A photo of the Formidable Pygmy Grasshopper (Notocerus formidabilis), taken in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve and uploaded to the biodiversity observation program iNaturalist, has been featured in a recent article in the scientific journal Nature.

The Formidable Pygmy Grasshopper is a rare insect endemic to the SAVA region of Madagascar; it was originally described in 1974 but never observed again — until three of these grasshoppers were photographed in 2007, 2009 and 2015 by Éric Mathieu of marojejy.com. By uploading the photos to the iNaturalist platform, Mathieu was able to collaborate with two Croatian researchers, Marko Pavlović and Josip Skejo, who were able to not only identify the grasshopper but also discover its unique coloration, which hadn’t been previously described. Mathieu, Pavlović and Skejo ultimately co-authored a paper in the scientific journal ZooKeys on this new discovery.

As noted in the Nature article, illustrated by the example of the Formidable Pygmy Grasshopper, citizen science through platforms such as iNaturalist can be extremely powerful in adding to our understanding of the world’s biodiversity.

Formidable Pygmy Grasshopper (Notocerus formidabilis)
Formidable Pygmy Grasshopper (Notocerus formidabilis)


Nature (29 May 2024): 21st Century technology can boost Africa’s contribution to global biodiversity data

ZooKeys (7 June 2021): The true colours of the Formidable Pygmy Grasshopper (Notocerus formidabilis, Günther, 1974) from the Sava region (Madagascar)

iNaturalist observation of Notocerus formidabilis

Check out more photos of the truly amazing biodiversity in Marojejy and Anjanaharibe-Sud in our photo galleries!

Marojejy Photo Gallery

Anjanaharibe-Sud Photo Gallery