Poekilocerus pictus

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Painted Grasshopper
Poekilocerus pictus.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Family: Pyrgomorphidae
Genus: Poekilocerus
Species: P. pictus

Poekilocerus pictus is a large brightly colored grasshopper from India. Nymphs of the species are notorious for squirting a jet of liquid up to several inches away when grasped.[1]


The half-grown immature form is greenish-yellow with fine black markings and small crimson spots. The mature grasshopper has canary yellow and turquoise stripes on its body, green tegmina with yellow spots, and pale red hind wings.[1]


The grasshopper feeds on the poisonous plant Calotropis gigantea.[1]

Upon slight pinching of the head or abdomen, the half-grown immature form ejects liquid in a sharp and sudden jet, with a range of two inches or more, from a dorsal opening between the first and second abdominal segments. The discharge is directed towards the pinched area and may be repeated several times. The liquid is pale and milky, slightly viscous and bad-tasting,[1] containing cardiac glycosides that the insect obtains from the plant it feeds upon.[2][3]

In the adult, the discharge occurs under the tegmina and collects as viscous bubbly heap along the sides of the body.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hingston, M. R. W. G. (2009). "The Liquid-Squirting Habit of Oriental Grasshoppers". Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 75: 65. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2311.1927.tb00060.x.  edit
  2. ^ Mathen, C; Hardikar, B (2010). "Cytotoxic compounds from Poecilocerus pictus feeding on Calotropis gigantea". Journal of experimental therapeutics & oncology 8 (3): 177–85. PMID 20734917.  edit
  3. ^ Wang, Z. N.; Wang, M. Y.; Mei, W. L.; Han, Z.; Dai, H. F. (2008). "A New Cytotoxic Pregnanone from Calotropis gigantea". Molecules 13 (12): 3033. doi:10.3390/molecules13123033. PMID 19052526.  edit