What Is the Difference Between Locusts and Cicadas?

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According to National Geographic, locusts are similar to grasshoppers, and are strikingly similar in appearance. Cicadas are an insect that look similar to a large fly, with short bodies, broad heads, large eyes and clear wings.

Cicadas and locusts are similar in the fact that they can be solitary creatures at times, but they may also appear in swarms. National Geographic states that locusts have a gregarious phase. When environmental conditions provide an abundance of green plants, this promotes breeding, and often the locusts form into large, ravenous swarms. These swarms can devastate crops and cause several agricultural issues that have been known to lead to famine and starvation. Locusts have been known to be most destructive in the principal farming regions of Africa.

Periodical cicadas generally do not form destructive plagues as some locusts do. Large swarms of cicadas can overwhelm or cause damage to younger trees; however, larger trees are generally able to withstand the damage. Cicadas are commonly known for the buzzing and clicking noises they make. Male cicadas make this noise, which is specific to this species, by vibrating membranes located on their abdomen. These noises may be used to either sound distress or to attract mates.