Posted by: Ross Gardner | September 26, 2013

A Creature Out of its Element

The Speckled Bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) is common species of Orthoptera across the southern half of England.  In fact, it is one of the most common British species, yet how often the creature is actually seen through casual observation might not appear reflect this.  The reason for this is fairly obvious.  They sport a green colouration that blends extremely effectively among the leafy, scrubby places that they frequent, complete with a brown stripe along the back to give a touch of ‘woody stem’ to the camouflage.  Adding to this a ‘song’ (which, as with other crickets, is produced by rapidly rubbing the forewings together) is pretty much inaudible to most of us, they do a pretty good job of keeping out of our way.

They are seen often enough though, but most frequently when removed from the element of leaf and branch, when they inexplicably end up sat in the middle of a kitchen window, or half way up a white painted wall.  This male (the females brandish a broad, blade-like ovipositor with which to insert eggs into plant stems) had achieved its own unlikely conspicuousness by taking up a position on the boot of my car.  After a short while it tired of the camera lenses pointed at it, dropped down among a grassy verge and quite disappeared from view.

Speckled Bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima).  Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner

Speckled Bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima). Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner

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