‘Adult Spotted Grasshopper’ in Manipur's Makhan village triggers fear psychosis

IMPHAL: The grasshopper which was found on the hillside of Makhan village in Kanglatombi, Manipur on August 6 has been identified as ‘Adult Spotted Grasshopper’ that found in Thoubal district on July 21, according to experts of Central Agriculture University, Imphal.

The expert’s team from CAU saw the viral video uploaded from Makhan village and identified.

CAU expert, Ibohal suggested the immediate need to take up precautionary measures in order to stop the spread of these insects in other places of the state.

Makhan Phenthonang, UGB School headmaster, said, “The villagers at Makhan have spotted these insects since the last one month, at the initial days these insects were small and very few numbers. But now insects are increasing in numbers and have changed their features. Looking into the situation, villagers contacted and informed the matter to the horticulture district head, but, the district head told them due to lockdown it is impossible to come and do fact-finding. District head instructed to spray insecticides. However, villagers are in fear of spreading insects to neighboring agricultural land and damage of crops. The insects are now at hill like the plain area but agriculture land is nearer like 200 metre to insect’s area.

Commando insecticides had been sprayed over, but not a single insect died. It is an emergency like situation for the villagers, before spreading in vast and destroying crops, the concerned department should look after the matter seriously, he added.

The video also shows bubbles on both sides of grasshopper mouth and very soft on touching, he added further.

Meanwhile, talking to CAU expert, Ibohal over the phone, “The grasshopper which is spreading at Makhan village is very much similar to the grasshopper in Thoubal district. Initial study reveals that the grasshoppers spotted in Makhan village are in the adult stage.

Notably, the situation has triggered a fear psychosis among the villagers of Thoubal district; they fear that these insects would destroy their crops in large numbers. Moreover, reports on locust attacks at various places in India have also triggered apprehension among them.

Nymphal stage of grasshoppers was feeding on the leaves of wild plants; it said this pest damaging cultivated crops is uncommon, said the expert.

Ibohal also said that black locusts originate from South America and the species was spotted in India in 2019 but for the first time in Manipur has seen at Thoubal district. Such species fall among other species like the desert locust, Bombay locust and Migratory locust, which travel in the swarm and destroy crops aggressively. “If it turns out to be a black locust, there will be an immediate threat to crops and vegetables. In large swarms, these locusts become gregarious and bring destruction to crops,” he warned.

He said black locusts or spotted grasshopper lay eggs on the soft ground and they can hatch quickly during the rainy season. One can spray Carbofun 3G or Fipronil 0.4G on their crops to prevent damage by these locusts’ species.

"Such spotted grasshopper is poisonous, don't even prefer to eat", he said.

The northern spotted grasshopper (Aularches Milliaris) are colorful, sluggish grasshopper found in South and Southeast Asia. The species are rare in some parts of the world. The grasshopper has been called by a variety of names including coffee locust, ghost grasshopper, northern spotted grasshopper and foam grasshopper. They are active in autumn singing and courting attractive females. Once the eggs are laid, the female dies.

When Aularches Miliaris is disturbed or grabbed, it emits a sharp rasping noise from its thoracic segments. If it is thorax is pinched, it also squirts clear viscous mucus with an unpleasant smell, faintly alkaline with many embedded bubbles.

Also Read: Doctor on COVID duty at JNIMS collapses due to exhaustion; video goes viral