Melanoplus spretus


 
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Rocky Mountain Locust
(Melanoplus spretus)

 
syn. -

 
distribution:

USA: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Wyoming

 
local name:

Rocky Mountain Locust (English)

 
size: ca. 3 cm (length) (?)

extinction date: extinct since 1902

 
Giant swarms of this species once devastated large areas of North America. The locust plague destroyed countless crops and did also not stop at cotton clothings or lether, it is even claimed that they have eaten wooden fencing posts.

The last greater swarms were recorded in the years between 1873 and 1877.

The reasons for its extinction are not well known, but it is argued that, on one hand, the irrigation of fields led to the loss of the locust's biological balance, and that, on the other hand, the plowing of the fields, which where used by the femals for laying their eggs, destroyed most of the egg cases.

 
left:

Rocky Mountain Locust (Melanoplus spretus)


Depiction from 'The more destructive grasshoppers of Kansas / F. H. Snow, S. J. Hunter. Topeka: J. S. Parks, State Printer, 1897'

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
 
left:

Rocky Mountain Locust (Melanoplus spretus), femals laying eggs


Depiction from 'The more destructive grasshoppers of Kansas / F. H. Snow, S. J. Hunter. Topeka: J. S. Parks, State Printer, 1897'

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
 
left:

Rocky Mountain Locust (Melanoplus spretus), stages in growth


Depiction from 'The more destructive grasshoppers of Kansas / F. H. Snow, S. J. Hunter. Topeka: J. S. Parks, State Printer, 1897'

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

 
References: