In long germ embryos, all body segments are specified simultaneously during the blastoderm stage. In contrast, in short germ embryos, only the anterior segments are specified during the blastoderm stage, leaving the rest of the body plan to be specified later. The striking embryological differences between short and long germ segmentation imply fundamental differences in patterning at the molecular level. To gain insights into the segmentation mechanisms of short germ insects, we have investigated the role of the homologue of the Drosophila gap gene hunchback (hb) in a short germ insect Locusta migratoria manilensi by paternal RNA interference (RNAi). Phenotypes resulting from hb knockdown were categorized into three classes based on severity. In the most extreme case, embryos developed the most anterior structures only, including the labrum, antennae and eyes. The following conclusions were drawn: (i) L. migratoria manilensis hb (Lmm'hb) controls germ band morphogenesis and segmentation in the anterior region; (ii) Lmm'hb may function as a gap gene in a wide domain including the entire gnathum and thorax; and (iii) Lmm'hb is required for proper growth of the posterior germ band. These findings suggest a more extensive role for L. migratoria manilensis hunchback in anterior patterning than those described in Drosophila.