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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Pneumoridae (bladder grasshoppers)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Phylum: Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Polyneoptera > Anartioptera > Orthopterida > Orthoptera > Caelifera > Acrididea > Acridomorpha > Acridoidea

All nine genera and 17 species of bladder grasshoppers occur in southern Africa and all except one species are endemic to this region. The one exception is Physophorina livingstonii, which has a distribution extending from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Angola to Tanzania. Within southern Africa, most of the species occur in the fynbos and Namaqualand (Northern Cape). The most distinctive feature of this family is the hugely inflated abdomen of the male, used in amplifying the sound it makes by rubbing a line of ridges on the inside of its hind-femur against a crescent-shaped line of ridges on the side of the abdomen. This method of sound production produces a very loud noise that can be heard up to 1.9 km away (van Staaden & Römer, 1997).


Genera native to southern Africa

List from Orthoptera Species File.


Seven species, all endemic to southern Africa.


One species, Parabullacris vansoni, endemic to southern Africa.


One species, Paraphysemacris spinosus, endemic to southern Africa.


One species, Peringueyacris namaqua, endemic to southern Africa.


Two species: Physemacris papillosa and Physemacris variolosa, both endemic to southern Africa.


Two species: Physophorina livingstonii (Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique northwards to Tanzania) and Physophorina miranda (endemic to southern Africa).


One species, Pneumora inanis, endemic to southern Africa.


One species, Pneumoracris browni, endemic to southern Africa.


One species, Prostalia granulata, endemic to southern Africa.



  • Dirsh, V.M. 1965. Revision of the family Pneumoridae (Orthoptera: Acridoidea). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology 15: 325-396.

  • Eades DC, Otte D, Cigliano MM, Braun H. Orthoptera Species File. Version 5.0/5.0. [retrieved 7 July 2013].
  • Van Staaden, M.J. & Römer, H. 1997. Sexual signalling in bladder grasshoppers: tactical design for maximizing calling range. Journal of Experimental Biology 200: 2597-2608