Density‐dependent physiological phase in a non‐migratory grasshopper Aiolopus thalassinus

Y. Heifetz*, S. W. Applebaum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Aiolopus thalassinus thalassinus (Fabricius) (Orthoptera: Acrididae) is a non‐migratory grasshopper of widespread geographical distribution, also endemic in the Tel‐Arad region of the Northern Negev of Israel, where it is liable to sporadically damage agricultural crops. Periodic sampling in uncultivated ‘batha’ and agricultural fields, conducted during 1990/1991, indicate that A. thalassinus populations exhibit seasonal fluctuations in density. Local spatial and temporal distribution, within this region, are dependent on food availability. Field observations and laboratory studies suggest that the local population of A. thalassinus exhibits genetic heterochromy unaffected by density. The duration of nymphal developmental is 34 days for nymphs reared in isolation, whereas crowded nymphs complete their development within only 21 days. No striking density related changes in gross morphometric features are evident, but, in adults from isolated culture, an increased abundance of sensilla coeloconica, presumably involved in olfactory chemoreception, may be functionally related to enhanced (23.6‐fold higher) activity of nymphs reared under crowded conditions. This higher level of activity is correlated to higher levels of energy reserves in the haemolymph ‐ lipids and carbohydrates ‐ and to increased respiration. Finally, the individual food consumption of nymphs from crowded culture is almost 5‐fold higher than that of isolated nymphs and may increase the potential for crop damage. These results are similar to those obtained with the migratory locust Locusta migratoria and support the hypothesis that non‐migratory grasshoppers exhibit some density‐dependent physiological characteristics of locusts, but do not exhibit overt chromatic or morphometric phase characteristics. 1995 The Netherlands Entomological Society

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • Aiolopus thalassinus
  • Locusta migratoria
  • Orthoptera
  • antennal sensilla
  • behaviour
  • food consumption
  • haemolymph carbohydrate
  • haemolymph lipid
  • morphometrics
  • phase
  • respiration


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