Until the early 20th century, Roesel’s Bush-cricket was only found on the south-east coast. Recent years have seen a rapid expansion in its range, particularly helped by roadside rough grassland and scrub providing a ‘corridor’ for it to travel along. It favours damp meadows and grassland, but can be found elsewhere.
How to identify
Roesel’s Bush-cricket is dark brown with orangey legs, a green face, a creamy border to the thorax, and two or three bright cream spots on its sides. It is best recognised by its song, which is a long, monotonous, mechanical noise.
A common animal across the southern half of England, the noisy, irregular chirpings of the dark bush-cricket are a familiar feature of late summer. An animal of gardens, hedgerows and woodland edges, dark bush-crickets can often be seen in quite large numbers sunbathing on bramble patches. However, males are very aggressive, defending their territories against intruders. Females lay their eggs in late summer in rotting wood or bark crevices; they emerge 18 months later, so odd-year and even-year dark bush-crickets never meet.
How to identify
The dark bush-cricket lives up to its name: it’s dark to red-brown, with a paler patch along the top of the thorax, and a yellow-green belly. The female has an up-curved ovipositor.
Length 9-18 mm. As the name suggests, the green body is covered in tiny black spots, it also has a pale brown stripe down its back. Adult females have a large, upturned, scimitar-shaped appendage at their rear – this is an ovipositor used to deposit eggs.
Found in woodland, hedgerows, scrub and gardens.
When to see it
Adults present from late July or early August until November.
Herbivorous, feeding on a range of shrubs and other vegetation. Eggs are laid in the bark of trees or shrubs.
This is perhaps the commonest Bush-cricket, but most records come from the Midlands and southern England.