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Female Dark bush cricket - Steven Falk ©

Dark Bush-cricket

Fast facts

  • Latin name: Pholidoptera griseoaptera
  • Notable feature: Dark brown with short wings and long legs and antennae
  • Rarity in UK: Rare / Common
  • Where in the UK: Widespread in Southern England and Wales
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Bush cricket or Grasshopper? Bush-crickets have very long tread-like antennae.  They are related to grasshoppers which have short antennae.  Both have powerful hind legs for jumping though bush-crickets are less proficient, and both produce species specific musical performances.

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Hide and seek

Most bush-crickets are well camouflaged out of sight.  The Dark Bush-cricket is among our drab-species but is the easiest to see.  It basks in the sunshine on low vegetation, especially where broad leaves provide a platform along hedges, open woodland rides and other such edge habitats.  If disturbed, in a flash it races into hiding. You must creep-up on them slowly to see them properly.

 

A life in the undergrowth

From the egg, they hatch into tiny versions of the adult in the spring, and through successive moults gain adult size in late summer, and may be seen until October.  The adults have short wing flaps and cannot fly the female with a sabre-like ovipositor (egg-laying tube) and the male blunt-ended.

 

Fun fact

Male dark bush crickets make two kinds of chirps- a mating call to attract females and an intimidation call to ward off rival males. If a rival doesn’t back down, the two will ‘fence’ with their antennae and even grapple.

Male Dark bush cricket - Steven Falk ©

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