Find out more about recording Kent's grasshoppers, bush-crickets, crickets and groundhoppers.
Grasshoppers, crickets, bush-crickets and ground-hoppers form the order of insects known as the Orthoptera. They are a good group for the non-entomologist to study and record, as they are large, active and relatively easy to identify. And, because the males of most species sing, they can often be identified and recorded even when hidden.
In Kent, 24 species are now recorded regularly, and these are listed below. Kent is fairly well recorded for Orthoptera, but there are still some significant gaps, as indicated on the coverage map, below. It is hoped that these pages will encourage more people to take an interest in the Orthoptera, and to send in records. This will not only help fill in gaps in our knowledge, but also help track changes in the county's Orthopteran species over time. This is particularly important given the rapid changes that seem to be occurring in response to climate change, and the vulnerability of some species to changes in habitat management.
Orthoptera records for Kent (Vice-counties 15 and 16) to January 2013. Map produced using DMAP by Dr Alan Morton.
Your can download a pdf which lists sites and species which would benefit from targeted recording during 2023.Priorities for Orthoptera Recording in 2023
Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata
Speckled Bush-cricket Leptophyes punctatissima
Oak Bush-cricket Meconema thalassinum
Southern Oak Bush-cricket Meconema meridionale
Long-winged Conehead Conocephalus fuscus (previously Conocephalus discolor)
Short-winged Conehead Conocephalus dorsalis
Large Conehead Ruspolia nitidula
Great Green Bush-cricket Tettigonia viridissima
Wart-biter Decticus verrucivorus
Grey Bush-cricket Platycleis albopunctata
Roesel's Bush-cricket Roeseliana roeselii (previously Metrioptera roeselii)
Dark Bush-cricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera
Tree-cricket Oecanthus pellucens
House-cricket Acheta domesticus
Woodland Grasshopper Omocestus rufipes
Common Green Grasshopper Omocestus viridulus
Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus
Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus
Lesser Marsh Grasshopper Chorthippus albomarginatus
Mottled Grasshopper Myrmeleotettix maculatus
Stripe-winged Grasshopper Stenobothrus lineatus
Rufous Grasshopper Gomphocerippus rufus
In addition, there are historic records for a few other species, including Greenhouse Camel-cricket Tachycines asynamorus (which was recorded from a greenhouse in a Canterbury Nursery in 1962), and Bog Bush-cricket Metrioptera brachyptera from near Dover in the 19th Century. There have been very occasional records of Mole-cricket Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa, which may be animals brought in with imported plants, and Egyptian Grasshopper Anacridium aegyptium which certainly has come in with nursery material on at least one occasion. More recently, there was a single record of Blue-winged Grasshopper Oedipoda caerulescens from Deal in 2020.
You can download a sheet describing six common species here1.77 MB03/01/2013, 14:53.
Several important works are out of print at the time of writing. However, you can still obtain the excellent, 8-page Field Studies Council leaflet, Guide to British Grasshoppers and Allied Insects, ISBN 9781851538645, which covers fifty species of grasshoppers, crickets, bush crickets, ground hoppers, cockroaches, earwigs and stick insects, and includes a key.
The Grasshoppers and Crickets of Surrey by David W Baldock, ISBN 0952606542, is an excellent county atlas which lots of photos and useful information and is also currently in print.
A larger work, covering identification, habitat, behaviour and much more is The Grasshoppers and Allied Insects of Great Britain and Ireland, by JA Marshall, ECM Haes and D Ovenden, ISBN 0946589364. Although this is long out of print and is slightly dated by recent changes in Britain's Orthopteran fauna, it is well worth having and second-hand copies are available.
Also out of print is the New Naturalist volume, Grasshoppers and Crickets, by Ted Benton, which is an excellent and very detailed work, with a key and full descriptions of each species.
A more recent publication is Grasshoppers of Britain and Western Europe by Eric Sardet, Christian Roesti and Yoan Braud, ISBN 9781472954862. This is an identification guide only, but beautifully illustrated with photographs, and includes a CD of the songs of all the species included.
A simple bat detector is a very useful tool to listen for grasshoppers and bush-crickets, as many calls are high-pitched – even younger people will find it useful, and those over 40 or so who find it hard to hear higher frequencies (this includes the author!) may find it essential.
For lots more information on the UK's Orthoptera, go to the Orthoptera Recording Scheme website.