acrido-, acrid-, acris-
(Greek: grasshopper, grasshoppers; locust, locusts; cricket, crickets)
Around the world there are hundreds of species of grasshoppers; a group which includes crickets and locusts.
Grasshoppers are difficult to see in the grass where they live, but they can often be heard, since each species has a characteristic song, produced by rubbing the wings or legs together.
The song is used by males to attract females and, less frequently, by females to attract males.
An age-old adversary of humans, the locust came as a scourge on the land before recorded time. One of the earliest depictions shows the locust perched on a papyrus blossom in the tomb of Haremhab, Pharaoh of Egypt in the the 15th century B.C.
Locusts can stay aloft twelve hours at a stretch and with good winds, range 3,000 miles in their lifetime. And that's only one generation.
They breed as they migrate, so the eventual amount of ground covered by a swarm and its progeny is enormous.
There are no five-year locusts nor seven-year locusts, but America has a seventeen-year "locust", the cicada.
Secret of the Locusts
Where do they all come from? The centuries-old question posed by a locust swarm was answered in 1921 by Sir Boris Uvarov, author of Grasshoppers and Locusts, who discovered that one of the familiar green grasshoppers of the African and Asian bush is really the ravenous locust in another guise.
When repeated rains dampen the desert sands, thousands of eggs hatch. The hoppers constantly touch one another, triggering a change of behavior and color; they seek each other's company and turn yellow, black, and red.