Difference Between Locust and Cicada (With Table)

Both these fascinating creatures are herbivorous insects with wings and the capacity to make noises. They both move in large groups. It is common to identify cicada as a locust as they might appear the same to the common folks due to their resemblances. They have few similarities, but they share many differences as well.

Locust vs Cicada

The difference between locusts and cicada is that locusts are perceived as swarming and consuming all plant life that comes in their way, but cicadas, even though they come in a large group, do not cause any kind of damage to the plants in their way. Locusts have long back legs, and they are longer and thinner than Cicadas. Locusts harm the harvests, but cicadas do not do the same.

Locusts resemble grasshoppers. They have wings and antennas. They are long with long back legs. They are noticed as the destroyer of the crops and plants. They eat and vandal the path of their swarm. They make a sound by rubbing their wings on the body.

Cicada is similar to bug. Cicada does not demolish crops while feeding themselves, but they tend to destroy the plants while laying eggs on them. They are big that make sound, and it possesses wings and very prominent pairs of eyes.

Comparison Table Between Locust and Cicada

Parameters of ComparisonLocustCicada
Family Locusts belong to the family of. AcrididaeCicadas belong to the family of Cicadidae.
TypeThis is a type of grasshopper.This is a type of bug.
SizeLocusts can be up to four inches long.Cicadas are generally two inches long.
Life spanOnce the eggs of the locusts hatch, they only live for three to five months.Once the eggs of the cicadas hatch, the cicadas become nymphs and go underground where they can live up to 17 years.
FoodLocusts feed themselves with the leaves and any other softer parts of plants. Cicadas consume the liquid that is available inside the stems, roots, and branches of any plant.

What is Locust?

Locusts are from the family of Acrididae and share similarities in appearance with grasshoppers. Locusts stay green before they reach their swarming stage. In this stage, their heads shrink, and their colour changes. They turn brown and black sometimes. They bear orange spots on their body. They can grow to 4 inches, and they retain two long antennae and long back legs. They make certain types of sounds by rubbing their wings on the body. It creates a buzzing sound.

Locusts are known for eating all kinds of leafy plants, soft parts of the plants and grasses. Sometimes they also consume from dead insects as well in case of inadequacy of fresh leaves. Locusts destroy the plants and crops in order to eat them.

A solitary female locust is capable of laying about 95-158 eggs, and a gregarious female locust is competent to lay around 80 eggs. Once the egg hatches, they are only able to live for three to four months only.

What is Cicada?

Cicada comes from the family of Cicadidae that is associated with bugs. Cicada can be divided into two types, periodical and annual. The periodical cicadas are black in colour and have bright red eyes, and the annual cicadas look very beautiful in their blue-green colour with the stripes pattern in black.

Usually, the cicadas are two inches long. They have big, yellowish-orange coloured transparent wings that protect the insects from water and as well as bacteria. A cicada is able to make sounds, and it can reach up to 100 decibels. More than 3,000 species of cicadas can be found.

A Cicada lives a long life. They lay their eggs on plants, and while doing so, they damage the plants. After the eggs get hatched, they become nymphs and shift to underground burrows. Most of their lives are spent like that. They can live for 17 years in this condition.

Main Differences Between Locust and Cicada

  1. Locusts are comparatively bigger than cicadas. Locusts can grow up to four inches long, whereas cicadas usually grow two inches tall.
  2. Locust belongs to the same family as a grasshopper, but cicada can be classified as a type of bug.
  3. Locusts mainly feast on the leaves to fill their need for food. They consume other softer parts of plants as well. And cicadas, on the other hand, absorb the liquid inside the stems, roots, and branches of different plants.
  4. Locusts destroy crops and plants completely to feed themselves, but cicadas do not destroy crops in order to eat.
  5. Locust swarm and destroy the path behind them, but cicadas do not swarm like locusts.
  6. After the laid eggs are hatched, the locusts do not live long. They live for 3 to 5 months after that and then die. But cicadas, on the contrary, lives up to 17 years underground.


These two insects, locust and cicada, share some similarities. Both share some physical features, such as both have wings to fly. Both of the two are capable of making buzzing sounds. They also have the same food habits, both of them feast on the plants, but cicada does not ruin the vegetation or crops while doing so. Cicada only consumes the liquid sap from the plants. Locusts, on the other hand widely known to destroy the crops that come on the way of their swarm.

Both can be seen in large groups, but they do not harm humans even though the group of insects seems aggressive and dangerous. The destruction caused by cicadas is not as serious as the destruction caused by the locusts. Even though cicadas damage plants to some extent while laying eggs. Both are fantastic parts of mother nature and very distinctively different.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9780230206472_13
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2406585
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