full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Jeffrey A. Lockwood: Are locust plagues unstoppable?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Desert locust eggs are laid in the damp depths of desert soil, in arid regions stretching from North Africa to suoth Asia. During the dry weather typical in these eetmssyocs, desert locusts live a solitary lifestyle. Adolescent hoppers will spend a few lonely weeks foraging for plants, before growing wings, reproducing, and dying. But when a region receives an abundance of rain, the scene is set for a sattilnrg transformation. Increased moisture supports more vegetation for newly hatched hoppers to eat, leading large groups to feed in close proximity. The frequent ccntoat stimulates their leg hairs, triggering the rsealee of a hormone that causes them to actively cluster even closer. Gluttonous cwdros of ltuscos produce huge amounts of poop, which cerrais a pheromone that furthers their transformation. The hopper’s diet shifts to include plants with tioxc alkaloids. Soon, the locusts take on a striking pattern that wnars predators of their newly poisonous nature. samlelr groups merge into bands of millions, which mow down vulaitlry all pnlat life in a kilometer-wide satwh. Roughly every week they shed and expand their exoskeletons, growing to roughly 50 times their hatching weight in just one month. Finally, the metamorphosis is complete. The adults beat their translucent wngis and take filhgt as a full-fledged locust swarm. In this grrguoaies psahe, these long-winged, brightly colored creatures appear so different from their striaoly counterparts that they were long thought to be a srtepaae species.

Open Cloze

Desert locust eggs are laid in the damp depths of desert soil, in arid regions stretching from North Africa to _____ Asia. During the dry weather typical in these __________, desert locusts live a solitary lifestyle. Adolescent hoppers will spend a few lonely weeks foraging for plants, before growing wings, reproducing, and dying. But when a region receives an abundance of rain, the scene is set for a _________ transformation. Increased moisture supports more vegetation for newly hatched hoppers to eat, leading large groups to feed in close proximity. The frequent _______ stimulates their leg hairs, triggering the _______ of a hormone that causes them to actively cluster even closer. Gluttonous ______ of _______ produce huge amounts of poop, which _______ a pheromone that furthers their transformation. The hopper’s diet shifts to include plants with _____ alkaloids. Soon, the locusts take on a striking pattern that _____ predators of their newly poisonous nature. _______ groups merge into bands of millions, which mow down _________ all _____ life in a kilometer-wide _____. Roughly every week they shed and expand their exoskeletons, growing to roughly 50 times their hatching weight in just one month. Finally, the metamorphosis is complete. The adults beat their translucent _____ and take ______ as a full-fledged locust swarm. In this __________ _____, these long-winged, brightly colored creatures appear so different from their ________ counterparts that they were long thought to be a ________ species.

Solution

  1. carries
  2. crowds
  3. locusts
  4. plant
  5. solitary
  6. flight
  7. ecosystems
  8. phase
  9. warns
  10. release
  11. contact
  12. wings
  13. startling
  14. toxic
  15. swath
  16. south
  17. smaller
  18. gregarious
  19. separate
  20. virtually

Original Text

Desert locust eggs are laid in the damp depths of desert soil, in arid regions stretching from North Africa to South Asia. During the dry weather typical in these ecosystems, desert locusts live a solitary lifestyle. Adolescent hoppers will spend a few lonely weeks foraging for plants, before growing wings, reproducing, and dying. But when a region receives an abundance of rain, the scene is set for a startling transformation. Increased moisture supports more vegetation for newly hatched hoppers to eat, leading large groups to feed in close proximity. The frequent contact stimulates their leg hairs, triggering the release of a hormone that causes them to actively cluster even closer. Gluttonous crowds of locusts produce huge amounts of poop, which carries a pheromone that furthers their transformation. The hopper’s diet shifts to include plants with toxic alkaloids. Soon, the locusts take on a striking pattern that warns predators of their newly poisonous nature. Smaller groups merge into bands of millions, which mow down virtually all plant life in a kilometer-wide swath. Roughly every week they shed and expand their exoskeletons, growing to roughly 50 times their hatching weight in just one month. Finally, the metamorphosis is complete. The adults beat their translucent wings and take flight as a full-fledged locust swarm. In this gregarious phase, these long-winged, brightly colored creatures appear so different from their solitary counterparts that they were long thought to be a separate species.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
desert locusts 3
desert locust 3

Important Words

  1. abundance
  2. actively
  3. adolescent
  4. adults
  5. africa
  6. alkaloids
  7. amounts
  8. arid
  9. asia
  10. bands
  11. beat
  12. brightly
  13. carries
  14. close
  15. closer
  16. cluster
  17. colored
  18. complete
  19. contact
  20. counterparts
  21. creatures
  22. crowds
  23. damp
  24. depths
  25. desert
  26. diet
  27. dry
  28. dying
  29. eat
  30. ecosystems
  31. eggs
  32. exoskeletons
  33. expand
  34. feed
  35. finally
  36. flight
  37. foraging
  38. frequent
  39. furthers
  40. gluttonous
  41. gregarious
  42. groups
  43. growing
  44. hairs
  45. hatched
  46. hatching
  47. hoppers
  48. hormone
  49. huge
  50. include
  51. increased
  52. laid
  53. large
  54. leading
  55. leg
  56. life
  57. lifestyle
  58. live
  59. locust
  60. locusts
  61. lonely
  62. long
  63. merge
  64. metamorphosis
  65. millions
  66. moisture
  67. month
  68. mow
  69. nature
  70. newly
  71. north
  72. pattern
  73. phase
  74. pheromone
  75. plant
  76. plants
  77. poisonous
  78. poop
  79. predators
  80. produce
  81. proximity
  82. rain
  83. receives
  84. region
  85. regions
  86. release
  87. reproducing
  88. roughly
  89. scene
  90. separate
  91. set
  92. shed
  93. shifts
  94. smaller
  95. soil
  96. solitary
  97. south
  98. species
  99. spend
  100. startling
  101. stimulates
  102. stretching
  103. striking
  104. supports
  105. swarm
  106. swath
  107. thought
  108. times
  109. toxic
  110. transformation
  111. translucent
  112. triggering
  113. typical
  114. vegetation
  115. virtually
  116. warns
  117. weather
  118. week
  119. weeks
  120. weight
  121. wings