Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket

Fast Facts

Latin name: Phaneroptera falcata

Notable feature: Yellow/Green with very long wings.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

Where in the UK: South-east England. Non-native species.

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket (Phaneroptera falcata) © Gilles San Martin (Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket (Phaneroptera falcata) has appeared in the UK since the late 19th century as a vagrant or accidental introduction. After being recorded in 2009 at Dungeness, a breeding colony was discovered in 2015 that continues to persist today.

In 2016, the species was found at the Devil’s Kneading-trough in the Wye National Nature Reserve near Ashford. The Wye population is still present. Further spread is likely and may already be taking place. There have been further recordings of the species south of Ashford in 2020 and in Postling Down, Folkestone Warren and the Isle of Grain in 2022.

The species has yellow-green colouring with long wings. Their forewings reach the hind knees, and their hindwings are noticeably longer, extending much further. Their ovipositor is short, broad and sharply upturned.

  • Size: 24-36mm (2.4-3.6cm), including wings
  • Lifespan: Nymphs emerge in the spring, becoming adult by July and adults last until October. Adult lifespan around 3 months.
  • Diet: Herbivorous.
  • Reproduction: The female responds to the male’s song with a brief call of her own. The male follows this to find her. Coupling lasts for around 5 min and, like other bush-crickets, the male transfers a large spermatophore (sperm packet), which represents around 13% of his body mass. Both sexes mate with multiple partners over the season. The female uses her upturned ovipositor to insert eggs along the edge of living leaves.
  • When to see: Most common in scrub and grassland but can also be found in shrubbery and in sand pits and gardens. Enjoys warmth and is most active in the late afternoon and evening and at night (males typically call 3 hours after sunset). Adults are present from July onwards.
  • Population Trend: Stable
  • Threats: Not known.
  • Fun Fact: Their call is a short and sharp tzzp.. tzzp.. – which can be quite hard to identify.

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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