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Article

Adult Desert Locust Swarms, Schistocerca gregaria, Preferentially Roost in the Tallest Plants at Any Given Site in the Sahara Desert

1
Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Livestock and Environment Division, Ohwashi 1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8686, Japan
2
Centre National de Lutte Antiacridienne (CNLA), Nouakchott 665, Mauritania
3
National Centre of Agricultural Research and Development (CNRADA), Kaedi, Mauritania
4
Institute of Sahel, Bamako 1530, Mali
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(12), 1923; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10121923
Received: 23 October 2020 / Revised: 24 November 2020 / Accepted: 27 November 2020 / Published: 7 December 2020
The desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria, is a major migratory pest that causes substantial agricultural damage. Flying adult swarms disperse widely during the daytime, but they densely roost on plants at night. Swarm control operations are generally conducted during the daytime, but night-time control is a significant potential alternative. However, the night-roosting behavior of swarms is poorly understood. We determined night-roosting plant preferences of migrating sexually immature swarms of S. gregaria at four different sites in the Sahara Desert in Mauritania during winter. The night-roosting sites were divided into two types based on presence or absence of large trees. Swarms tended to roost on the largest trees and bushes at a given site. Swarms used medium-sized plants when large trees were not locally available, but the same medium-sized plant species were hardly used when large trees were available. Plant choice influenced roosting group size—large locust groups roosted on larger plants. Night-roosting locusts rarely fled from approaching observers. These results suggest that swarms of S. gregaria exhibit plasticity in their utilization patterns of night-roosting plants depending on the plant community encountered and they selectively use larger plants. We propose that this predictable plant-size dependent night-roosting can be used to particularly ease locust swarm control and to generally adopt anti-locust night control strategy. View Full-Text
Keywords: aggregation; density-dependent phase polyphenism; migration; night-roosting site choice; Schistocerca gregaria aggregation; density-dependent phase polyphenism; migration; night-roosting site choice; Schistocerca gregaria
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MDPI and ACS Style

Maeno, K.O.; Ould Ely, S.; Ould Mohamed, S.; Jaavar, M.E.H.; Ould Babah Ebbe, M.A. Adult Desert Locust Swarms, Schistocerca gregaria, Preferentially Roost in the Tallest Plants at Any Given Site in the Sahara Desert. Agronomy 2020, 10, 1923. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10121923

AMA Style

Maeno KO, Ould Ely S, Ould Mohamed S, Jaavar MEH, Ould Babah Ebbe MA. Adult Desert Locust Swarms, Schistocerca gregaria, Preferentially Roost in the Tallest Plants at Any Given Site in the Sahara Desert. Agronomy. 2020; 10(12):1923. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10121923

Chicago/Turabian Style

Maeno, Koutaro O., Sidi Ould Ely, Sid’Ahmed Ould Mohamed, Mohamed E.H. Jaavar, and Mohamed A. Ould Babah Ebbe. 2020. "Adult Desert Locust Swarms, Schistocerca gregaria, Preferentially Roost in the Tallest Plants at Any Given Site in the Sahara Desert" Agronomy 10, no. 12: 1923. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10121923

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