Scientific Name: Poekilocerus pictus
Tamil Name: Vettu killi
Description: The half-grown immature form is greenish-yellow with fine black markings and small crimson spots. The mature grasshopper has canary yellow and turquoise stripes on its body, green with yellow spots, and pale red hind wings.
Habitat: The grasshopper feeds on the poisonous plant Calotropis gigantea
Habits: Upon slight pinching of the head or abdomen, the half-grown immature form ejects liquid in a sharp and sudden jet, with a range of two inches or more, from a dorsal opening between the first and second abdominal segments. The discharge is directed towards the pinched area and may be repeated several times. The liquid is pale and milky, slightly viscous and bad-tasting, The color in nymphs as well as adults is bright and warning and is explained due to the presence of toxic alkaloids present in Calotropis they feed on.
Food: The food plant for this is Calotropis sp., especially C. procera, however it is known to attack many crops. the adults are also known to turn cannibalistic even in the presence of ample food – for reasons unknown
Life cycle: The eggs are laid in “pods” (each pod contains 70 – 200 eggs) during the monsoon months June to August, and the nymphs hatch around September. The nymphs are usually seen near Calotropis plants, and by October the adults are seen specifically on the food plant.
Role in the environment: Painted grass hopper is associated with the milk week plant- Calotropis gigantea.
Photo source: treknature.com/gallery/Asia/Pakistan/photo227080.htm