Caribbean Hurricanes


, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 349-357

First online:

Hurricane-borne African Locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) on the Windward Islands

  • Richardson C. Howard Affiliated withDepartment of Geography, Central Michigan University
  • , Nemeth David J. Affiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Toledo

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The research applies a geographic perspective to the interface of biotic, atmospheric and socio-economic factors. Wind as a factor in biotic distributions helps explain the existence and quality of life on many isolated islands. In the late summer of 1988, there were reports of African desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria) invasion of the Windward Islands. The event was historically unprecedented, and agricultural experts in the eastern Caribbean were alarmed. A tentative hypothesis was that Hurricane Joan provided the transport mechanism. An alternative hypothesis is suggested here. The discussion helps explain why transatlantic African Desert Locust migrations are so unusual. Analysis is based on primary and secondary data sources that include synoptic weather maps, formal and informal scientific reports, written correspondence with agricultural experts in the impact area, and newspaper coverage of the invasion.