Image: Rocky Mountain Locust

Rocky Mountain Locust

Rocky Mountain Locust, common name for a species of migrating grasshoppers, native to the western plains and slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountain locust was yellowish brown with tiny dark spots on its wings. Once a serious threat to wheat and other cereal crops, the Rocky Mountain locust is now extinct; the last documented living specimen was collected between 1902 and 1904.

Prior to its extinction

Prior to its extinction, the Rocky Mountain locust was thought to be the most common insect in North America. Periodically their populations would increase dramatically, and great swarms of locusts would blacken the sky and eat everything in their path. This plague of locusts was especially serious in the years 1873 to 1877, when swarms of locusts ranged over one-half to two-thirds of the United States. Researchers estimate that ten locusts per 0.8 sq m (1 sq yd) can eat as much grass as a cow each day; during these major swarms, pioneers counted hundreds of locusts per square yard. By the early 1900s, however, the Rocky Mountain locust population had died out; any locust damage that occurs today is probably due to the lesser migratory locust. "See also "Locust.

Scientists hypothesize that the cause of

Scientists hypothesize that the cause of the locusts` extinction was habitat destructionwhen the bison were killed off and the prairies were opened up to plowing and irrigation. Scientists are looking for answers to the cause of their extinction by examining the preserved bodies of thousands of locusts found frozen in several glaciers in the Rocky Mountains. One of the most famous sites is called Grasshopper Glacier in the Beartooth mountain range in Montana.

"`Scientific classification"`: The Rocky

"`Scientific classification"`: The Rocky Mountain locust is a member of the family Acrididae, order Orthoptera. It is classified as "Melanoplus spretus". The lesser migratory locust is classified as "Melanoplus mexicanus atlanis"

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