Journal Article Daily microhabitat shifting of solitarious-phase Desert locust adults: implications for meaningful population monitoring

Maeno, Koutaro Ould  ,  Ould Ely, Sidi  ,  Nakamura, Satoshi  ,  Abdellaoui, Khemais  ,  Cissé, Sory  ,  Jaavar, Mohamed El Hacen  ,  Ould Mohamed, Sid’Ahmed ’A  ,  Atheimine, Mohamed  ,  Ould Babah, Mohamed Abdallahi

52016-02-01 , SpringerOpen
The Desert locust Schistocerca gregaria is a major world pest that causes substantial agricultural and economic damage. Effective pest control relies on effective monitoring, which requires knowledge of locust microhabitat selection. Yet little is known about microhabitat selection of solitarious adult locusts in the field. We conducted field surveys to investigate fine-scale diel temporal and spatial distributions of solitarious adults in the Sahara Desert in Mauritania, a major breeding and recession area. We found that solitarious adults moved among different, specific microhabitats throughout the 24-h period in a cyclical manner. At night, they roosted in trees, moved to the ground to feed shortly after dawn, sheltered in low vegetation during the hot midday, and returned to the ground in the late afternoon. Hence, they switched microhabitats and plant species throughout each day. These cyclical daily movements among diverse microhabitats and specific plant species were correlated with time of day, light intensity, temperature, humidity, and specific plant species, and may relate to anti-predator defence, thermoregulation, and feeding. The present study suggests that locust monitoring should be adjusted, based on time of day, locust age, phase state and relative abundance of specific plant species. For example, we recommend surveying ground after morning and trees at night, for solitarious adults, when at low density.

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