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Zonocerus variegatus (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae) is known as an agricultural pest in West and Central Africa. In this study, the effects of 13 single and eight mixed host plant diets on the survival, post-embryonic development and morphology of Z. variegatus in the laboratory were investigated. In each cage, 20 one-day larvae were provided with these diets and their survival monitored every two days, from August 2000 to September 2002, until all individuals died. Results showed that the number of larval stages varied from six to eight according to the diet. Six larval stages were most frequent. Development to the adult stage (complete development) was only noted with 52% of diets. All the mixed host plant diets induced complete development of Z. variegatus except that of Cajanus cajan + Synedrella nodiflora + Chromolaena odorata. Complete development was observed with four single host plant diets: Lablab purpurea, C. cajan, Manihot esculenta and S. nodiflora. Compared to leguminous species and Asteraceae, M. esculenta (Euphorbiaceae) was the species that resulted in the highest level of survival and development of Z. variegatus. Chromolaena odorata and S. nodiflora (Asteraceae) induced late appearance of the different Z. variegatus nymphal instars and the appearance time was shorter on legumes. The supernumerary stage 7 has the same color as the larva in stages 1–6, but this larva was significantly larger than stage 6 and smaller than the adult stage. These results indicate that legumes for short fallows affected the survival and post-embryonic development of Z. variegatus in the laboratory.