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Where do locusts live?

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Quick Answer

Found all over the world, desert locusts devastate Africa in particular, as well as the Middle East and Asia, and live in 60 countries that cover one-fifth of Earth's landmass. However, during swarms they fly vast distances; in 1954, one swarm flew from northwest Africa to Great Britain, while in 1988, another swarm traveled from West Africa to the Caribbean. Each locust can eat its weight in plants every day.

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Full Answer

Swarms can contain anywhere between 40 million to 80 million adults per square kilometer, with the swarms themselves ranging in size between half a square kilometer to several hundred square kilometers. They fly between 16 to 19 kilometers per hour, regularly crossing the Red Sea. Desert locust plagues occur intermittently, the swarms forming when food grows scarce.

Locusts breed in moist sand or clay soil, some bare areas and in vegetation. Locusts are also reported to be found in Australia and New Zealand; however, the Rocky Mountain locusts of North America have been destroyed, their extinction theorized to have been due to the crushing of their underground eggs. Cicadas are also colloquially referred to as locusts, though the two species are unrelated. Cicadas can be found in temperate-to-tropical climates and have been eaten all over the world, with females particularly prized for being meatier.

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