This is a species that is often hard to spot with its leaf-coloured camouflage.
Photo: Ray Surridge
Scientific name: Leptophyes punctatissima
Cornish name: Gryll is the general word for a cricket
At a cursory glance it is difficult to see why this bright-green cricket is called ‘speckled’. Take a closer look at its body and you can see why: it is covered in tiny black spots. Typically of Bush-crickets (of which there are ten species native to the UK), it has very long antennae, and this particular species, which is between 1 and 2 cm long, is also distinguished by a brown stripe along its back. Speckled Bush-crickets cannot fly: the remnant forewings are very small and neither gender has hindwings.
Unusually for crickets, females as well as males are able to sing to attract potential mates, although the female’s call is weaker than that of the male, which in turn is weaker than many other cricket species: you will need a detector to hear it. The female’s broad ovipositor curves upwards (see the photographs on this page which are of a female). She lays her eggs in the bark of trees or shrubs: after overwintering the nymphs emerge in May to June, maturing into adults by mid-August.
This species has a fairly wide distribution across Europe, and in Britain is particularly common in the Midlands and south. However, its excellent camouflage and preference for remaining in the undergrowth, including hedgerows, woodland edges and gardens, mean that it can be hard to spot. Search for them at dusk: they will often be standing motionless in or close to vegetation.
Did you know…?
…after hatching in May/June, the young pass through six larval stages before finally maturing into adults in August.
…the Speckled Bush-cricket is largely herbivorous.
More information and references:
Chinery, M., 2005. Collins Complete Guide to British Insects. HarperCollins, London.
Published: September 2013
Author: Amanda Scott
Photos: Ray Surridge