Australian plague locust

​The Australian plague locust, Chortoicetes terminifera, is the most important pest species of locust in Australia due to the large areas infested, the frequency of outbreaks and its ability to produce several generations in a year.

Description of an Australian plague locust
Biology and behaviour of the Australian plague locust
Distribution of the Australian plague locust
Embryonic stages of the Australian plague locust
Photos of Australian plague locust egg beds, egg pods and hatching
Plague locust habitats


Description

Adults

Adults of the Australian plague locust can be readily distinguished from other species by the large dark spot on the tip of the hindwings and distinctive scarlet hindleg shanks. Adult body colour is variable and can be grey, brown or green. Adult males measure 25-30 mm long while females are 30-42 mm long. See also: How to tell the difference between a male and female locust.

Adult Australian plague locust - green form
Adult Australian plague locust

Wing of Australian plague locust with dark tip
Dark spot on locust hindwing

Nymphs

The nymphs have five growth stages or instars.

Fifth instar Australian plague locust
Fifth instar Australian plague locust nymph

First instar nymphs are about 3mm long, pale brown to dark brown or black, and sometimes have a white stripe along the back of its first body segment just behind the head. At each stage the developing wings become more noticable and can be used to determine which instar a locust nymph is in.

First instar Australian plague locust 

1st instar

Second instar Australian plague locust
2nd instar

Third instar Australian plague locust
3rd instar

nymphscale

 Fourth instar Australian plague locust
4th instar

Fifth instar Australian plague locust
5th instar

Later instars are grey or brown and sometimes have a white stripe along the back. Further details about this species: Distribution, Biology, Locust and grasshopper identification guide