Subject: Toxic grasshopper ID
Location: Madagascar, Andringitra National Park
January 26, 2014 4:53 am
I’m trying to ID the attached grasshopper – seen in Andringitra National Park, Madagascar, and known locally simply as a “toxic cricket”.
It looks like a Phymateus milkweed grasshopper, as far as I can work out from Google, but I’ve not seen photos with quite the same black/orange colouring (no yellow or red), and short, stubby wingcases.
Length is probably about 6-7 cm, so quite a big insect.
This is definitely a Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper in the family Pyrgomorphidae. We located a matching photo taken on Madagascar on Dorit Bar Zakay’s blog that is identified as a young Phymateus saxosus. The color and markings change will change as it develops into an adult, and the wings will also increase in size and become functional. We have a photo of an adult Phymateus saxosus from Madagascar on our site and there is no shortage of photos of adults online. Previous research indicates that it is also called a Rainbow Bush Locust. We also learned that locals refer to this as a Ghost Grasshopper.