Locusts and Grasshoppers: Bionomics, Distribution, and Population Management

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Pest and Vector Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2024) | Viewed by 9970

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), VialedelleTerme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
Interests: locust and grasshopper bioecology; pest management; international cooperation; early warning systems; history of entomology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
1. Department of General Biology and Ecology, Novosibirsk State University, 2 Pirogova Street, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia
2. Laboratory of Invertebrate Ecology, Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 11, Frunze Street, 630091 Novosibirsk, Russia
Interests: ecosystem; landscape; population; dispersal; classification; regionalization; ecomodelling; Holarctic; Orthoptera; plant protection

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Locusts, grasshoppers and other orthopteran insects are an intrinsic part of grassland ecosystems. Among them, locusts have been notorious pests since the dawn of agriculture. Infamous for their voracity, fecundity and transboundary migratory capabilities, they often damage crop fields and rangelands and thus jeopardize national and regional food security. The eruptive character of their long-term dynamics determines extremely irregular outbreaks. Despite numerous and diverse studies, we still do not fully understand which changes and relationships trigger outbreak development. At the same time, grasshoppers and other orthopterans are one of the most widely distributed and abundant groups of animals over grasslands. They consume the majority of primary production, intensify the local fluxes of matter and energy, accelerate plant growth and provide other ecosystem services. Many rare and endemic orthopterans deserve conservation efforts; at the same time, locust outbreaks may develop within the habitats of rare species. This means there are contradictions between approaches of plant protection and those of conservation biology. Conservation strategy can prevent or limit anti-locust treatments, especially those with insecticides. The problem of locust invasions is also real and has become even more severe due to climate change. This is why we should develop innovative approaches to safeguard the ecosystem services of orthopteran insects and, if necessary, apply economically and environmentally acceptable measures to manage their populations.

Prof. Dr. Alexandre V. Latchininsky
Prof. Dr. Michael G. Sergeev
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • locust
  • grasshopper
  • Orthoptera
  • bioecology
  • rare species conservation
  • pest management
  • climate change

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 5508 KiB  
Article
Chromosomal-Level Reference Genome for the Chinese Endemic Pygmy Grasshopper, Zhengitettix transpicula, Sheds Light on Tetrigidae Evolution and Advancing Conservation Efforts
by De-Long Guan, Ya-Zhen Chen, Ying-Can Qin, Xiao-Dong Li and Wei-An Deng
Insects 2024, 15(4), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15040223 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 963
Abstract
The pygmy grasshopper, Zhengitettix transpicula, is a Chinese endemic species with an exceedingly limited distribution and fragile population structure, rendering it vulnerable to extinction. We present a high-continuity, chromosome-scale reference genome assembly to elucidate this species’ distinctive biology and inform conservation. Employing [...] Read more.
The pygmy grasshopper, Zhengitettix transpicula, is a Chinese endemic species with an exceedingly limited distribution and fragile population structure, rendering it vulnerable to extinction. We present a high-continuity, chromosome-scale reference genome assembly to elucidate this species’ distinctive biology and inform conservation. Employing an integrated sequencing approach, we achieved a 970.40 Mb assembly with 96.32% coverage across seven pseudo-chromosomes and impressive continuity (N50 > 220 Mb). Genome annotation achieves identification with 99.2% BUSCO completeness, supporting quality. Comparative analyses with 14 genomes from Orthoptera-facilitated phylogenomics and revealed 549 significantly expanded gene families in Z. transpicula associated with metabolism, stress response, and development. However, genomic analysis exposed remarkably low heterozygosity (0.02%), implying a severe genetic bottleneck from small, fragmented populations, characteristic of species vulnerable to extinction from environmental disruptions. Elucidating the genetic basis of population dynamics and specialization provides an imperative guideline for habitat conservation and restoration of this rare organism. Moreover, divergent evolution analysis of the CYP305m2 gene regulating locust aggregation highlighted potential structural and hence functional variations between Acrididae and Tetrigidae. Our chromosomal genomic characterization of Z. transpicula advances Orthopteran resources, establishing a framework for evolutionary developmental explorations and applied conservation genomics, reversing the trajectory of this unique grasshopper lineage towards oblivion. Full article
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18 pages, 8538 KiB  
Article
Reassessment of the Phylogenetics of Two Pygmy Grasshopper Generic Groups Tetrix and Systolederus through Mitochondrial Phylogenomics Using Four New Mitochondrial Genome Assemblies
by De-Long Guan, Chao-Mei Huang and Wei-An Deng
Insects 2024, 15(3), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15030174 - 4 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1297
Abstract
Mitochondrial genomes offer pragmatic genetic markers to reconstruct evolutionary relationships and inform taxonomic classifications. Here, we present complete mitochondrial sequences for four Chinese pygmy grasshoppers (Tetrigidae), aiming to reevaluate phylogenetic patterns and morphological taxonomy. Our 17,643 bp, 16,274 bp, 15,086 bp, and 15,398 [...] Read more.
