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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

elegant grasshopper (Zonocerus elegans)

Host plants / species affected
Allium cepa (onion)
Amaranthus (amaranth)
Anacardium occidentale (cashew nut)
Ananas comosus (pineapple)
Brassicaceae (cruciferous crops)
Chromolaena odorata (Siam weed)
Citrus
Citrus aurantiifolia (lime)
Citrus limon (lemon)
Citrus reticulata (mandarin)
Citrus sinensis (navel orange)
Coffea (coffee)
Colocasia esculenta (taro)
Cucurbitaceae (cucurbits)
Daucus carota (carrot)
Dioscorea (yam)
Helianthus annuus (sunflower)
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)
Manihot esculenta (cassava)
Musa (banana)
Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)
Persea americana (avocado)
Plumeria (frangipani)
Solanaceae
List of symptoms/signs
Fruit  -  external feeding
Growing point  -  dieback
Growing point  -  external feeding
Growing point  -  frass visible
Inflorescence  -  external feeding
Inflorescence  -  frass visible
Leaves  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  frass visible
Leaves  -  shredding
Seeds  -  external feeding
Stems  -  external feeding
Stems  -  visible frass
Whole plant  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  frass visible
Whole plant  -  plant dead; dieback
Description
Z. elegans cannot easily be confused with other insects, because of its aposematic coloration. After hatching, Zonocerus nymphs moult five times before becoming adult. Nymphs and adults do not carry a yellow ring around the tip of the hind femur as is found in Z. variegatus. The first instar is only a couple of millimetres long. The sixth instar however can be between 300 mm and 450 mm. From the fourth instar onwards, small wing tips become, with each new instar, increasingly visible behind the pronotum. The size of adult grasshoppers varies between 300 mm and 520 mm. Males are slightly smaller than females. Nymphs are black with white-yellow markings. The adult colouration is unique; generally reddish olive-green. The antenna have alternating red and black rings. The face has yellow and black spots. All legs have a typical orange/yellow-black pattern. The outer side of the hind femur is orange-yellow, mostly with black upper and lower external areas. The inner side of the hind femur is orange-yellow, the hind tibia are orange-yellow. The pronotum is green-yellow and the elytrae are reddish olive-green. Adult Z. elegans abdomen show yellow and bluish-black stripes across the body axis. The relative sluggishness of Z. elegans is typical of aposematic insects. Z. elegans adults with normally developed wings are rather rare. Brachypterous adults cannot fly.
Prevention and control
An effective but laborious way to control Z. elegans is to dig out the egg pods. Adult Z. elegans migrate towards oviposition sites where they oviposit at high density leaving clusters of egg pods behind. Insecticides can be used to spray all instars of Z. elegans. It can be an advantage to spray early instars which are still aggregated around the oviposition sites instead of blanket spraying larger areas against adults. Hydraulic or ultra low volume spray equipment can be used for this purpose.
Impact
Late-instar-nymphs and adults of Z. elegans can cause serious yield losses over a 6 month period during the growing season. Debarking of cassava stems can cause problems in some areas, with provision of insufficient cuttings for planting (Nyambo, 1991). Economic damage is caused when Z. elegans attacks vegetables and other cash crops such as citrus, banana and coffee (Nyambo, 1991).
Related treatment support
Pest Management Decision Guides
Badii, B. K.; Nuamah, H.; Braimah, H.; CABI, 2016, English language
 
External factsheets
Integrated Pest Management Extension Guide, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, 2004, English language
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