Phymateus viridipes

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Green milkweed locust
Phymateus viridipes02.jpg
Feeding on leaves of Acokanthera oppositifolia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Family: Pyrgomorphidae
Genus: Phymateus
Species: P. viridipes
Binomial name
Phymateus viridipes
Stål, 1873

Phymateus viridipes, also known as the Green milkweed locust or African bush grasshopper, is an African locust in the family Pyrgomorphidae (Gaudy Grasshoppers). It is about 70 millimetres (2.8 in) long at maturity and capable of long migratory flights. Its body and fore-wings are green in colour while the hind-wings are bright red and blue, presenting a striking appearance in flight. The pronotum, or dorsal area immediately behind the head, is covered in spines or carbuncles which are often tipped with red. The nymphs or hoppers are bright yellow and black and highly gregarious, forming large groups during this growth stage and are more or less polyphagous.[1]

As with other Phymateus species it raises and rustles its wings when disturbed and may secrete a noxious fluid from its thoracic joint.[2] This locust feeds on highly toxic plants such as Acokanthera oppositifolia, Cascabela thevetia and Secamone alpinii. They congregate in large numbers on trees and shrubs, arranged in such a way as to resemble foliage.


Assembling on Euclea crispa
Display of warning colours


  1. ^ Cambridge Journals
  2. ^ Field Guide to Insects - Picker, Griffiths & Weaving (2004)