Blistered Pyrgomorph Fact File
The blistered pyrgomorph is a species of grasshopper. Their body is black and is covered with a range of red, white or orange spots which give rise to the blistered name. These bold colors aim to warn predators that they taste unpleasant to eat.
On top of the head are a pair of relatively long antennae known as horns.
Adults only develop a pair of small wings which render them incapable of flight but oddly on occasion one is found which has full wings and is able to fly.
As an insect they have six legs with three on either side of the body. The back pair of legs are larger and are used to push the insect forward when it hops.
Females are almost twice the size of the male. A blistered pyrgomorph may measure up to 6.5cm (2.5in) long for the female while males average 2cm (0.8in) long.
Blistered pyrgomorphs are herbivores. They feed on a range of shoots and leaves from plants such as the emu, poverty or turkey bush.
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Australia is the native home of the blistered pyrgomorph. Here they are mainly found in the interior of the country. Their range covers parts of South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Blistered pyrgmorphs can be found in arid areas.
Males attach to the back of the females during mating and may remain here for long periods of time.
Following a successful mating the female blistered pyrgomorph will dig her abdomen in to the ground and deposit her eggs. Each cluster of eggs is covered with foam.
Hatching occurs 2-4 months after the eggs are laid. This is often triggered by a cold snap. Eggs may take longer to hatch and it is possible for the same clutch of eggs to take many months for all of them to hatch.
The blistered pyrgomoprh is a fairly sluggish grasshopper and typically walks rather than hops around.
Predators and Threats
Natural predators include birds such as ibis. They are also a victim of a mite which becomes a parasite on them.
When threatened they raise up the wing flaps to display bright red which warns predators that they taste foul and should not be eaten. This taste comes from the plants which they eat.
They may eat plants in human gardens which may lead to poisoning by pesticides.
This species is also known as the blistered grasshopper or inland painted grasshopper.
By Masteraah, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15713032
Middle and Bottom
By Mark Marathon – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36422613
Ambrose, J., 2015. Wildlife Of The World. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley, p.
Australian-insects.com. 2020. Blistered Grasshopper | Australian Insects Website. [online] Available at: <https://www.australian-insects.com/blistered-grasshopper.php> [Accessed 1 December 2020].
Life in a Southern Forest. 2020. Travel — Life In A Southern Forest. [online] Available at: <https://southernforestlife.net/travel> [Accessed 1 December 2020].
Australia, A., 2020. Species: Monistria Pustulifera (Blistered Pyrgomorph). [online] Bie.ala.org.au. Available at: <https://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.taxon:ca83424b-cbd2-4c38-84d9-061ad73e6be5> [Accessed 1 December 2020].
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