Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are the sound of Summer, although living in mid-Wales we are limited to only 4 species, and one of those is quite scarce. Superficially they all look much the same although with practise most can be identified to species on sight.

Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus)
Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus)

However it is the songs of the males that get the most attention. Each species is quite distinct and they are one of the few groups of insect that can be identified to species without even having to see the animal. The Field Grasshopper (male above) is the main species of warm rocky places, his song a brief chirp that can be imitated by flicking a finger nail on the teeth of a comb. On a steep south-facing bank I photographed this female laying eggs in loose rock with a little soil.

Female Field Grasshopper
Female Field Grasshopper

The Common Green Grasshopper has a song that can be described as like the sound of a moped approaching, passing, and then fading into the distance. The males can be a variety of colours but the females, like the one below, are always green on top.

Common Green Grasshopper (Omocestus viridulus)
Common Green Grasshopper (Omocestus viridulus)

The other common species is the Meadow Grasshopper, the female is completely flightless with reduced wings, the male however still needs his forewings in order to sing. Although strictly speaking he is also flightless the males will open their wings and do a sort of half jump, half controlled glide.

Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus)
Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus)

With so few species and a cool climate in Britain we miss out on many of the predators of Grasshoppers and Crickets, I found this sand wasp Prionyx kirbii with a paralysed grasshopper in the south of France.

[Sphex albisectus
Prionyx kirbii