Classification of locusts

Locusts are insects belonging to the same order as grasshoppers, katydids and crickets - the Orthoptera (derived from the Greek words orthos meaning straight or rigid and ptera meaning wing).

In Australia there are over 2,800 species of Orthoptera and over 700 species of locusts and grasshoppers. Many species are yet to be scientifically described.

The following table shows how three main pest species of locusts in Australia are classified.

Taxonomic category Australian plague locust Migratory locust Spur-throated locust
Kingdom Animalia Animalia Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda Arthropoda Arthropoda
Superclass Hexapoda Hexapoda Hexapoda
Class Insecta Insecta Insecta
Order Orthoptera Orthoptera Orthoptera
Suborder Caelifera Caelifera Caelifera
Superfamily Acridoidea Acridoidea Acridoidea
Family Acrididae Acrididae Acrididae
Subfamily Oedipodinae Oedipodinae Catantopinae
Tribe - Locustini Cyrtacanthacridini*
Genus Chortoicetes Locusta Austracris**
Species terminifera migratoria guttulosa
Subspecies - migratorioides -

* the Cyrtacanthacridini is consider by some taxonomists to be a subfamily of the Acrididae
** Austracris guttulosa was formerly classified as Nomadacris guttulosa

Further reading

CSIRO (1991) Insects of Australia. A textbook for students and research workers, Second Edition, Volume 1. (Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria).

Rentz, D.C.F., Lewis, R.C., Su, Y.N. & Upton, M.S. (2003) A guide to Australian grasshoppers and locusts. (Natural History Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu).

See also: Locust and grasshopper identification guide