Family: Orthoptera (Crickets and grasshoppers)
Latin name: Tettigonia viridissima
The largest of all UK crickets. In fact one of the largest uk insects, particularly the adult female who fully winged and including her egg laying ovipositor, can measure 7cm in length.
Despite being a large insect, the females are not easy to find. Their green bodies are perfect camouflage among the grasses and scrub where they are generally found. It is also reluctant to fly, despite having long wings and moves slowly through the vegetation.
She does not sing. Only the males sing, as in all species of cricket and the song of the great green bush cricket is the loudest. On still, quiet days you can hear it up to 50m away, sounding like a sewing machine. Yet even the males are difficult to locate. They have a knack of going quiet as you get a few metres away and they will remain motionless. You will generally hear them singing at dusk, although they will sing during the day and can sometimes be heard in the dark of night. They are nocturnal.
The males do not have the ovipositor, so appear shorter than the female. Both sexes go through a number of different nypmh stages and only develop wings in the later forms.
The nymphs begin appearing in late April or May and may go through between 6 and 9 stages before becoming adults in mid-July. The nymph in the left hand photo was less than 1cm long. The brown stripe down its bank is present in all stages. The adults can be around until the end of October. The female below has just emerged from her final nymphal skin.
Once the female has been attracted by the song of the male and mating has taken place, the female will lay her eggs directly into the ground.
The adults are omnivorous and will eat flies, caterpillars and other bush-crickets as well as well as vegetation.
It used to be confined to coastal areas in the south and has spread inland. Here in Gloucestershire we are towards the northern extent of its range in the UK.
Other species of Cricket found in the Stroud Valleys:
Left to right: Short-winged Conehead, Long-winged Conehead, Roesel’s Bush Cricket, Dark Bush Cricket