Dept. of Development
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
Body length, both sexes 10mm to 20mm (+) <10mm ovipositor. The species is essentially wingless.
The body is grass green in colour with the legs becoming brownish over the tibia (lower leg) and feet. The entire body is minutely speckled black which gives rise to its common, and specific, name. A white line passes through the eye and continues over the thorax on both sides. At maturity most specimens have a broad brown band running down their backs over the thorax and abdomen. Immature specimens often have a pale yellow line running down the middle of their abdomens. The males wings are reduced to small flaps whilst those of the female are represented by vestigial lobes. The female ovipositor is short and sharply curved upwards.
Behaviour and life history
Spends most of its day concealed in undergrowth, shrubs and coarse vegetation where due to its passive nature and natural camouflage it is rarely seen. Not only is it rarely seen but it is also rarely heard since its call is barely audible from a metre away. It is a largely vegetarian species. The eggs are inserted, in late summer, into tree bark or plant stems where they remain over winter. The nymphs emerge in May and June and mature by mid August.
A very weak high-pitched repeated chirp that is almost inaudible to the human ear.
Where to look for it
It is most commonly to be found in hedgerows and around the margins of woodlands, but it also frequents gardens and parks. It seems to be particularly fond of secreting itself away within the in-rolled, immature seed heads of Wild Carrot, Daucus carota.
Distribution and status
Whilst widely distributed in the city it is only locally common in a few places. This assessment of its status probably reflects its secretive nature and a consequent paucity of records; it is likely to be fairly common in most districts.
When to look for it
Nymphs, mid May to mid August; adults, August to late October.
A combination of its speckled body and the virtual absence of wings make this species unlikely to be confused with any other.