Green Milkweed Locust from Malawi

Subject: Coloured grasshopper
Location: Mulange Massif in Malawi
December 16, 2013 6:06 am
Just one mor for fun: a quite coloured grasshopper I found in ther Mulange Massif in Malawi
Signature: Robert

Green Milkweed Locust

Hi again Robert,
In trying to research the identity of this Grasshopper, we discovered several images that look quite similar, but alas, there is no proper identification.  The first image we found is on Getty Images Stock Photography, and the second image we located is on FlickR.  We believe this individual is in the family Pyrgomorphidae, the Gaudy Grasshoppers or Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers.  Continued searching under the family name led us to iNaturalist where we believe we may have correctly identified your grasshopper as
 Phymateus viridipes.  According to iNaturalist:  “Phymateus viridipes Stal, aka Green Milkweed Locust or African Bush Grasshopper, belonging to the family Pyrgomorphidae (Gaudy Grasshoppers), is an African locust about 70 millimetres (2.8 in) long at maturity and capable of long migratory flights. Its body and forewings are green in colour while the hindwings are bright red and blue, presenting a striking appearance in flight. The pronotum, or dorsal area immediately behind the head, is covered in spines or carbuncles which are often tipped with red. The nymphs or hoppers are bright yellow and black and highly gregarious, forming large groups during this growth stage and are more or less polyphagous.  As with other Phymateus species it raises and rustles its wings when disturbed and may secrete a noxious fluid from its thoracic joint.[2] This locust feeds on highly toxic plants such as Acokanthera oppositifolia and Secamone alpinii. They congregate in large numbers on trees and shrubs, arranged in such a way as to resemble foliage.”  This beautiful Grasshopper is pictured on stamps from several African countries, including Swaziland and Rwanda.

2 thoughts on “Green Milkweed Locust from Malawi”

  1. There was a time that thousands of those were at my house. They just randomly showed up and it was the first time seeing them. They stick if you smash them. Really bad


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