Stinksprinkaan - Phymateus leprosus - Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper

Rina Greeff

Jansenville, South Africa

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Artist's Description

A Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper or Bush Locust nymph (adults have fully developed wings) in our garden at Jansenville in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
’n Stinksprinkaan-nimf in ons tuin op Jansenville.

Phymateus leprosus is one of the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers or Gaudy Grasshoppers in the family Pyrgomorphidae.. Some species at maturity are capable of long migratory flights. They raise and rustle wings when disturbed and may secrete a noxious fluid from the thoracic joint. These locusts feed on highly toxic plants and usually congregate in large numbers on trees and shrubs, arranged in such a way as to resemble foliage.
Phymateus leprosus occurs in the wild bush and scrubland of the coastal belt of South Africa and at times invades farm lands, damaging citrus trees, pumpkins and other crops.

The eggs are laid in the ground from June to August and do not hatch until March-May of the following year. The development of the hoppers extends over 12-13 months, and the adults live for several months, so that the full cycle occupies two years. The hoppers of all ages are gregarious and cluster together on low shrubs; they also undertake migrations in close narrow columns.
Both hoppers and adults emit an offensive smell when caught and are not eaten by birds. This offensive smell produced has earned it the Afrikaans name of ‘stink-sprinkaan’, which means Smelly Grasshopper.
Phymateus viridipes is ook in die volksmond bekend as die stinksprinkaan. Dit is giftig en kan die dood veroorsaak indien dit geëet word. Hierdie spesie kan ‘n plaag word veral op jong plante en veroorsaak skade aan sitrusplante in die Oos-Kaap van Suid-Afrika, vandaar die ou boerenaam van Addo-sprinkaan.

Camera: CanonEOS 500D Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens

Artwork Comments

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  • Rina Greeff
  • Maree  Clarkson
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  • Jo Nijenhuis
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  • MotherNature
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