TODAY -

Scientists identify new species of black grasshopper
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 24 2020: A new species of grasshopper found on a hill slope of Yairipok Khoirom, Thoubal district has been identified by a team of Central Agricultural University (CAU), Imphal Entomologist.

The new grasshopper species which is black in colour is said to be hitherto unknown in Manipur.

Taking serious note of the reports of detection of a grasshopper species amid the COVID-19 pandemic as reported and published in media/social media recently, CAU VC Prof M Premjit sent a team of scientists to Yairipok Khoirom to study the grasshopper.

Dr Khumukcham Ibohal who led the team of scientists told media persons that grasshopper species detected at Yairipok Khoirom is known as aularches miliaris/northern spotted grasshopper/ghost grasshopper/spotted grasshopper) and it belongs to pyrgomorphidae family.

As travel to Yairipok Khoirom was prohibited following the curfew imposed in the entire Thoubal district, samples of the particular species of grasshopper were collected from local farmers.

In addition to the study carried out by the CAU scientists, samples of the grasshopper were sent to Emeritus Professor R Swaminathan of Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur and Senior Prof SK Dutta of Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat.

It has now been confirmed that the particular grasshopper is known as ghost or spotted grasshopper and it is not as dangerous as locust, Dr Ibohal said.

Spotted grasshopper is different from locust.

Locusts generally migrate from one place to another in huge number.

They (locust) are naturally gregarious and voracious, he elaborated.

Locusts do not leave a place until the crops/plants on which they are feeding are completely devastated.

There have been many instances of locusts covering all the houses, courtyards and roads of a locality thereby posing serious challenges to human life, Dr Ibohal continued.

Of the different species of locusts such as migratory locust, locusta migratoria, desert locust, Bombay locust and patanga succinta, desert locust is most dangerous.

Invasion by locust was reported from Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Haryana in April/May this year.

There were reports of locust invasion in some parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

Spotted grasshopper which originated from South and South East Asia is not a very dangerous species.

In India, spotted grasshopper was first detected in Kerala before it was detected in Kamrup and Jorhat of Assam in 1960.But farmers should not commit the blunder of consuming spotted grasshopper as this species is poisonous.

Even though damage caused by spotted grasshopper on plants/crops is minimal, there are reports of spotted grasshoppers damaging paddy, pigeon pea, mango, betel nut plants, guava, coffee, coconut etc, Dr Ibohal said.

He said that all precautionary measures should be taken up so that spotted grasshopper found at Yairipok Khoirom does not spread to other places.

Light traps can be used for catching spotted grasshopper.

Fenvalerate 0.4 dust or Malathion 5 % dust can be sprayed on plants affected by spotted grasshopper at the rate of 25 to 30 Kgs in one pari in morning or evening when the plants and their leaves are wet, said the Entomologist.

It would also be beneficial if 25 to 30 Kgs of fipronil 0.3 G or carbofuran 3G are scattered in one Pari as spotted grasshoppers lay their eggs below the surface of earth.

This would compel the grasshoppers to leave the place, Dr Ibohal added.


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