The Elegant Grasshopper occurs in Africa south of the equator and on Madagascar, and is widespread in our country. Their bright colours serve to deter predators by warning that these grasshoppers are poisonous, bad tasting and foul smelling. Adults measure 4-5 cm in length. As they need not fear being eaten, most Elegant Grasshoppers have almost completely lost their wings and are entirely unable to fly, but occasionally one does come across individuals with relatively well-developed wings – perhaps an expression of recessive genes.
Elegant Grasshoppers are significant agricultural pest, especially for small-scale farmers of fruit and other produce, and gardeners hate them for being able to make quick work of decimating a favoured patch in the garden. Naturally they prefer to feed on poisonous plants such as bitter apple and milkweed, and it is these plant-toxins that gets accumulated in their bodies.
Elegant Grasshoppers breed once a year, in the late summer or early autumn. Females lay their eggs 2 or 3 weeks after mating. These eggs hatch with the first rains of the new season, roughly six months after they were laid, with the nymphs reaching adulthood about two-and-a-half months later.