Phymateus viridipes Stal, aka Green Milkweed Locust or African Bush Grasshopper, belonging to the family Pyrgomorphidae (Gaudy Grasshoppers), is an African locust about 70 millimetres (2.8 in) long at maturity and capable of long migratory flights. Its body and forewings are green in colour while the hindwings are bright red and blue, presenting a striking appearance in flight. The pronotum, or dorsal area immediately behind the head, is covered in spines or carbuncles which are often tipped with red. The nymphs or hoppers are bright yellow and black and highly gregarious, forming large groups during this growth stage and are more or less polyphagous. As with other Phymateus species it raises and rustles its wings when disturbed and may secrete a noxious fluid from its thoracic joint. This locust feeds on highly toxic plants such as Acokanthera oppositifolia and Secamone alpinii. They congregate in large numbers on trees and shrubs, arranged in such a way as to resemble foliage. (see image)
Females of the allied species Phymateus morbillosus are unable to fly, despite fully developed wings.
Locusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae. These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory when their populations become dense enough. They form bands as nymphs and swarms as adults. Both the bands and the swarms are nomadic and rapidly strip fields and greatly damage crops. The adults are powerful fliers; they can travel great distances, consuming practically all green material wherever the swarm settles.
The origin and apparent extinction of certain species of locust—some of which grew to 6 inches (15 cm) in length—are unclear.
Locusts are edible insects, and are considered a delicacy in some countries. There have been references to their consumption as food throughout history.