Poekilocerus pictus- A Colorful Hopper

Poekilocerus pictus- A Colorful Hopper

 

Systematic Position:

Phylum – Arthropoda
Class – Insecta
Order – Orthoptera
Family – Acrididae
Genus – Poekilocerus
Species – Pictus

Introduction

aka grasshopper, Poekilocerus pictus also known as painted grasshopper. It is a polyphagous pest. This pest generally feeds on the poisonous aak plant, Calotropis sp., but there are several other hosts plants. The adult hopper is blue-black or greenish in colour with bluish- green strips on head and Thorax-Abdomen is yellowish with transverse blue-black bands. Forewings are red or bluish-green with yellow veins, while hind wings are hyaline. Antennae are bluish- black with yellow rings.

Global Distribution

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives Islands, Srilanka, Bhutan.

Damage:

It is primarily a defoliator of aak plant (Calotrophis gigantee). It damages the cereal and legume crops like wheat, cowpea, pea etc. Likewise, it damages the fruits crops like papaya, ber, banana, mango, guava, melon, peach, citrus. It also damages the vegetables like: okra, brinjal etc. Both adult and nymphs are voracious eaters. When the natural food (e.g Calotropis) may become depleted by near total defoliation, the insects, in search of alternative food, may invade crop, causing more or less appreciable, but generally localized damage. Population of both nymphs and adults were recorded as high as above 100 grasshoppers per plant. After this main host was defoliated it migrated to other hosts like hibiscus and sesamum. They defoliate the plant. In severe infestation they even eat the bark of the papaya tree. The infestation starts in April and continues till October. Maximum damage is caused during July-August.

Life History:

Male and female mates after emergence, Mating lasts for 5-7 hours. Female starts laying egg three to four weeks after mating, for egg lying female thrust its abdomen deep into the soil and deposit 145 to 170 eggs, about 18-20 cm beneath the surface. The eggs are orange coloured, elongated and are laid in spiral fashion. Female covers the egg mass with frothy secretion. During autumn the nymph hatches out from the eggs in about a month and become adult in 55 to 60 days. The eggs lie in September-November hatches into nymph after about four months and become adult after a nymphal period of about 2.5 months.

Control

  • Garlic Barrier can be applied throughout the growing area and is a general repellent used to deter pests from garden, field or pasture.
  • Eliminate tall grass and weeds from around any plants you wish to protect (crops, trees and gardens.
  • Dusting of trees with 5% BHC or Spraying with 0.03% lindane or 0.05% chlordane or 0.1% malathion.
Babi Basnet
Agriculture Knowledge Center Solukhumbu, Nepal

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