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originally posted by: seagull
Locusts happen anywhere. The 19th century here in the US swarms of Rocky Mountain locusts "blotted out the sun".
Some estimates given postulate numbers of locusts in the largest swarm at 12 TRILLION. Blot out the sun, indeed.
The cause of their extinction is unknown. It has been hypothesized that plowing and irrigation by settlers in the Great Plains, particularly alongside the Mississippi river, disrupted their natural life cycle in the areas they lived in between swarms. For example, reports from this era suggest that farmers killed over 150 egg cases per square inch while plowing, harrowing or flooding.:11–12 However, it appeared that this species lived and reproduced in the prairie only temporarily during swarming years, with each generation being smaller than the previous one and swarming ever further from the Rocky Mountains. Specificity of their life cycle during non-swarming years and natural habitat in the Rocky Mountains was never investigated, so the reason of their disappearance will likely remain uncertain.
Because locusts are a form of grasshopper that appear when grasshopper populations reach high densities, it was theorized that M. spretus might not be extinct, that "solitary phase" individuals of a migratory grasshopper might be able to turn into the Rocky Mountain locust given the right environmental conditions; however, breeding experiments using many grasshopper species in high-density environments failed to invoke the famous insect. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA from museum specimens and related species suggests that the Rocky Mountain locust was a distinct and now extinct species, possibly closely related to the Bruner spurthroat grasshopper (Melanoplus bruneri)./quote]
So, no one knows what happened to it for sure or why I guess, but it's gone.