Mitochondrial genomes offer pragmatic genetic markers to reconstruct evolutionary relationships and inform taxonomic classifications. Here, we present complete mitochondrial sequences for four Chinese pygmy grasshoppers (Tetrigidae), aiming to reevaluate phylogenetic patterns and morphological taxonomy. Our 17,643 bp, 16,274 bp, 15,086 bp, and 15,398 bp mitogenomes of Exothotettix guangxiensis, Formosatettix longwangshanensis, Euparatettix sinufemoralis and Systolederus zhengi, respectively, exhibit archetypal Tetrigidae architecture. We constructed phylogenies using 13 protein-coding loci from 39 Tetrigidae mitogenomes, revealing several genus-level clusters with statistically solid support, conflicts regarding Ex. guangxiensis, F. longwangshanensis merging into Tetrix, and two subclades of Systolederus. The dated divergence analysis indicates over 150 Mya of Tetrigidae ancestry, tracing the Systolederus generic group splits up to ~75 million years ago. Moreover, the Tetrix generic group radiated over 14 Mya across vast distributions, consistent with rapid adaptive dispersals. Our mitochondrial reconstructions suggest that Synstolederus is taxonomically overextended for a single genus, while the distinctiveness of Ex. guangxiensis and F. longwangshanensis from Tetrix appears questionable, and the Tetrix generic group comprises a potential tRNA-Ile coding region. Our integrative mitogenomic approaches will help resolve issues stemming from morphological taxonomy that is reliant on traits that are prone to convergence. This investigation enhances comprehension of Tetrigidae phylogeny and accentuates molecular systematics. Full article
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18 pages, 3895 KiB  
Article
Barcoding Fails to Delimit Species in Mongolian Oedipodinae (Orthoptera, Acrididae)
by Lea-Sophie Kock, Elisabeth Körs, Martin Husemann, Lkhagvasuren Davaa and Lara-Sophie Dey
Insects 2024, 15(2), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15020128 - 12 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1516
Abstract
Mongolia, a country in central Asia, with its vast grassland areas represents a hotspot for Orthoptera diversity, especially for the Acrididae. For Mongolia, 128 Acrididae species have been documented so far, of which 41 belong to the subfamily Oedipodinae (band-winged grasshoppers). Yet, few [...] Read more.
