Insects & other Arthropods David A Kendall   BSc PhD
E-Mail: kendalluk@aol.com
Order Orthoptera (Crickets & Grasshoppers)
(Ortho-ptera, from Greek orthos = straight, pteron = wing)
Class: Insecta

Mouthparts for biting. Hind legs usually enlarged and modified for jumping. Tarsi nearly always 3-4 jointed. Thorax generally with two pairs of wings, the front pair tough and leathery, although one or both pairs may be reduced or absent. Cerci present, but often short and inconspicuous. Female with a well developed ovipositor, usually protruding from the tip of the abdomen and visible externally (used for egg-laying). Simple metamorphosis. A large Order, with over 17,000 described species worldwide, but represented in the British Isles by only 30 species. Orthoptera fall into two principal large groups: (a) Crickets, including Mole Crickets and Bush Crickets, sometimes called Long-horned Grasshoppers (families Gryllidae, Gryllotalpidae, Tettigonidae and their allies). These are mostly omnivorous and live on or under the ground, although Bush Crickets are often vegetarian, feeding on the leaves of trees and bushes, and occasionally they become minor pests of agricultural crops. A few species are predatory, feeding on other insects. The males of most species stridulate ('chirp' or 'sing') by rubbing together modified areas of the forewings. Both sexes have auditory organs in the front legs. (b) Short-horned Grasshoppers, including Locusts (family Acrididae and its allies). These are mainly plant feeders and many, besides the notorious Locusts, can be serious pests of agriculture. Antennae, cerci and female ovipositor, much shorter than those of Crickets. In the majority of species, both sexes (but especially the males) stridulate by rubbing the hind legs against the forewings, and they have an auditory organ at the base of the abdomen.

Family Tettigonidae (Bush Crickets) Top  |  Home Page
Speckled Bush Cricket (male)
Leptophyes punctatissima - Speckled Bush Cricket (male)
b. 10-20 mm
Speckled Bush Cricket (female)
Leptophyes punctatissima - Speckled Bush Cricket (female)
b. 10-20 mm
Speckled Bush Cricket (female ovipositor)
Leptophyes punctatissima - Speckled Bush Cricket
(detail of female ovipositor)
Oak Bush Cricket (male)
Meconema thalassinum - Oak Bush Cricket (male)
b. 12-17 mm
Oak Bush Cricket (female)
Meconema thalassinum - Oak Bush Cricket (female)
b. 12-17 mm
Oak Bush Cricket (female ovipositor)
Meconema thalassinum - Oak Bush Cricket
(detail of female ovipositor)
Family Acrididae (Short-horned Grasshoppers) Top  |  Home Page
Common Field Grasshopper
Chorthippus brunneus - Common Field Grasshopper
b. 15-25 mm
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