Immature Grasshopper from South Africa likely a Garden Locust

Subject: Green Grasshopper/Locust
Location: Pietermaritzburg [South Africa]
February 7, 2013 2:45 am
I found this one legged specimen at the weekend. Is it a grasshopper or a locust?
Signature: Sally

Grasshopper Nymph

Hi Sally,
Your question is a matter of semantics, and we know the answer yet we cannot provide you with the complete answer.  This is a Grasshopper, and judging by the undeveloped wings, it is a juvenile nymph.  Grasshoppers are classified as Shorthorned Orthopterans in the suborder Caelifera.  A Locust is a name given to Grasshoppers that travel in large swarms and that often damage crops.  So all Locusts are Grasshoppers, but not all Grasshoppers are Locusts.  Since we don’t know the species, we cannot say for certain if it is a Locust, but we do know that it is a Grasshopper.

Thanks Daniel.
I was hoping to narrow it down to a species. Any ideas?

Karl provides some input
Hi Daniel and Sally:
It’s probably an immature Garden Locust (Acanthacris ruficornis). The nymphs are usually a soft green but can also be brown or even pink as late instars. This is in contrast to the brown mottled adults, an example of which appeared on this site not too long ago. Despite its name, this is not a swarming grasshopper and should not, therefore, be considered a locust. Regards.  Karl

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