it as a species of Bushlocust, another name for Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers in the family Pyrgomorphidae, which was our initial point of departure.  ISpot verifies that and provides the common name Common Milkweed Locust.  We even located this individual from our own archives.  Additionally, we located a mating pair of Common Milkweed Locusts on our site that were only identified to the family level.  Thank you for your valuable contribution to our site.  The size you indicate, nearly six inches long, is not something we are able to verify at this time.  There are Grasshoppers that attain that size, most notably Tropidacris dux from Central and South America which is picture on God Of Insects.

Hello Daniel,
You get the most hits under its Latin name Phymateus Morbillosus.
In general one should always go for the (scientific) Latin names of plants and animals,
because with the names in other languages < anything goes > and most
descriptions are foklore..
Regards, Hanny Keulers

Thank you Daniel for your remark about the correct scientific way of writing.
What surprises me most is that they call this magnificent insect the
COMMON Milkweed Locust, there is nothing ‘common’ about it.
Thanks again for all your information. The strange thing was that I bought a book
in South Africa about all the animal wildlife, but the locusts were not mentioned in it.
Regards, Hanny Keulers

Hanny,
In the interest of scientific correctness, the second name in the binomial, the species name, is not capitalized, hence
Phymateaus morbillosus.

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Subject: Beautiful Grasshopper in Kenya
Location: Kijabe, Kenya
May 6, 2014 5:36 am
Can you identify this grasshopper? It was found in May in the mountains of Kenya (7,000 feet).
Signature: Matt

Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper

Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper

Dear Matt,
This is a Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper in the family Pyrgomorphidae, but we are having difficulty finding a species identification.  We have located a matching image on FlickR that is called a Clown Grasshopper, but we don’t believe that name has any importance.  That individual was found on Mount Kenya, so we suspect this might be a high altitude species.
Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck today with a species identification.

Could it be the nymph of the phymateus viripedes as seen at
http://thesmallermajority.com/2012/09/18/dangerous-candy/
It looks very similar.
Thanks for what you’re doing. It makes this fun!
Matt

Hi Matt,
While we would not entirely rule out that possibility, we believe the markings on the abdomen of the individuals in the two images are quite different.  Your Grasshopper has a dusting of small yellow spots over the entire body, while the example on The Smaller Majority has very different markings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination