Locust
Overview
Locusts are the swarm
Swarm
Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour exhibited by animals of similar size which aggregate together, perhaps milling about the same spot or perhaps moving en masse or migrating in some direction. As a term, swarming is applied particularly to insects, but can also be applied to...

ing phase of short-horned grasshopper
Grasshopper
The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper...

s of the family Acrididae
Acrididae
The Acrididae are the predominant family of grasshoppers, comprising some 10,000 of the 11,000 species of the entire suborder Caelifera. The Acrididae are best known because all locusts are of the Acrididae. The subfamily Oedipodinae is sometimes classified as a distinct family Oedipodidae in the...

. These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory. They form bands as nymphs
Nymph (biology)
In biology, a nymph is the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis before reaching its adult stage. Unlike a typical larva, a nymph's overall form already resembles that of the adult. In addition, while a nymph moults it never enters a...

 and swarms as adults—both of which can travel great distances, rapidly stripping fields and greatly damaging crops.

The origin and apparent extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 of certain species of locust – some of which reached 6 inches (15.2 cm) in length – are unclear.

Locusts are an edible insect
Entomophagy
Entomophagy is the consumption of insects as food. Insects are eaten by many animals, but the term is generally used to refer to human consumption of insects; animals that eat insects are known as insectivores...

 and are considered a delicacy in some countries and throughout history.
  • Desert locust
    Desert locust
    Plagues of the desert locust have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. The livelihood of at least one-tenth of the world’s human population can be affected by this voracious insect...

     (Schistocerca gregaria), probably the best known owing to its very wide distribution (North Africa
    North Africa
    North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

    , Middle East
    Middle East
    The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

    , and Indian subcontinent
    Indian subcontinent
    The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

    ) and its ability to migrate very widely.
  • Migratory locust
    Migratory locust
    The migratory locust is the most widespread locust species, and the only species in the genus Locusta. It occurs throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It used to be common in Europe but has now become rare there...

     (Locusta migratoria)
  • Red locust
    Red locust
    The Red Locust is a large grasshopper species found south of the Sahara in Africa. Its name refers to the colour of its hindwings. It is sometimes called the Criquet nomade in French, due to its nomadic movements in the dry season.-Adults:...

     (Nomadracis septemfasciata)
  • Australian plague locust
    Australian plague locust
    The Australian plague locust is a native Australian insect in the family Acrididae and a significant agricultural pest....

     (Chortoicetes terminifera)
  • American desert locust (Schistocerca
    Schistocerca
    Schistocerca, commonly called bird grasshoppers, is a genus of grasshoppers, many of which swarm as locusts. The best known species is probably the Desert Locust...

     americana
    )
  • Brown locust
    Brown locust
    The brown locust, Locustana pardalina, is a medium-sized small locust species found in Southern Africa and shows classic gregarious behaviour with phase polymorphism) on crowding.-Biology:...

     (Locustana pardalina)
  • Moroccan locust (Dociostaurus maroccanus
    Dociostaurus maroccanus
    Dociostaurus maroccanus, commonly known as the Moroccan locust, is a grasshopper in the insect family Acrididae. It is found in northern Africa, southern and eastern Europe and western Asia...

    )
  • Rocky Mountain locust
    Rocky Mountain locust
    The Rocky Mountain locust was the locust species that ranged through almost the entire western half of the United States until the end of the 19th century...

     (Melanoplus spretus) in North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

     had some of the largest recorded swarms, but died out in the late 19th century.


Though the female and the male look alike, they can be distinguished by looking at the end of their abdomens.
Encyclopedia
Locusts are the swarm
Swarm
Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour exhibited by animals of similar size which aggregate together, perhaps milling about the same spot or perhaps moving en masse or migrating in some direction. As a term, swarming is applied particularly to insects, but can also be applied to...

ing phase of short-horned grasshopper
Grasshopper
The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper...

s of the family Acrididae
Acrididae
The Acrididae are the predominant family of grasshoppers, comprising some 10,000 of the 11,000 species of the entire suborder Caelifera. The Acrididae are best known because all locusts are of the Acrididae. The subfamily Oedipodinae is sometimes classified as a distinct family Oedipodidae in the...

. These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory. They form bands as nymphs
Nymph (biology)
In biology, a nymph is the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis before reaching its adult stage. Unlike a typical larva, a nymph's overall form already resembles that of the adult. In addition, while a nymph moults it never enters a...

 and swarms as adults—both of which can travel great distances, rapidly stripping fields and greatly damaging crops.

The origin and apparent extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 of certain species of locust – some of which reached 6 inches (15.2 cm) in length – are unclear.

Locusts are an edible insect
Entomophagy
Entomophagy is the consumption of insects as food. Insects are eaten by many animals, but the term is generally used to refer to human consumption of insects; animals that eat insects are known as insectivores...

 and are considered a delicacy in some countries and throughout history.

Locust species

  • Desert locust
    Desert locust
    Plagues of the desert locust have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. The livelihood of at least one-tenth of the world’s human population can be affected by this voracious insect...

     (Schistocerca gregaria), probably the best known owing to its very wide distribution (North Africa
    North Africa
    North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

    , Middle East
    Middle East
    The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

    , and Indian subcontinent
    Indian subcontinent
    The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

    ) and its ability to migrate very widely.
  • Migratory locust
    Migratory locust
    The migratory locust is the most widespread locust species, and the only species in the genus Locusta. It occurs throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It used to be common in Europe but has now become rare there...

     (Locusta migratoria)
  • Red locust
    Red locust
    The Red Locust is a large grasshopper species found south of the Sahara in Africa. Its name refers to the colour of its hindwings. It is sometimes called the Criquet nomade in French, due to its nomadic movements in the dry season.-Adults:...

     (Nomadracis septemfasciata)
  • Australian plague locust
    Australian plague locust
    The Australian plague locust is a native Australian insect in the family Acrididae and a significant agricultural pest....

     (Chortoicetes terminifera)
  • American desert locust (Schistocerca
    Schistocerca
    Schistocerca, commonly called bird grasshoppers, is a genus of grasshoppers, many of which swarm as locusts. The best known species is probably the Desert Locust...

     americana
    )
  • Brown locust
    Brown locust
    The brown locust, Locustana pardalina, is a medium-sized small locust species found in Southern Africa and shows classic gregarious behaviour with phase polymorphism) on crowding.-Biology:...

     (Locustana pardalina)
  • Moroccan locust (Dociostaurus maroccanus
    Dociostaurus maroccanus
    Dociostaurus maroccanus, commonly known as the Moroccan locust, is a grasshopper in the insect family Acrididae. It is found in northern Africa, southern and eastern Europe and western Asia...

    )
  • Rocky Mountain locust
    Rocky Mountain locust
    The Rocky Mountain locust was the locust species that ranged through almost the entire western half of the United States until the end of the 19th century...

     (Melanoplus spretus) in North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

     had some of the largest recorded swarms, but died out in the late 19th century.


Though the female and the male look alike, they can be distinguished by looking at the end of their abdomens. The male has a boat-shaped tip, while the female has two serrated valves that can be either apart or kept together. These valves aid in the digging of the hole in which an egg pod is deposited. Desert locusts can measure roughly 75 millimetres (3 in) in length.

In addition, a number of "grasshopper" species such as the Senegalese grasshopper
Senegalese grasshopper
Oedaleus senegalensis is a medium-sized grasshopper species found in the Sahel region of Africa, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands and West Asia. Although not called a locust in English, this species shows gregarious behaviour and some morphological change on crowding...

 Oedaleus senegalensis, and the rice grasshopper Hieroglyphus daganensis
Hieroglyphus daganensis
The African rice grasshopper, Hieroglyphus daganensis is a medium-sized grasshopper species found in the Sahel region. Although not called a locust in English, this species shows gregarious behaviour and some morphological change on crowding and may become a moderately important pest species for...

(both from the Sahel
Sahel
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south.It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea....

), often display locust-like behaviour and change morphologically on crowding.

Swarming behaviour and extinctions

There is no taxonomic difference between locust and grasshopper
Grasshopper
The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper...

 species, and in English the term "locust" is used for grasshopper species that change morphologically
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 and behaviourally on crowding, to form swarm
Swarm
Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour exhibited by animals of similar size which aggregate together, perhaps milling about the same spot or perhaps moving en masse or migrating in some direction. As a term, swarming is applied particularly to insects, but can also be applied to...

s or hopper bands (of immature stages). These changes, or phase polymorphism
Polymorphism (biology)
Polymorphism in biology occurs when two or more clearly different phenotypes exist in the same population of a species — in other words, the occurrence of more than one form or morph...

, were first identified by Sir Boris Petrovich Uvarov
Boris Uvarov
Sir Boris Petrovitch Uvarov, KCMG was a Russian-British entomologist.-Biography:Boris Petrovitch Uvarov was son of Pyotr P. Uvarov, a state bank employee, and his wife, Aleksandra. He studied biology in the University of St. Petersburg, graduating in 1910. He worked as entomologist in Stavropol...

, who studied the desert locust
Desert locust
Plagues of the desert locust have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. The livelihood of at least one-tenth of the world’s human population can be affected by this voracious insect...

, whose solitary and gregarious phases had previously been thought of as separate species. Charles Valentine Riley
Charles Valentine Riley
Charles Valentine Riley was a British-born American entomologist and artist.-Early Life:The son of a Church of England minister, Charles Valentine Riley was born on 19 September, 1843 in London’s Chelsea district. When he was around eleven his parents, the Rev. Charles and Mary Riley, chose to...

 and Norman Criddle
Norman Criddle
Norman Criddle, born in 1875 in Addlestone, Surrey, England, died in 1933 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, was an entomologist active in the early development of control strategies for agriculturally important grasshoppers in the prairie croplands of western North America, as well as a...

 were also involved in the understanding and destructive control of locusts.

Research at Oxford University has identified that swarming behaviour is a response to overcrowding. Increased tactile stimulation of the hind legs causes an increase in levels of serotonin. This causes the locust to change colour, eat much more, and breed much more easily. The transformation of the locust to the swarming variety is induced by several contacts per minute over a four-hour period. It is estimated that the largest swarms have covered hundreds of square miles and consisted of many billions of locusts. Plagues of locusts appear in both the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 and the Quran, including one of the biblical Plagues of Egypt
Plagues of Egypt
The Plagues of Egypt , also called the Ten Plagues or the Biblical Plagues, were ten calamities that, according to the biblical Book of Exodus, Israel's God, Yahweh, inflicted upon Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to release the ill-treated Israelites from slavery. Pharaoh capitulated after the tenth...

, where locusts ate all the crops of Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

.

The extinction of the Rocky Mountain Locust
Rocky Mountain locust
The Rocky Mountain locust was the locust species that ranged through almost the entire western half of the United States until the end of the 19th century...

 has been a source of puzzlement. Recent research suggests that the breeding grounds of this insect in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 came under sustained agricultural development during the large influx of gold miners
Gold mining
Gold mining is the removal of gold from the ground. There are several techniques and processes by which gold may be extracted from the earth.-History:...

, destroying the underground eggs of the locust.

In a paper in the 30 January 2009 edition of the AAAS
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

 magazine Science, Anstey & Rogers et al. showed that when desert locusts meet up, their nervous systems release serotonin
Serotonin
Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter. Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, platelets, and in the central nervous system of animals including humans...

, which causes them to become mutually attracted, a prerequisite for swarming.

Locust swarms and locust control

Swarming grasshopper have short feelers, or antennae, and hearing organs on the abdomen (rear segment of the body). As winged adults, flying in swarms, locusts may be carried by the wind hundreds of miles from their breeding grounds; on landing they devour all vegetation. Locusts occur in nearly every continent.

The migratory locust (Locusta migratoria) ranges from Europe to China, and even small swarms may cover several square miles, and weigh thousands of tons. Control by spreading poisoned food among the bands is very effective, but it is cheaper to spray concentrated insecticide solutions from aircraft over the insects or the vegetation on which they feed. They eat the equivalent of their own weight in a day, and, flying at night with the wind, may cover some 500 kilometres (310.7 mi). The largest known swarm covered 1036 square kilometres (400 sq mi), comprising approximately 40 billion insects.

A biological pesticide to control locusts was being tested across Africa by a multinational team in 1997. Dried fungal spores of Metarhizium
Metarhizium
Metarhizium is a genus of entomopathogenic fungi in the Clavicipitaceae family. With the advent of genetic profiling, it has now become possible to place these fungi in proper taxa. Most turn out to be the asexual forms of fungi in the phylum Ascomycota.- Species :Nine distinct species have now...

 that are sprayed in breeding areas pierce the locust exoskeleton on germination and invade the body cavity, causing death. The fungus is passed from insect to insect and persists in the area, making repeated treatments unnecessary.

Locusts as experimental models

Locusts are used as models in many fields of biology, especially in the field of olfactory, visual and locomotor
Animal locomotion
Animal locomotion, which is the act of self-propulsion by an animal, has many manifestations, including running, swimming, jumping and flying. Animals move for a variety of reasons, such as to find food, a mate, or a suitable microhabitat, and to escape predators...

 neurophysiology
Neurophysiology
Neurophysiology is a part of physiology. Neurophysiology is the study of nervous system function...

. It is one of the organisms for which scientists have obtained detailed data on information processing in the olfactory pathway of organisms. It is suitable for the above purposes because of the robustness of the preparation for electrophysiological experiments and ease of growing them.

The International LUBILOSA
LUBILOSA
LUBILOSA was the name of a research programme that aimed at developing a biological alternative to the chemical control of locusts. This name is an acronym of the French title of the programme: Lutte Biologique contre les Locustes et les Sauteriaux...

 Programme was set up to find methods of nonchemical control of locusts. Not only did it successfully develop the mycoinsecticide 'Green Muscle', but over its 12-year period, Programme staff also contributed a large number of scientific papers on subjects as diverse as fungal production, (bio)pesticide application
Pesticide application
Pesticide application refers to the practical way in which pesticides, are delivered to their biological targets...

, socio-economics and thermal ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

. Locusts thus provided a valuable "test bed" for better biological understanding and developing new technologies for microbial pesticides.

Related uses of the word "locust"

The word "locust" is derived from the Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

 locusta, which was originally used to refer to various types of crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s and insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s; English "lobster
Lobster
Clawed lobsters comprise a family of large marine crustaceans. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate.Though several groups of crustaceans are known as lobsters, the clawed lobsters are most...

" is derived from Anglo-Saxon loppestre, which may come from Latin locusta. Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 has mostly preserved the original Latin usage, since the cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 term langosta can be used to refer both to a variety of lobster-like crustaceans and to the swarming grasshopper, while semantic
Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

 confusion is avoided by employing qualifiers such as de la tierra (of the land) when referring to grasshoppers, del mar and del rio (of the sea/of the river) when referring to lobsters and crayfish
Crayfish
Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads – members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea – are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related...

 respectively. French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 presents an inverse case; during the 16th century, the word sauterelle (literally "little hopper") could mean either grasshopper or lobster (sauterelle de mer). In contemporary French usage, langouste is used almost exclusively to refer to the crustacean (two insect exceptions being the langouste de désert and the langouste de Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

). In certain regional varieties of English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, "locust" can refer to the large swarming grasshopper, the cicada
Cicada
A cicada is an insect of the order Hemiptera, suborder Auchenorrhyncha , in the superfamily Cicadoidea, with large eyes wide apart on the head and usually transparent, well-veined wings. There are about 2,500 species of cicada around the world, and many of them remain unclassified...

 (which may also swarm), and rarely to the praying mantis ("praying locust").

The use of "locust" in English as a synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

 for "lobster" has no grounding in anglophone
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 tradition, and most modern instances of its use are usually calque
Calque
In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word or root-for-root translation.-Calque:...

s of foreign expressions (e.g. "sea locust" as mistranslation of langouste de mer). There are, however, various species of crustaceans whose regional names include the word "locust." Thenus orientalis, for example, is sometimes referred to as the flathead locust lobster (its French name, Cigale raquette, literally "raquet cicada," is yet another instance of the locust-cicada-lobster nomenclatural
Nomenclature
Nomenclature is a term that applies to either a list of names or terms, or to the system of principles, procedures and terms related to naming - which is the assigning of a word or phrase to a particular object or property...

 connection). Similarly, certain types of amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s and birds are sometimes called "false locusts" in imitation of the Greek pseud(o)acris, a scientific name
Binomial nomenclature
Binomial nomenclature is a formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages...

 sometimes given to a species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 because of its perceived cricket
Cricket (insect)
Crickets, family Gryllidae , are insects somewhat related to grasshoppers, and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets . They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae. There are about 900 species of crickets...

-like chirping. Often, the linguistic
Natural language
In the philosophy of language, a natural language is any language which arises in an unpremeditated fashion as the result of the innate facility for language possessed by the human intellect. A natural language is typically used for communication, and may be spoken, signed, or written...

 nondifferentiation of animals not only regarded by science as different species, but that also often exist in radically different environments, is the result of culturally perceived similarities between organisms, as well as of abstract
Abstraction
Abstraction is a process by which higher concepts are derived from the usage and classification of literal concepts, first principles, or other methods....

 associations formed within a particular group's mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 and folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 (see Cicada mythology
Cicada (mythology)
Cicada lore and mythology is rich and varied as there are c 2500 species of cicada throughout the world, many of which are undescribed and remain a mystery to science...

). On a linguistic level, these cases also exemplify an extensively documented tendency, in many languages, towards conservatism and economy in neologization, with some languages historically only allowing for the expansion of meaning within already existing word-forms
Lexeme
A lexeme is an abstract unit of morphological analysis in linguistics, that roughly corresponds to a set of forms taken by a single word. For example, in the English language, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as RUN...

. Also of note is the fact that all three so-called locusts (the grasshopper, the cicada, and the lobster) have been a traditional source of food for various peoples around the world (see entomophagy
Entomophagy
Entomophagy is the consumption of insects as food. Insects are eaten by many animals, but the term is generally used to refer to human consumption of insects; animals that eat insects are known as insectivores...

).

The word "locust" has, at times, been employed controversially in English translations of Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 and Latin natural histories
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

, as well as of Hebrew
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 and Greek Bibles
Textus Receptus
Textus Receptus is the name subsequently given to the succession of printed Greek texts of the New Testament which constituted the translation base for the original German Luther Bible, the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale, the King James Version, and for most other...

; such ambiguous renderings prompted the 17th-century polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

 Thomas Browne
Thomas Browne
Sir Thomas Browne was an English author of varied works which reveal his wide learning in diverse fields including medicine, religion, science and the esoteric....

 to include in the Fifth Book of his Pseudodoxia Epidemica
Pseudodoxia Epidemica
Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Enquries into very many received tenets and commonly presumed truths, also known simply as Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Vulgar Errors, is a work by Thomas Browne refuting the common errors and superstitions of his age. It first appeared in 1646 and went through five subsequent...

an essay entitled Of the Picture of a Grasshopper, it begins:
Browne revisited the controversy in his Miscellany Tracts (1684), wherein he takes pains (even citing Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's Animalia) to both indicate the relationship of locusts to grasshoppers and to affirm their like disparateness from cicadas:
Compound words
Compound (linguistics)
In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme that consists of more than one stem. Compounding or composition is the word formation that creates compound lexemes...

 involving "locust" have also been used by anglophone translators as calques of archaic
Archaism
In language, an archaism is the use of a form of speech or writing that is no longer current. This can either be done deliberately or as part of a specific jargon or formula...

 Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, or other language names for animals; the resulting formations have, just as in the case of the Brownian grasshopper/cicada controversy, been, at times, a cause of lexical ambiguity
Ambiguity
Ambiguity of words or phrases is the ability to express more than one interpretation. It is distinct from vagueness, which is a statement about the lack of precision contained or available in the information.Context may play a role in resolving ambiguity...

 and false polysemy
Polysemy
Polysemy is the capacity for a sign or signs to have multiple meanings , i.e., a large semantic field.Charles Fillmore and Beryl Atkins’ definition stipulates three elements: the various senses of a polysemous word have a central origin, the links between these senses form a network, and ...

 in English. An instance of this appears in a translation of Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 included in J.W. McCrindle's
Digital Library of India
Digital Library of India, part of the online services of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and partner in the Million Book Project, provides free access to many books in English and Indian languages. The scanning of Indian language books has created an opportunity for developing Indian...

 book Ancient India as Described in Classical Literature, where an Indian
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 gem
Gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

 is said by the Roman historian to have a "surface [that] is even redder than the shells of the sea-locust."

Human consumption of locusts

Several cultures throughout the world are known to consume insects
Entomophagy
Entomophagy is the consumption of insects as food. Insects are eaten by many animals, but the term is generally used to refer to human consumption of insects; animals that eat insects are known as insectivores...

. Even Islamic
Islamic dietary laws
Islamic dietary laws provide direction on what is to be considered clean and unclean regarding diet and related issues.-Overview:Islamic jurisprudence specifies which foods are ' and which are '...

 and Jewish dietary laws
Kashrut
Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

, which prohibit the consumption of other insects, allow locusts and crickets to be eaten. See also: Kosher locust
Kosher locust
While most insects are considered to be forbidden by Kosher dietary laws, four varieties of locust are listed in the Torah as permissible. However, the identities of the four varieties are not completely clear.- Source in the Torah :...

.

Professor Arnold van Huis
Arnold van Huis
Arnold van Huis is a Professor of Tropical Entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.Van Huis also researches and advocates entomophagy, the human consumption of insects, and coordinates the research program "Sustainable production of Insect Proteins for human consumption"...

 at Wageningen University
Wageningen University
Wageningen University and Research Centre is a Dutch public university in Wageningen, The Netherlands. It consists of Wageningen University, the Van Hall-Larenstein School of Higher Professional Education, and the former agricultural research institutes of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture...

 in Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 says locusts can produce 1 kg of protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 from 2 kg of fodder
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

, compared to a cow needing 10 kg of fodder to produce the same amount of protein. Also of benefit, locusts do not produce greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

es and do not require antibiotics.

See also

  • Desert locust
    Desert locust
    Plagues of the desert locust have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. The livelihood of at least one-tenth of the world’s human population can be affected by this voracious insect...

  • LUBILOSA
    LUBILOSA
    LUBILOSA was the name of a research programme that aimed at developing a biological alternative to the chemical control of locusts. This name is an acronym of the French title of the programme: Lutte Biologique contre les Locustes et les Sauteriaux...

  • 1915 Locust Plague
    1915 locust plague
    The 1915 locust plague, which lasted from March to October 1915, was a plague of locusts that stripped areas in and around Palestine of almost all vegetation. This invasion of awesome proportions seriously compromised the already-depleted food supply of the region and sharpened the misery of all...

  • 2004 Locust Outbreak
    2004 locust outbreak
    The 2004 locust outbreak was the largest infestation of Desert Locust in West and North Africa in more than 15 years and affected a number of countries in the fertile northern regions of Africa.-Development:...

  • Australian Plague Locust Commission
    Australian Plague Locust Commission
    The Australian Plague Locust Commission is a division of the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, created in 1974 to manage outbreaks of the Australian plague locust, spur-throated locust and migratory locust in eastern Australia...

     (APLC)
  • Kosher locust
    Kosher locust
    While most insects are considered to be forbidden by Kosher dietary laws, four varieties of locust are listed in the Torah as permissible. However, the identities of the four varieties are not completely clear.- Source in the Torah :...

  • List of locust species
  • Live food
    Live food
    Live food is living food for carnivorous or omnivorous animals kept in captivity; in other words, small animals such as insects or mice fed to larger carnivorous or omnivorous species kept in either in a zoo or as pet....


External links

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