2000 - The Year of the Grasshopper. Your chance to help in a Great Leap Forward!

By Harry Green

The on-going computerisation of Worcs BRC records is enabling maps to be prepared for some smaller groups so giving an idea of the county status of species, or, more frequently, showing how short of records we are. Following on from Gary Farmerís articles in Worcestershire Record No 7 November 1999 maps were prepared (by Martyn Hodgson) for Orthoptera - grasshoppers and crickets - and they are printed in this issue. We were quite shocked to see how few records we have for this group, and how much of the county is blank. The shortage of records is unfortunate because some species have probably declined with the loss of unimproved grasslands, rough grassland, and the increase in mangled road verges, and general countryside tidiness

As the Worcestershire species are fairly easily identified, especially as late summer adults, so we think we should all try to help rectify the sad state of Worcestershire grasshopper and cricket records. We have therefore declared 2000 as the YEAR OF THE GRASSHOPPER and request that you hop our there and get some records!

To help you in this Gary has prepared a simplified key for the Worcestershire species which is printed in this issue. This excludes all the unlikely species and makes identification much simpler than following keys covering all national species. The availability of this key removes most of your excuses!

Also, Orthoptera are good subjects for photography because they are quite large and sit still if you approach with care. So if you have become tired of taking endless photos of butterflies and dragonflies we suggest you now concentrate of crickets and grasshoppers. If you get good photos Gary will try and identify the subjects for you, but please be sure to record date and exact location.

Also, if you need to fill the void created by the end of the field work for the butterfly atlas, fill it with grasshoppers and crickets! All those nice butterfly places are probably also good for orthoptera.

To help still further Gary is running an outdoor tutorial near Grafton Wood on 12th August. If you would like to attend please complete the enclosed booking form and send it to Gary so we can keep track of numbers.

NOW CONCENTRATE! - REMEMBER - 2000 IS THE YEAR OF THE GRASSHOPPER AND YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE PART! ENJOY - NEXT YEAR IT MIGHT BE EARWIGS.

Bibliography

BALDOCK DW 1999 Grasshoppers and crickets of Surrey. Surrey Wildlife Trust (This is far more useful than the title suggests - see Garyís article in this issue).
BELLMAN, H 1988 (English translation) A field guide to grasshoppers and crickets of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins.
BELLMAN H & LUQUET, GERARD C 1993 Guide des Sauterelles, Grillons et Criquets díEurope Ocidentale. Delachaux et Niestle (in French but excellent photos and sonograms)
BROWN VK 1983 Grasshoppers. Naturalistsí Handbooks No 2. Richmond Press. (This 64 page booklet in the well-known series is a very good introduction to orthoptera. With keys)
BURTON JF & RAGGE DR 1988 Sound guide to the grasshoppers and allied insects of Great Britain and Ireland. Cassette. Harley Books.
HAES ECM & HARDING PT 1997. Atlas of grasshoppers, crickets, and allied insects in Britain and Ireland. ITE research publication no. 11. The Stationery Office.
MARSHALL JA & HAES ECM 1988 Grasshoppers and allied insects of Great Britain and Ireland. Harley Books (the modern bible on this subject)
RAGGE DAVID R 1965 Grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches of the British Isles. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. Wayside & Woodland series (Older, but still very useful book).
RAGGE DR & REYNOLDS WJ 1998 The songs of the grasshoppers and crickets of Western Europe. Harley Books. (Currently available at reduced price from NHBS Mailorder Bookstore tel 01803 865913)
RAGGE DR & REYNOLDS WJ 1998 A sound guide to the grasshoppers and crickets of Western Europe . Two CDs 120 minutes playing time. 125 species. Harley Books.(Currently available at reduced price from NHBS Mailorder Bookstore)

All the books in print can be found on NHBS web site http://www.nhbs.com. and can be ordered over the net or by phone 01803 865913.

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