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Locust Life Cycle: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Michelle Jones

Michelle has taught at the elementary level and has earned a master's degree.

One of the most common sounds on a hot, summer night is the sound of locusts. You may have seen these insects as adults, but what did they look like when they were younger? Read this lesson to learn about the locust's life cycle.

How a Locust Changes

While playing in her backyard, Katie saw what looked like a locust, except it had no wings. What kind of insect could it be? Actually, it was a locust, just in a different stage of its life cycle. Like you, when locusts are young, they look like a smaller version of their adult selves. 20 years from now, when you're fully grown, you'll look different, but have many of the same features you had as a kid.

Locusts go through an incomplete metamorphosis, or change. This means that they slowly change their size and characteristics. Butterflies go through a complete metamorphosis, and completely change how they look from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Locusts are different because they don't look much different from one stage to another. Let's follow a locust named Larry as he goes through his life cycle stages.

Egg

First, Larry is in an egg and gets laid in a shallow hole called a pod. A female locust lays 50-100 eggs in a spot with warm, damp soil or sand. She then covers the eggs with a foamy liquid which will harden to protect the eggs. Depending on the temperature and moisture of the soil or sand, it will take anywhere from ten to 20 days for Larry to hatch from his egg.

A female locust laying eggs in a pod in the sand.
picture of locust laying eggs

Nymph

After he hatches from his egg, Larry is now called a nymph, a younger, smaller version of an adult locust with no wings. So, how does Larry get around? By hopping! In fact, this is how locust nymphs got the nickname ''hoppers.''

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