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Insects 2018, 9(3), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9030099

Aggregation Site Choice by Gregarious Nymphs of the Desert Locust, Schistocerca gregaria, in the Sahara Desert of Mauritania

1
Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Livestock and Environment Division, Ohwashi 1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8686, Japan
2
The Mauritanian Desert Locust Centre: Centre National de Lutte Antiacridienne (CNLA), Nouakchott, BP 665, Mauritania
3
Institut du Sahel (INSAH)/CILSS, BP 1530 Bamako, Mali
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Monitoring and Trapping in Agricultural Systems)
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Abstract

Animals often aggregate at certain sites during vulnerable periods such as night-roosting as an anti-predatory strategy. Some migratory gregarious animals must regularly find new night-roosting sites, but how they synchronously choose such sites is poorly understood. We examined how gregarious nymphs of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria Forskål (Orthoptera: Acrididae), aggregate at certain plants for night-roosting in the Sahara Desert. Migratory bands of last instar nymphs climbed trees around dusk and roosted there overnight. A spatial autocorrelation analysis of plants indicated that the larger locust groups formed at the larger plants within the local plant community. Other large groups were not formed near the large tree, but smaller groups were patchily distributed. Plant height was the primary cue used by migratory bands to choose night-roosting plants. A nearest-neighbor distance analysis showed that single conspicuous large trees with scattered smaller plants were distributed locally. This plant community structure and negative geotactic ascending behavior of gregarious nymphs may force them to concentrate at the landmark plant from all directions and afar. This plant-size-dependent roosting site choice may contribute for developing artificial trapping systems for locusts and inciting to a new environment-friendly night control approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: aggregation; migration; night roosting site; plant community; phase polyphenism; Schistocerca gregaria aggregation; migration; night roosting site; plant community; phase polyphenism; Schistocerca gregaria
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Ould Maeno, K.; Abdallahi Ould Babah Ebbe, M. Aggregation Site Choice by Gregarious Nymphs of the Desert Locust, Schistocerca gregaria, in the Sahara Desert of Mauritania. Insects 2018, 9, 99.

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