The Rocky Mountain Locust

Decent Essays
First part (physical description): Jackson: The Rocky Mountain Locust, Melanoplus spretus, resembles the common grasshopper. It is of the Acridinae or “short-horned grasshopper,” family, a family found all through North America, distinguished by a spine located near where the first two legs attach. The Rocky Mountain Locust was 20-35 mm in length, or around 1 inch long. The Locust could also rub its legs together to chirp and had wings were long and capable of flight. The wings stretched further past its abdomen in comparison to its closest-living relative, Melanoplus sanguinipes, the red-legged grasshopper. The Rocky Mountain Locust was migratory, swarming from California to North Dakota and Texas.

Second part (behavioral characteristics):

Artemis: Locusts have two phases: 1) a phase in which they are solitary, and 2) a phase in which they swarm together in large groups, this is called the “gregarious phase”. The locusts used to swarm every 7-12 years and would cover huge areas. One swarm in 1875 was said to be 110 miles wide and 1800 miles long and was tracked by telegraph. This swarm has gone into the record books as the largest mass of animals in recorded history. It was a lot of insects! Locusts swarm after a large enough group has gathered together, usually after periods of rain, which led to an increase in the plants that the insects eat. If enough locusts group together, they will stimulate the release of a chemical called serotonin in their bodies. The
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