Latin name: Metrioptera brachyptera
Notable feature: Usually its wings are shorter than its body
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Where in the UK: It is typically found in bogs, marshes, and other wetlands. Can be found at one site in Scotland and a number of sites throughout Wales and England
Bog Bush cricket (Metrioptera brachyptera) © Darren Bradley
The Bog Bush-cricket (Metrioptera brachyptera) is one of ten bush-cricket species currently found in the UK. It is a relatively large insect, averaging about 18mm in length but females are often slightly larger than males.
The Bog Bush-cricket is bright green underneath, brown along its sides and either brown or green along its back. Usually its wings are shorter than its body, and females have shallowly notched ovipositor.
In both crickets and grasshoppers, the hind legs are large in proportion to their bodies, and this enables them to jump really long distances. Bush-crickets can be distinguished from their grasshopper “cousins” as they have very long antennae – much longer than the length of their body. Grasshoppers have fairly short antennae.
Like other crickets and grasshoppers the Bog Bush-cricket stridulates (sings or makes a noise); crickets do this by rubbing their wings together, whereas grasshoppers do this by rubbing their legs against their wings. The Bog Bush-cricket makes a noise that is a soft but shrill buzz, like rapidly ticking watch.
- Size: 10-21mm in length (+ 10mm ovipositor)
- Life span: Annual life cycle; adults only live a few months
- Diet: Bog Bush-crickets are mainly vegetarian, feeding on buds, seeds and flowers.
- Reproduction: Bog Bush-crickets like to live in lowland peat bogs – they lay their eggs on Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea) and feed on Heather (Calluna vulgaris) and Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix)
- When to see: Nymphs hatch in May and June. Adults are generally seen from July until late autumn.
- Population Trend: A declined and declining species. In the past one hundred years a third of Scotland’s grasshopper and cricket species have become extinct. Will the Bog Bush-cricket be joining this number?
- Threats: Loss of habitat, in particular loss of raised bogs as a result of destruction and degradation through human activity.
- Fun Fact: The Bog Bush-cricket has a distinct chuffing sound when heard through a bat detector.
How you can help:
Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and the Bog Bush-cricket through specific projects, including our current Falkirk Lowland raised Bog Restoration Project and previous Slamannan Bog Restoration and Saving Auchenines Moss, but we need your help!
If you would like to volunteer for our current project please get in touch with our Peatland Conservation Officer Melissa Shaw. There are volunteering opportunities ranging from practical workdays to take out scrub and trees on the bogs, to survey work across the bogs for wildlife and to monitor water levels both before and after restoration work has been carried out.
Find out about our peat bogs and what you can do to help this species by going #PeatFree; check out our blog “Don’t get bogged down with peat…”
Join a recording scheme and log your finds – send any records/sightings to the Grasshoppers and Related Insects Recording Scheme of Britain and Ireland or download the iRecord app and get recording!
Do remember that we rely on donations to continue our work. If you have searched, found and learnt about our incredible invertebrates on our website, please do consider Making a Donation, Becoming a Member or maybe even making a purchase in our shop. For more ideas on how to support our work find out how to Get Involved. Thank you 🕷