This week’s find is a photo of one of a range of colourful foam grasshoppers that occur in Africa. If threatened, foam grasshoppers can produce a toxic foam that can be fatal to even a large animal that is foolish enough to eat one.

All foam grasshoppers sport vivid colours as it pays to advertise in colour that they are dangerous so as to deter potential predators. Their toxicity derives from their diet, from the poisons in plants, such as Milkweed, that they eat.  

The colouration of the foam grasshoppers (all members of the Pyrgomorphidae family) is incredibly variable. I think the one I photographed in our garden is an immature Dictyophorus spumans (Koppie foam grasshopper).  Grasshoppers in this family can grow to be as large as 8 centimeters (3 inches) in length. 

Posted by Carol

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