Bog bush crickets – doing well?

The bog bush cricket is a pretty rare animal nationally and one of its strongholds is south east Dartmoor and its hinterland. There are two colour forms – a brown animal with a green line on the underside of the abdomen and a brown form with green lines on top and underneath. They are pretty smart looking animals!

Bog bush cricket maleHere is a male with green on the top of the body – you can clearly see the reduced wings which are used to stridulate i.e. make the characteristic buzzing noise – when I photographed this individual at Chudleigh Knighton Heath (the Devon Wildlife Trust reserve) I could clearly see the wing cases moving.

This is the song of this actual individual singing recorded through a bat detector

Bog bush cricketHere is the brown version – another male – again at Chudleigh Knighton Heath

Bog Bush-cricketHere is the female – again a green form – note the long sickle shaped ovipositor – I photographed this individual in 2008 at Yarner Woods

BBcricketHere is the distribution map of the bog bush cricket courtesy of the National Biodiversity Network

 Bog bush crickets are secretive animals and can be difficult to find. However using the bat detector their inaudible high frequency calls become audible and are a real help in locating individual males. One thing that has been obvious on my last few bog bush cricket trips has been the prevalence of another species – the long-winged cone-head in the same habitat. This is interesting as prior to 1990 long-winged cone-heads were absent from Devon (see here for the distribution maps) – on Chudleigh Knighton heath I would estimate that the cone-heads outnumber the bog bush crickets 3 to 1.

LWCH - femaleHere is a female long-winged cone-head (long sickle shaped ovipositor) photographed at Chudleigh Knighton – it was 12 ” away from the green male bog bush cricket above. This photograph demonstrates why they are called cone-heads
– their heads are shaped like a classic seaside ice cream cone!

Bog bush crickets appear to be flourishing and are common at their classic sites but I do wonder whether the cone-heads are having / might have an impact in the future- I guess time will tell and monitoring of their progress will be required.

 

 

 

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