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close this book Locust handbook
close this folder 4. Sahelian grasshoppers
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4. Sahelian grasshoppers

The Sahel covers an area from about 9N to 20N from the west coast of Africa across to Sudan in the east (in East Africa, Sahelian-type habitat extends north to about 24 and south into Tanzania, about 5S). It covers sub-Saharan semi-desert, dry savannah and dry woodland, especially Acacia. It is characterised by regular, but unpredictable rainfall and frequent drought.

The region includes the recession areas for the Desert Locust and is prone to invasion by both the African Migratory Locust and the Red Locust but it is the grasshoppers that are the major agricultural problem in the region. Many grasshopper species cause varying amounts of damage, but only a few have locust-like gregarious behaviour. The Sahelian grasshopper problem is a chronic one with damage caused in one area or another on an annual basis by different species acting together or on their own.

Only the eight most important species from over 200 species of grasshoppers that occur in West Africa and the Sahel are discussed here.

Little is known about the hopper instars of the various species and their reproductive behaviour, however, a general idea can be given of adult appearance, distribution and an outline of each life cycle.