Locusts often start to fly by jumping into the air. A decision to jump is not always accompanied by a decision to fly, but flight can result from the consequence of a jump setting up an air current to the head and a loss of tarsal contact with the ground. When in large numbers it is probably the contact with each other that leads to increased excitability, and when coupled with a lack of food leads to the swarms taking to the air. Many sensory clues can lead to this initial response; these include a looming visual stimulus, a shadow, a disruptive sound, or an air current detected by hairs on the head or the cerci. A wind stimulus to the head coupled with a loss of contact of the tarsi with the ground are the experimental stimuli most commonly used to evoke flight.
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