Meadow yellow

Meadow yellow
Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus) in a Devon meadow

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A cricketing summer at last

As a southern suburban boy I remember the lazy sound of late summer with invisible crickets strumming endlessly through the night. I always imagined thousands of individuals from the great impact on my senses. This sound however had all but disappeared for me as an adult living in rural East Midlands. Maybe I have not been near the right habitat for crickets, too far North, or they have simply been decimated by mans ongoing impact on their environment. It was with great pleasure therefore that my move to Devon this summer has reacquainted me with the Crickets’ song.

The 10 species of British ‘bush crickets’ (family Tettigonidae) are mainly restricted to southern England, whilst the 4 species of the distinctively different ‘crickets’ (family Gryllidae) are “increasingly rare and only likely to be found in the extreme South of England” (Tilling, 1987). It is the bush crickets that favour the night for their characteristic ‘songs’ or stridulation, raising their wings and rubbing them together. Last week the late summer burst of warmth seem to invigorate the local crickets and I managed to capture one (see image), a Dark Bush Cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera). This is a sturdy looking species, dark brown with a yellow underside and almost wingless, often occurring in bramble thickets and hedges, found close to our new garden. The song is a brief, penetrating chip (see You Tube clip at, but a combination of the species occurring in numbers and the sound carrying well can make for an impressive chorus (Haes & Harding, 1997).

Roll on next summer!

Haes, E.C.M & Harding, P.T (1997) Atlas of grasshoppers, crickets and allied insects in Britain and Ireland. London: Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Tilling, S.M. (1987) A key to the Major Groups of British Terrestrial Invertebrates. Preston Montford: FSC AIDGAP project.

1 comment:

  1. I love the sound of crickets. It always reminds me of Italy.