Crickets and grasshoppers

In the British Isles, there are around 30 species of Orthoptera, the taxonomic group which includes crickets and grasshoppers. Only nine of these occur regularly in Scotland in the wild, all of which are found in Dumfries and Galloway.

Grasshoppers are between one and three centimetres in length and have enlarged rear legs, which they use for jumping. Behind their head they have prominent saddle-shaped structure called the pronotum (plate that covers the top and sides of the thorax) and the markings on this can help to distinguish some species. All species make a characteristic grasshopper ‘churr’, and their different calls can be used to identify them.

Crickets can be distinguished from grasshoppers by their larger body size (up to 5 cm in length, including ovipositor) and their very long antennae. Females have a distinctive sword-like ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen which they use for laying eggs inside vegetation. All four bush-crickets are at the northern edge of their UK range.

Ground-hoppers are similar to grasshoppers and crickets, but they can be distinguished by the pronotum which extends over the top of the abdomen (and sometimes much further) and their short antennae.

For more information on individual species and their distribution follow the links in the side menu.

DGERC (now SWSEIC) published a short booklet in 2008 giving brief information about identification and distribution of crickets and grasshoppers in Dumfries and Galloway. Maps have since been superseded and an additional species has now colonised the region.

The booklet can be downloaded in pdf format here ( Click to download booklet PDF, 1.5Mb)

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