Locusts are large grasshoppers that live on almost every continent of the world and are known for their propensity to gather in large, destructive swarms. However, locusts often live for several generations, spanning decades, in the solitary, sedentary style that’s characteristic of other species of grasshoppers. It’s when locusts come together that their behavior changes.
Locusts are able to sense when their population density begins to increase, said Hojun Song, an entomologist at Texas A&M University. And in response, “they become gregarious, attracted to each other. They eat more [and] develop faster,” he said.