Extending her abdomen to about twice its normal length, a female locust deposits a pod of some 70 rice-size eggs four inches deep in moist sand.
Sensors at the end of her tail test moisture, salinity, temperature, and the softness of the ground to ensure that conditions are proper for laying her eggs.
To hatch, the eggs must absorb their weight in water, ideally in the first five days. During the last weeks of her four-month life, the gregarious female lays three times, usually a total of about 200 eggs.
Big-eyed hoppers hatch from the warm sands. The locusts promptly shed their natal skins, turn dark after about two hours in the sun, and within a few days they begin to move off in dense swarms.