This is a two-color letterpress print that represents an individual Rocky Mountain locust, Melanoplus spretus, a representative of what was once one of the most numerous species in the history of the entire planet, and which once darkened the skies of the mountain west like thunderstorms. The only place to see a Rocky Mountain locust today, however, is either in a museum or weathering out of the face of a melting glacier high in the Beartooth mountains of Montana: the species is extinct. Even though their numbers were once sufficient to cover the geographical area of entire states, they were wiped out when settlers began to plough the high mountain valleys where they bred. In a matter of three short decades, the last swarm had disappeared. There’s a lot to consider and imagine about the lives of these wild insects, and I’ve written more about their natural history here.