National Geographic : 1914 Jul
© THE KING GRASSHOPPER (Hippiscus, sp.) This young king grasshopper is probably twenty days old and its wings have not developed, butitcan jump ahundred times itslength, whereas man can scarcely cover three times his length at a leap. When its wings grow and its internalair sacs fill with airitcansail away for miles. One species of this great family can sail for a thousand miles before the wind, and they go insuch numbers that they make acloud 2,000 square miles in extent. Its great front lip hides a pair of jaws as effective as a hay-chopper, andithas anappetite asvoracious asthat of a hippopotamus. This voraciousness and these jaws are what have made several of its relatives the plague ofmankind. They multiply insuch numbers as to baffle all calculation, and every living green thing for thousands of square miles disappears down their throats, leaving thecountry they infest desolate. The great famine of Egypt, mentioned in the book of Exodus; the grasshopper years ofKansas, which ruined thousands of families on our plains, and more recent devastations in Argentina and South Africa are examples of thetremendous effects which themigratory locusts have had upon the happiness of mankind. As this young king grasshopper stands looking so inquiringly atone with hisvaricolored eyes, each of which is composed of hundreds of facets, I cannot help thinking that he represents a creature quite asfascinating and actually more dan gerous than the East African monsters of our school geographies. It is hard to understand why he should live only asingle season, crowding the experiences of a lifetime into a few brief months. Photo and note by David and Marian Fairchild.