The Grasshoppers and Crickets of Rushcliffe
Recorder: Roy Frost Send your Orthoptera records to:
66 St Lawrence Road,
In many ways the bush-crickets are easier to document than the grasshoppers but both would repay more attention than they curently get. There have been dramatic increases in the range of several species in recent decades.
Crickets and Bush-crickets
Oak Bush-cricket Meconema thalassinum Quite common but difficult to find as it is very quiet. Likes apple and oak trees and often comes to light - moth traps occasionally but lighted windows too. A stable population has existed in my garden for fifteen years or more.
Dark Bush-cricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera This species was reported from Bingham Linear Park in 2003 but has not been found since despite serious attempts. This would be the only Nottinghamshre colony if it could be re-confirmed.
Roesel's Bush-cricket Metrioptera roeselii A species that is extending its range in Britain; the first for Notts was found near Barton in Fabis in 2006 and the species is now widespread in grassy habitats including Cotgrave and Ruddington Country Parks.
Long-winged Conehead Conocephalus discolor Another recent and rapid coloniser formerly restricted to the south coast of England. The first for Notts was at Keyworth Meadow in August 2007 and others were found soon afterwards at Normanton on the Wolds. It is now present at Ruddington and Cotgrave Country Parks and probably many other suitable places. This and Roesel's emit distinctive, loud but ultrasonic songs that are readily transcribed to audible form with a bat detector making them easy to locate in the late summer.
Short-winged Conehead Conocephalus dorsalis In August 2011, the first of these for Nottinghamshire was found at Attenborough followed shortly afterwards by the first Rushcliffe record - on the East Bridgford side of Gunthorpe Bridge. Another northward progressing species though in 2015 it is not as common as Long-winged or Roesel's. Beware nymphs of Long-winged which appear to have short wings.
Speckled Bush-cricket Leptophyes punctatissima This species is a long-term resident and is believed to be widespread. It certainly occurs at Ruddington CP but its song is an ultrasonic and intermittent "tick" which is not very noticeable even with a bat detector. This species, like the Oak Bush-cricket requires shrubs and trees rather than grassland.
The 50s video above is of a Long-winged Conehead in Keyworth Meadow. The sound is from a bat detector tuned in to 40kHz. Without it, the song which you can see is made by rubbing the wing cases together, would be inaudible. You will need the most recent version of your browser as I'm using the video facility in HTML5. Sorry about the shakes! I'll try again with a tripod.
House Cricket Acheta domesticus A once common insect that is now virtually unheard of. One was found in a pub in Ruddington on 18th May 2011.
Slender Groundhopper Tetrix subulata The groundhoppers are tiny grasshoppers with a pronotum that extends over the abdomen. They are easy to overlook but seem to be not at all uncommon. I've found this species on the towpath of the Grantham Canal at Kinoulton.
Common Groundhopper Tetrix undulata This species is the more common groundhopper and I've found it at Keyworth Meadow in lush grassland by sweep netting. This species and Lesser Marsh Grasshopper are the only species of grasshopper at this wet meadow site.
Common Green Grasshopper Omocestus viridulus Common and widespread.
Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus Common and widespread.
Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelusCommon and widespread.
Lesser Marsh Grasshopper Chorthippus albomarginatus A recent colonist that is now widespread and perhaps the most common grasshopper in Rushcliffe as it favours tall, often lush grasslands.
Two other species of grasshopper; Mottled Myrmeleotettix maculatus and Stripe-winged Stenobothrus lineatus occur in Notts but not in Rushcliffe as the sandy habitats they prefer are not available.