This pictorial guide is designed to assist with the identification of locusts and grasshoppers of economic importance in Australia. The Family Acrididae, to which they all belong, has over 700 species in Australia alone (see classification of locusts).
Fourteen species or species groups have been chosen here to either represent the actual economic species, or less important species that appear similar enough to cause confusion (list of species covered by the guide).
The primary identification tools in this current guide are the pictures. Pictures of both the adult and a nymph (hopper), usually half way through its development, appear for every entry. For some species, such as the Australian plague locust, the colour shown in a single photograph may not be diagnostic, as both adults and nymphs can be green or brown.
The membranous hind wings of grasshoppers often have colours and patterns unique to a species, and so the open wings are illustrated for all adults. The nymph description pages also show a distribution map for that species.
The text is organised around a general description, followed by features to avoid confusion with the Australian plague locust or another economic species. Each entry ends with a description of the particular features, that in combination, make the species unique. The general size of the adults of each species is indicated in the text as this can often be useful to differentiate between species.
Also provided are pages which allow users to directly compare photos of the three economically important species (Australian plague locust, spur-throated locust and migratory locust) with species that they are most likely to be confused with. Major differences between the adults and nymphs are listed to assist with identification.