Mongolia, a country in central Asia, with its vast grassland areas represents a hotspot for Orthoptera diversity, especially for the Acrididae. For Mongolia, 128 Acrididae species have been documented so far, of which 41 belong to the subfamily Oedipodinae (band-winged grasshoppers). Yet, few studies concerning the distribution and diversity of Oedipodinae have been conducted in this country. Molecular genetic data is almost completely absent, despite its value for species identification and discovery. Even, the simplest and most used data, DNA barcodes, so far have not been generated for the local fauna. Therefore, we generated the first DNA barcode data for Mongolian band-winged grasshoppers and investigated the resolution of this marker for species delimitation. We were able to assemble 105 DNA barcode (COI) sequences of 35 Oedipodinae species from Mongolia and adjacent countries. Based on this data, we reconstructed maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference phylogenies. We, furthermore, conducted automatic barcode gap discovery and used the Poisson tree process (PTP) for species delimitation. Some resolution was achieved at the tribe and genus level, but all delimitation methods failed to differentiate species by using the COI region. This lack of resolution may have multiple possible reasons, which likely differ between taxa: the lack of resolution in the Bryodemini may be partially explained by their massive genomes, implying the potential presence of large numbers of pseudogenes, while within the Sphingonotini incomplete lineage sorting and incorrect taxonomy are more likely explanations for the lack of signal. Further studies based on a larger number of gene fragments, including nuclear DNA, are needed to distinguish the species also at the molecular level. Full article
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18 pages, 6637 KiB  
Article
An Overview of Orthoptera Mass Occurrences in Croatia from 1900 to 2023
by Niko Kasalo, Nikola Tvrtković, Domagoj Bogić, Bože Kokan, Marijana Vuković, Mladen Kučinić and Josip Skejo
Insects 2024, 15(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15020082 - 23 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1545
Abstract
During the last century, well-known locust species, such as Calliptamus italicus and Dociostaurus maroccanus, have produced outbreaks of varying degrees in the Balkans. The literature data on outbreaks in the region are scarce, and Croatia is not an exception. This study summarized [...] Read more.
During the last century, well-known locust species, such as Calliptamus italicus and Dociostaurus maroccanus, have produced outbreaks of varying degrees in the Balkans. The literature data on outbreaks in the region are scarce, and Croatia is not an exception. This study summarized the data on 23 Orthoptera mass occurrences in Croatia from 1900 to 2023 from 28 localities, representing 12 species. This is a low level of outbreak activity compared with other locust and pest grasshopper species in other parts of the world. The species with the most reporting is C. italicus with altogether six mass occurrences, while second is Barbitistes ocskayi and Miramella irena with three records, and in the third, place D. maroccanus and Gryllotalpa sp., each with two mass occurrences having been reported. One of the most notable swarms is that of Anacridium aegyptium which occurred around Šibenik in 1998, and this paper provides the first account of it, 25 years after it took place. The most recent outbreaks took place in 2022, and the most notable one was that of D. maroccanus swarm in Štikovo. The 2022 and 2023 reports were brief and muted, despite the affected agriculturists claiming significant damages. Full article
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27 pages, 30228 KiB  
Article
Anatolian Short-Horned Grasshoppers Unveiled: Integrating Biogeography and Pest Potential
by Battal Çıplak and Onur Uluar
Insects 2024, 15(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15010055 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1085
Abstract
Biogeographically, Anatolia harbours a rich diversity of short-horned grasshoppers (Orthoptera, Caelifera). The number of species recorded from Anatolia so far stands at 300. They inhabit diverse habitats ranging from arid Eremial to Euro-Siberian-like montane meadows, aligning with the topographical and climatological heterogeneity of [...] Read more.
Biogeographically, Anatolia harbours a rich diversity of short-horned grasshoppers (Orthoptera, Caelifera). The number of species recorded from Anatolia so far stands at 300. They inhabit diverse habitats ranging from arid Eremial to Euro-Siberian-like montane meadows, aligning with the topographical and climatological heterogeneity of Anatolia. Alongside some swarming species, the pest potential of several pullulating species needs attention. This is especially important concerning global warming, a scenario expected to be more severe in the Northern Mediterranean Basin in general and Anatolia specifically. A faunal list of biogeographic Anatolia, the area extending from the Aegean Sea in the west to the intermountain basin of the Caucasus in the northeast, the lowlands of Lake Urmia in the east, and Mesopotamia in the southeast, was developed. The recorded species were classified according to the phytogeographical provinces of Anatolia. Distributions of the species with the potential for pullulating were modelled using ecological-niche-modelling approaches for the present and future. The results have the potential to lead to the development of a concept that merges biogeography and the pest potential of certain Anatolian grasshopper species. Our results reveal the following: (i) Acrididae and Pamphagidae are the most diverse families represented in Anatolia; (ii) roughly 40% of Caelifera and 71% of Pamphagidae are endemics, suggesting Anatolia is a biodiversity hotspot; (iii) according to Caelifera diversity, the phytogeographical provinces of Anatolia follow an order of Irano-Anatolia, Euro-Siberia, Mediterranean, and Mesopotamia; and (iv) based on ecological modelling and personal observations, Dociostaurus maroccanus, Locusta migratoria, Calliptamus italicus, Heteracris pterosticha, Notostaurus anatolicus, Oedipoda miniata, and O. schochii should be monitored regarding their pest potential. Full article
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14 pages, 10955 KiB  
Article
The Mysterious Amurian Grig Paracyphoderris erebeus Storozhenko, 1980 (Orthoptera: Prophalangopsidae): New Data on Its Distribution, Ecology and Biology
by Sergey Yu. Storozhenko, Vladimir V. Molodtsov and Michael G. Sergeev
Insects 2023, 14(10), 789; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14100789 - 27 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
New data on distribution, ecology and biology of the rare extant species Paracyphoderris erebeus of the almost completely ancient family Prophalangopsidae (Orthoptera) are given. This montane species prefers humid areas with relatively low summer temperatures. Habits, mating behaviour and life history of P. [...] Read more.
