Large Conehead

Fast Facts

Latin name: Ruspolia nitidula

Notable feature: Only active at night- a large green species with a cream-coloured band across the top of the head. Both sexes have wings extending well beyond the end of the abdomen.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Where in the UK: First recorded on the Isles of Scilly in 2003 and then on mainland Britain in 2005- since then further records along the southeast of England. Naturalised- a scarce vagrant and accidental import.

Large Conehead (Phaneroptera falcata) © Gilles San Martin (Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Large Conehead (Ruspolia nitidula) is a large and slender bright green bush-cricket with a conical shaped head. A cream-coloured band runs across the top of the head and back through the eyes. The wings are the same bright green colour as the body. A black stripe runs down the tibia of each leg. They are a nocturnal species (only seen at night).

Their native range is central and southern Europe, where the species occurs on riverbanks and in other wet habitats with long grass. The Large Conehead has been spreading northwards in recent years – due to the change in climate.

  • Size: Body length- 32-60mm (3.2-6cm)
  • Lifespan: Larvae and adults are around for a few months.
  • Diet: Herbivorous species that feeds on a range of plants.
  • Reproduction: In mainland Europe nymphs (the young) are seen from spring and adults appear from July onwards, with records of adults from July to October.
  • When to see: In their native range in mainland Europe, adults are usually seen at night from July to October, in the UK this period may be shortened from August to September.
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Threats: None known.
  • Fun Fact: The sound/song they produce when they stridulate is described as a high-pitched electrical buzz.

How you can help:

Join a recording scheme and log your finds – send any records/sightings to the Grasshopper and related insect recording scheme for Britain and Ireland or download the iRecord Grasshoppers app and get recording!

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