Species: Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus)

Family: Grasshoppers and Locusts (ACRIDIDAE)

Category: Insects (Other)

Location: N

A. Insects (Other)

More extensive information on insects can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Grasshoppers and Locusts (ACRIDIDAE)

Although Bush-crickets and Grasshoppers are related, there are distinct differences between the two families. Crickets stridulate by rubbing their wings together at dusk, their 'ears' being on their front legs. (In contrast, Grasshoppers stridulate by rubbing their hind legs against their wings, their 'ears' being at the base of their abdomen.) Whereas Grasshoppers are mostly herbivores, Crickets are omnivores. Bush-crickets have long, thin antennae (in contrast to the shorter, stockier ones that Grasshoppers have).

The members of the Grasshopper and Locust family have short, stout antennae and the sound producing tympana membranes on the side of the first abdominal segment. The back legs have three segments. They have ridges along the top edge of the thorax, called keels, which are useful for identification. Grasshoppers have a three stage life-cycle, egg, nymph (going through five moulting instar phases, during which the wings gradually develop), and adult, when final wing development occurs. The most notorious members of this family are the locusts, although these are only rarely found in Britain.

We have a photograph-filled blog post about all the grasshoppers and bush-crickets that we have seen in the Cemetery that may be worth your time.

C. Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus)

Meadow Grasshoppers may be green with brown wings or entirely green. Females can also be vivid pink. Whereas males have full-length wings reaching almost to the end of their abdomen, females have smaller, undeveloped ones that are half that length.

These grasshoppers can be distinguished by their near-parallel keels, and by the black patches on the 'knees' of their hind legs. Both males and females have a pronotum (the plate behind their heads) that is very slightly curved outwards as it reaches the abdomen, but otherwise has almost straight sides.

As their name suggests, Meadow Grasshoppers prefer grassland habitats. They are common and widespread in Britain.

Images

Meadow Grasshopper

Meadow Grasshoppers may be green with brown wings or entirely green. Females can also be vivid pink. Whereas males have full-length wings reaching almost to the end of their abdomen, females have smaller, undeveloped ones that are half that length. The individual in this photograph is a female.

Meadow Grasshopper

These grasshoppers can be distinguished by their near-parallel keels, and by the black patches on the 'knees' of their hind legs (clearly visible in this photograph). Both males and females have a pronotum (the plate behind their heads) that is very slightly curved outwards as it reaches the abdomen, but otherwise has almost straight sides.

Meadow Grasshopper

This photograph shows an adult male Meadow Grasshopper.

Meadow Grasshopper

This photograph also shows an adult female Meadow Grasshopper. The black 'knees' of this individual show as 'knee' caps only, not the full 'knee'.

Meadow Grasshopper

This photograph also shows an adult male Meadow Grasshopper in focus at the rear of the shot. This individual has 'knees' that are more fully black, as if dipped in ink. Note that this feature is not a reliable feature on its own to aid in species identification.

Meadow Grasshopper

A Meadow Grasshopper photographed in the Cemetery in early July 2022.