New data on distribution, ecology and biology of the rare extant species Paracyphoderris erebeus of the almost completely ancient family Prophalangopsidae (Orthoptera) are given. This montane species prefers humid areas with relatively low summer temperatures. Habits, mating behaviour and life history of P. erebeus are extremely similar to those of the North American representatives of the genus Cyphoderris. Nowadays, the Amurian grig is known from the Myaochan, Badzhalsky, Dusse-Alin, Bureinsky and Aezop ridges in the Khabarovsk Territory (north of the Amur River) and Bydyr Mountain in the Jewish Autonomous Region of Russia only. The analysis of the predicted distribution of P. erebeus based on the occurrence data reveals that the populations of the species may be more widely distributed over the southern part of the Russian Far East, at least up to 56° N. The ecologo-geographic model of the species distribution over its range is generated using the Maxent 3.4.4 software for the first time. Modelling of the P. erebeus distribution for 2021–2040 and 2041–2060 shows that the position of the species range appears to be relatively stable but a weak decline in the foretold suitability during climate warming may result in a reduction in population sizes and the subsequent fragmentation of the species population system. In this case, the Amurian grig will become a prospective to be included on the IUCN Red List. Full article
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Review

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26 pages, 4766 KiB  
Review
Invasions and Local Outbreaks of Four Species of Plague Locusts in South Africa: A Historical Review of Outbreak Dynamics and Patterns
by Roger Edward Price
Insects 2023, 14(11), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110846 - 31 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1803
Abstract
The current paper provides a detailed review of the historical outbreaks of each of the four plague locust species found in South Africa, namely the brown locust, the African migratory locust, the red locust, and the southern African desert locust. The history and [...] Read more.
The current paper provides a detailed review of the historical outbreaks of each of the four plague locust species found in South Africa, namely the brown locust, the African migratory locust, the red locust, and the southern African desert locust. The history and dynamics of the plague infestations and the major local outbreaks are summarized. The typical patterns of the outbreaks of the different species are described, and the threat of these locusts to agriculture in South Africa is defined. The brown locust produces regular outbreaks in the semi-arid Karoo, with large-scale eruptions of plague proportions occurring about once per decade. Patterns of outbreaks often repeat themselves, but the sheer size of the plague outbreaks is almost impossible to stop, and the brown locust has the potential to threaten food security throughout southern Africa. The African migratory locust produces outbreaks in some of the main maize and wheat cropping areas where it is difficult to control. This locust has taken advantage of the man-made crop environment to produce an extra generation per year that was not previously possible in the original grasslands. The coastal area of KwaZulu Natal Province in South Africa was a prime reception and breeding area for plague invasions of the red locust in the past, and the country, therefore, relies on the successful control of outbreaks in east and central Africa to prevent the recurrence of the plague invasions. The southern African desert locust occurs in the Kalahari Desert area, and outbreaks requiring chemical control are rare. Full article
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