Skip to main content

Chemical Ecology and Olfaction in Short-Horned Grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae)


Chemoreception plays a crucial role in the reproduction and survival of insects, which often rely on their sense of smell and taste to find partners, suitable habitats, and food sources, and to avoid predators and noxious substances. There is a substantial body of work investigating the chemoreception and chemical ecology of Diptera (flies) and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies); but less is known about the Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, and wēta). Within the Orthoptera, the family Acrididae contains about 6700 species of short-horned grasshoppers. Grasshoppers are fascinating organisms to study due to their significant taxonomic and ecological divergence, however, most chemoreception and chemical ecology studies have focused on locusts because they are agricultural pests (e.g., Schistocerca gregaria and Locusta migratoria). Here we review studies of chemosensory systems and chemical ecology of all short-horned grasshoppers. Applications of genome editing tools and entomopathogenic microorganism to control locusts in association with their chemical ecology are also discussed. Finally, we identify gaps in the current knowledge and suggest topics of interest for future studies.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Data Availability

Not applicable.


Download references


The work was supported by funding from the Miss E. L. Hellaby Indigenous Grassland Research Trust. We thank Kambiz Esfandi, Kyaw Min Tun, Evans Effah, and Shogo Yarita for their critical comments on this review. We are grateful to Dr. Matthew Savoian, Raoul Solomon, and Yanyu He at the Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre, Massey University, for technical assistance and advice with a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

Code Availability (Software Application or Custom Code)

Inkscape 1.0.


Miss E. L. Hellaby Indigenous Grassland Research Trust.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



All authors contributed to the writing and funding acquisition.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mari Nakano.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

Not applicable.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nakano, M., Morgan-Richards, M., Trewick, S.A. et al. Chemical Ecology and Olfaction in Short-Horned Grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae). J Chem Ecol 48, 121–140 (2022).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Chemoreception
  • Chemical ecology
  • Acrididae
  • Sensilla
  • Volatiles
  • Chemical-mediated behaviors