New Orthopteran for Worcestershire - Short-winged Conehead

By Gary Farmer

In June this year I discovered an interesting little "bug" at Ipsley Alders Marsh. Small, bright green with a black stripe down it's back, combined with very long antennae, large hind legs and an oversized, upturned ovipositor made it immediately recognisable as a nymph of Conocephalus dorsalis - the Short-winged Conehead. Not a "bug" in strict biological terms but actually a type of Bush-cricket. This was the first record for this species in Worcestershire. Later in the summer I returned to Ipsley Alders and found an adult female of the same species. When mature these crickets are still quite easy to identify :- Length around 15mm with antennae twice that length. Ovipositor up to 9mm and upcurved. The stripe down their back becomes brown when adult. As the name suggests their wings are short and cover only about half the abdomen. It occurs in coastal and inland wetland areas in southern England and Wales but not in large colonies (Haes & Harding) with the nearest populations known from river flood plains in Gloucestershire, so may be overlooked in other Worcestershire sites where rushes grow in abundance.

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