Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper from South Africa

Subject: Grasshopper
Location: North West [South Africa]
February 1, 2014 12:45 am
Hi there,
This bug was photographed at Dube Private Game Farm in the North West, if you can tell us what this species is called it would settle a nice little argument.
Signature: Johan

Immature Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper
Immature Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper

Dear Johan,
This is a Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper or Bush Locust in the family Pyrgomorphidae.  It is an immature specimen, so it might be difficult to identify to the species level.  It greatly resembles the immature Green Milkweed Locust,
Phymateus viridipes, image on the Field Guide to Insects of South Africa.  The nymphs are described as being “spotted black and yellow.”  It also resembles an immature Phymateus saxosus from Madagascar that is in our archive.  We believe the genus Phymateus is most likely correct, but the species is not something about which we are certain.

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