7.08.2020

It's possible that the African Dust can bring back the Rocky Mountain Locust

The Rocky Mountain Locust is an extinct species of American Locust whose huge swarms ravaged fields in various states in the centuries prior.

"Because locusts are a form of grasshopper that appear when grasshopper populations reach high densities, it was theorized that M. spretus might not be extinct, that "solitary phase" individuals of a migratory grasshopper might be able to turn into the Rocky Mountain locust given the right environmental conditions; however, breeding experiments using many grasshopper species in high-density environments failed to invoke the famous insect."

It appears that certain genes need to be reintroduced to local grasshopper populations to invoke swarming as seen with locust species.

"It has been hypothesized that plowing and irrigation by settlers as well as trampling by cattle and other farm animals near streams and rivers in the Rocky Mountains destroyed their eggs in the areas they permanently lived, which ultimately caused their demise.[14] For example, reports from this era suggest that farmers killed over 150 egg cases per square inch while plowing, harrowing or flooding.[14]:11–12 It appeared that this species lived and reproduced in the prairie only temporarily during swarming years, with each generation being smaller than the previous one and swarming ever further from the Rocky Mountains,[15] while the permanent breeding grounds of this species seemed to be restricted to an area somewhere between 3 to 3,000 square miles of sandy soils near streams and rivers in the Rockies, which coincided with arable and pastoral lands exploited by settlers.[14]"

The Rocky Mountain Locust can come back.  Especially with the rise of national parks, national forests, and the like - This will provide a perfect breeding ground for the species to make a comeback.


Rocky Mountain Locust Habitat coincides with State and National Protected Land

"They also switched to such resilient crops as winter wheat, which matured in the early summer, before locusts were able to migrate. These new agricultural practices effectively reduced the threat of locusts and greatly contributed to the species' downfall.[13]"

Farmers adapted at the time by switching to growing early season crops to deter locust spread.  However in America currently in the 21st century much more corn is grown than winter wheat leaving us open to another outbreak.

"Breeding in sandy areas and thriving in hot and dry conditions, they were often guaranteed a good food supply by prairie plants which concentrate sugars in their stalks in times of drought. Movement of the locusts was probably assisted by a low-level jet stream that persists through much of central North America.[citation needed]"

We are currently in a major drought in 2020 This means the conditions in north America are now ripe for another locust infestation.


Locusts bury their eggs only 1-4 inches underground, very commonly in sand. Recall that locusts have been swarming in huge numbers in africa and laying massive amounts of eggs recently. We know that with strong winds in africa these eggs could easily be excavated and carried by the winds to the north american continent as we have seen in the past weeks.


It may only be a matter of time before local populations of african locust interbreed with populations of solitary grasshoppers in america, and introduce genes needed for swarming and thus the comeback of the Rocky Mountain Locust.  With the advent and rise of areas in the rockies and elsewhere where people cannot till the land or graze cattle like the national parks, we may already be on borrowed time before the next locust outbreaks on the american continent.

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