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Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 2, Issue 3–4, pp 167–178 | Cite as

Moroccan locust Dociostaurus maroccanus (Thunberg, 1815): a faunistic rarity or an important economic pest?

  • Alexandre V. Latchininsky
Article

Abstract

The Moroccan locust, Dociostaurus maroccanus (Thunberg), was traditionally considered as one of the most dangerous agricultural pests in the Mediterranean (s.l.) zone. Its broad polyphagy, extreme voracity, enormous fecundity and capability to migrate in swarms made it a major enemy of agriculturists from the Canary Islands to Afghanistan. However, outbreaks of the Moroccan locust seem to have been more frequent in the past and, in many regions, the species has become rare. Climatic factors, in particular the amount of spring rainfall, are critical for the developmental cycle of D. maroccanus. However, anthropogenic factors appear to have the most powerful effect on the locust's population dynamics. On the one hand, deforestation and overgrazing create the necessary prerequisites for colonization by the Moroccan locust. On the other hand, converting grasslands into croplands makes the habitat totally unsuitable for the insect because females can lay eggs into undisturbed soil. These two conflicting tendencies appear to govern the current evolution of Moroccan locust populations, their manifestations being different according to the geographical zone. Although in some regions (e.g. in many European countries) D. maroccanus has lost its formerly high economic importance, in others (North African and central Asian countries) the species continues to flourish and may even increase its pest status.

habitat anthropogenic factor population dynamics outbreaks Mediterranean zone. 

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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandre V. Latchininsky
    • 1
  1. 1.All-Russian Research Institute for Plant Protection (VIZR)St Petersburg-PushkinRussia

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