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Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus

Female Meadow grasshopper Mating Meadow Grasshoppers Purple form Meadow Grasshopper

Identification

Body size; males 10mm to 20mm, females 15mm to 5mm

This species is typically predominantly green. There is often a dark grey/brown stripe running through the eye and the flanks of the abdomen are usually more or less mottled black or with distinct black bars. The hind femur (upper leg) is typically plain pale brown or greenish above with a herringbone pattern extending down the middle. Like the Field Grasshopper, some rather bizarre colour variations occur in this species; purple specimens are not that uncommon. At maturity, the females wings barely extend halfway down the abdomen. Mature males have longer wings that almost extend to the tip of the abdomen which, at maturity, is brownish.

Behaviour and life history

Similar to that of the Field Grasshopper, Chorthippus brunneus. In good years, populations may build up dramatically and winged forms may develop which then leave to exploit new sites. Its life cycle is very similar to that of the Field Grasshopper although the emergence of the nymphs and adult maturity occur slightly earlier.

Song

The call consists or a number of rapidly repeated elements tsree,tsree,tsree&. which are themselves repeated every three or four seconds.

Where to look for it

It favours very similar habitats to the Field Grasshopper and the two species are found together very often. However, the Meadow Grasshopper is more tolerant of damper conditions and rather ranker vegetation.

Distribution and status

Very common and found in all but the driest grassland sites.

Where to look for it

When to look for it

Nymphs from late April to June, adults from June until mid November.

When to look for it

Similar species

Its size, colouration and underdeveloped wings are usually sufficient to confirm its identity. Unlike other similar grasshoppers in Plymouth, this species is the only one with weakly, as opposed to sharply, curved keels on either side of the thorax.

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