The scaly crickets have beaten Hercules

Back in February this year I wrote a blog about the impact of a huge storm called Hercules on the beach at Branscombe and the impact this might have had on one of Britain’s rarest animals – the scaly cricket. Yesterday I described how I was setting out to discover if the scaly crickets had survived. Well today I checked the pitfall traps I set yesterday along with a few few colleagues and we succeeded – 2 of the 24 pitfall traps contained 4 scaly crickets – all adult females – in addition three other adult females were seen scurrying around the traps.

Unfortunately all the pitfall traps at the Branscombe end of the beach had been pulled out of the shingle – presumably by seagulls after the Cornish pasty fragments – so I will have to go back again later in the month to try that area again but finding 7 adult females further along the beach was brilliant. So here are a few pictures of one of Britain’s rarest animals – the ones that beat Hercules!

Scaly cricket 1Female scaly cricket on Branscombe beach!

Scaly cricket 7Note the ovipositor i.e. its a female and the very long antennae

Scaly cricket 5They live in the shingle and are very adept at disappearing down the cracks

Scaly cricket 3My photography last tonight was nearly a disaster – the first cricket we caught jumped out of my collecting pot before I could snap it – fortunately 10 minutes later we found this female at another pitfall trap – I made sure this time I got a photo before she hopped off!

Scaly cricket 4Phew!

Really pleased to discover that the scaly cricket survived such a huge storm back in January and it would appear that they are thriving on Branscombe beach

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