Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Ethiopia - Stick Grasshopper

Took this photo of a weird looking Grasshopper. After a little bit of research I found they are called Stick Grasshoppers [Acrida] for obvious reasons. There are 40 species world-wide. Taking out the species outside Africa reduced it to 14. Taking away species not seen or recorded in Ethiopia I was left with three species - Acrida bicolor, Acrida herbacea, Acrida sulphuripennis. Looking at each species and trying to ID them through photographs proved fruitless to anybody but an expert as I cannot find any ID keys available on the net and they all look similar to the untrained eye. So I decided to look into the experts and their on line sites. There are no experts in the Horn of Africa. So the only time they are recorded is when other countries do expeditions there. By cross referencing experts from USA, South Africa, UK, Netherlands and Germany and their specimen records available on databases. I found that Acrida bicolor and Acrida herbacea were last recorded on expeditions in 1922. However a 2009 expedition recorded Acrida sulphuripennis as being abundant. So by a series of eliminations this is most likely but not definitely the Stick Grasshopper - Acrida sulphuripennis. And was seen on the Liben Plains grasslands 20 kms east of Negelle.

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