Elegant Grasshopper Zonocerus elegans
Kruger National Park
Foam grasshoppers are small to large grasshoppers distinguished by a combination of bright colours, conical head, fastigial furrow, and a pair of warty crescents on either side of the fastigial furrow. Many have warning coloration and can produce a foamy defensive secretion; a few can produce sound. Most feed on herbs or shrubs, but rarely on grasses. Mostly gregarious at all stages. Description
Medium to large (body length 28-50 mm), head mainly black, antennae black with orange bands or rings. Tegmina large; plain green or greenish yellow at the base.Distribution
Widely distributed in tropical Africa.Habitat
Common on low shrubs in subtropical areas.Biology
Pest of vegetables and fruit trees in the Northern Cape and Free State. In tropical areas, a pest of cotton, cocoa, coffee and many other crops.
It shows a preference for the milkweed (rarely grasses). It can emit a nauseating yellow fluid when disturbed. Eggs are laid communally in autumn and remain in the ground for 6 months, hatching in spring and reaching maturity in 75 days. One generation per year. Males produce sounds during aggressive interaction.
Links: Pests of Field Crops in Southern Africa
Lake Eland Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Gauteng