Leprous Grasshopper

Phymateus leprosus

A close relative of the Green Milkweed Locust, the Leprous Grasshopper is equally adept at making my skin crawl, especially the adults. These large and scary locusts have a wide habitat tolerance, occuring from the dry Great Karoo to the mesic east coast and into the Lowveld. Their gregarious nymphs congregate and move in colourful clusters, advertising their poisonous nature by their bold colouration. Indeed, so poisonous are these grasshoppers that human fatalities from ingesting them has been recorded. This toxicity stem from their preferred foodplants from the milkweed family, though they can be a pest in young citrus trees as well.  For an insect, Leprous Grasshoppers have a long lifecycle and are slow-growing; eggs may take 6 months to hatch after which it takes a year for the nymphs to develop to adulthood. The adults may live for up to 8 months.

15 thoughts on “Leprous Grasshopper

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      The Leprous Grasshopper doesn’t seem to have the same tendency to swarm in massive numbers as many of their close relatives do, Jane, though I wouldn’t go as far as saying that they never do.

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