2,742Grants to


Neorthacris acuticeps acuticeps (Neorthacris acuticeps acuticeps)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 200523342

Red list assessment of endemic grasshoppers of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India.

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 200523342) - Neorthacris acuticeps acuticeps - Awarded $5,000 on June 07, 2020

Grasshoppers are a major group of herbivorous insects dominating open ecosystems and often the most important primary consumers. They are sensitive to grassland management  and also known to be a suitable group for bio indication of grassland quality and restoration success. As many grasshopper species are flightless and endemic to narrow geographic ranges, they are sensitive to environmental change and exhibit a high extinction risk (Hochkirch et al. 2016). Most of the 1033 known Indian grasshopper species were de­scribed by foreign researchers and remains as a neglected group of insects. In modern In­dia, grasshoppers are considered as agricultural pests, the importance of such a significant group needs to be high lightened. The Western Ghats region including NBR is the type locality for some endemic grass­hoppers (Cigliano et al. 2018). The conservation status of the Indian grasshoppers remains as ‘Not evaluated”.

With the support of MBZ conservation grants we assessed the conservation status of endemic grasshoppers in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in various protected and non-protected areas across three southern states (Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) in India. The team surveyed protected areas such as Silent Valley National Park, Mukurthi National Park, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, South Wayanad forest division, North Wayanad forest division and Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary for a period of two years (2020 to 2022). This was the first ever redlist assessments programme conducted for endemic grasshoppers in India with the support of the IUCN SSC Grasshopper Specialist Group and MBZ conservation grants. For the first set of assessments, 26 species were proposed for funding as endemic grasshoppers (including crickets and Katydids). As the project work progressed, detailed fieldwork and literature survey evidenced that a few species have been synonymised; for example, Deltonotus humilis Hebard, 1930 is now a synonym of Deltonotus subcucullatus Walker, 1871 (Bhaskar et al 2020). The species list for the assessment proposal was prepared based on historical documents by the IUCN SSC GSG. With detailed taxonomic revisions and preliminary field works, the list of target species was updated to 28 species and a few species were replaced with taxonomically valid candidates from the previous 26 species list. The sorted species list has been updated in the IUCN Species Information Services (SIS), working set as target species for the assessment. The list included grasshoppers of the family Acrididae, Chorotypidae, Mastacideidae, Pyrgomorphidae and Tetrigidae.

An awareness campaign name ‘GrassHOPpEr’ has been initiated for the researchers, conservation leaders (forest officials) and students to highlight the significance of grasshoppers in the environment. The conservation leaders and front-line field staff were engaged in getting familiar with the diverse grasshopper fauna in their territory, they were trained to observe the grasshoppers in the field and to monitor their distributional status. The hands-on training was given in handling the tools used to collect and preserve grasshoppers. Extremely rare grasshopper species such as Deltonotus were selected as an icon for the campaign, and awareness materials such as T-shirts and stickers were distributed among various levels, from students to researchers

Project documents