Grasshoppers And The Environment
Swarming grasshoppers and locusts can be extremely destructive to vegetation. A single swarm of African locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) can contain 50 billion individuals, and consume as much food in one day as the daily food intake of all the people in New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles combined. Clearly, such immense irruptions are capable of causing tremendous damage to agriculture. Insecticides and the introduction of pathogenic fungi deadly to the insects are methods used to try to control such plagues, but this is not always successful. Sometimes, less conventional methods prove effective. In Thailand, Mexico, parts of Africa, and other countries, grasshoppers are edible delicacies, providing important dietary protein. During a locust plague in Thailand, government authorities encouraged citizens to catch the swarming masses. Domestic and commercial crops were saved from complete destruction and billions of grasshopper bodies were sold to restaurants and market places for seasoning, stir frying, and consumption by many a delighted connoisseur.
Carde, Ring, and Vincent H. Resh, eds. Encyclopedia of Insects. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2003.
Chapman, R.F., and A. Joern, eds. Biology of Grasshoppers. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1990.
Helfer, Jacques R. How to Know the Grasshoppers and Their Allies. Toronto: Dover Publications, 1987.
Preston-Mafham, Ken. Grasshoppers and Mantids of the World. London: Blandford, 1990.
Marie L. Thompson