The Orthoptera (Grasshoppers and Crickets) of Worcestershire

By Gary Farmer

The discovery of Conocephalus dorsalis takes the number of Orthoptera recorded in Worcestershire to 15 species. These can be broken down into three groups :-

Grasshoppers (5 species)
Groundhoppers (2 species)
Crickets (8 species)


Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus) Our commonest Orthopteran, found all over Worcestershire in virtually any grassland.
Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus) Another common species but preferring dryer open sites including road verges.
Lesser Marsh Grasshopper (Chorthippus albomarginatus) An under recorded species probably due to its' similarity to C. parallelus. Found in damp grassland. Big colonies occur around Grafton Wood and at Upton Warren NR.
Common Green Grasshopper (Omocestus viridulus) Despite its name this is not very often encountered in the county. Found in unimproved grassland.
Mottled Grasshopper (Myrmeleotettix maculatus) Requires maximum sun and so prefers dry, open sites with broken patches of grass, also Heathland. Recently found along the Malvern Hills. A good population exists at Hartlebury Common.


Common Groundhopper (Tetrix undulata) Easily overlooked. Found in woodlands around the county.
Slender Groundhopper (tetrix subulata) Again, easily overlooked. widespread but not so common as T. undulata. A large colony exists in and around Grafton Wood.


Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera) The cricket most likely to be encountered in Worcestershire. Found in woodland and hedgerows.
Speckled Bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatisima) More easily overlooked than P. griseoaptera but still quite common in our woodlands. Tiddesley Wood and the Wyre Forest hold good populations.
Oak Bush-cricket (Meconema thalassinum) Most reports of this species come from bathrooms! The reason being that they live in tree tops and during their nocturnal flights they are drawn to light and so enter houses.
Great-green Bush-cricket (Tettigonia viridissima) WBRC hold a few old records for this species. My closest record is from the Chippenham by-pass. May be these new road "corridors" will bring this spectacular species to Worcestershire more often.
Short-winged Conehead (Conocephalus dorsalis) See above.
Mole Cricket (Gyllotalpa gryllotalpa) Nationally endangered. Known to have occurred in the Pershore area (see article in previous Worcestershire Record).
Wood Cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) This species has its stronghold in the New Forest but WBRC hold an old record for Shrawley Woods.
House Cricket (Acheta domestica) Can only survive in heated buildings. Sold as "food" for exotic pets.

Future Newcomers?

There are two species of Orthoptera recorded at our borders. Areas of heath in the north of the county should be checked for Bog Bush-cricket (Metrioptera brachyptera). While Stripe-winged Grasshopper (Stenobothrus lineatus) might be found in short/limestone grassland in the south or on the Malvern Hills. Two more species worth a mention are Roesel's Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii) and Long-winged Conehead (Conocephalus discolor) are both expanding their range from the south east and south of the country respectively.


MARSHALL, JUDITH A & HAES ECM (1988) Grasshoppers & Allied Insects of GreatBritain & Ireland Harley Books
HAES, ECM AND P.T. HARDING (1997) Atlas of grasshoppers, crickets and allied insects in Britain and Ireland The Stationery Office
BELLMAN , HEIKO (1988) A field guide to the Grasshoppers and Crickets of Britain and Northern Europe Collins (out of print )
BROWN, VALERIE K (1983) Grasshoppers Naturalists' Handbooks No 2 CUP (A new edition is due)
MAHON, ANDREW (1988) Grasshoppers and Bush-crickets Shire Natural History 25
(Editors note: The following field guide is available (its in the NHBS mailorder catalogue) and contains excellent photographs of British Orthopterans - only problem is that it is written in French. The original 1993 edition was in German. Costs about £20: BELLMAN H AND LUQUET GC (1995) Guide des Sauterelles, Grillons et Criquets d'Europe Occidentale. publisher Delachaux et Niestlé .

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