Rocky Mountain Locust

February 2021

Rocky Mountain Locust

Melanoplus spretus
This now extinct insect once formed swarms trillions of individuals strong that ravaged farms in the Western United States in the 19th century. Even though the last Rocky Mountain locust seen alive was collected in 1902, biologists can still collect fragments melting out of glaciers in some high mountain passes in Montana. The rapid disappearance of this ubiquitous insect was a mystery at the time and the exact causes are still debated to this day. The Mississippi Entomological Museum holds several specimens of this extinct species in is growing grasshopper collection and has several specimens collected from glaciers on loan from the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.


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