2016 - Orthoptera and Allied Insects in Worcestershire
After the last few years of new species and range expansions, 2015/2016 was a relatively quiet period on the Orthoptera & Allied Insects front in Worcestershire. Here is a brief update:
Lesne's Earwig appears to be increasing its range in the county. It has now been discovered along the Severn valley up as far as the Wyre Forest area. It was reported from plants such as Elm hedges, Broom and Japaneses Knotweed. Also this species had increased in abundance at sites from previous years. Another interesting observation linked Lesne's Earwig with old orchards. There were reports from various orchards in the Avon valley and surrounding area, so is this a true association or just individuals wandering into orchards from adjacent old hedgerows?
Common Earwig is still under-recorded in Worcestershire in 2016. Records show that the species is found all over the county but there are many places still with no records. Most people have seen Common earwigs but getting records for this species is still proving difficult.
Common Groundhopper - There were very few new records for this species in 2016. They are often found early in the year but this summer got off to a late start so new records were possibly missed. there is no reason to believe that there is any change to the distribution in Worcestershire.
Slender Groundhopper - Like the previous species, there has been little change in the recorded distribution of this species. It certainly favors wetland sites but is also common in woodlands with wide rides where mosses are abundant.
The Common Green Grasshopper is a species in decline in Worcestershire. The reasons are unclear, but it appears to be a species which is retreating to heathland sites. It is still a common sight and sound in the heaths around Wyre Forest and Bewdley as it is on the Malvern Hills. There is also a small population at an old orchard in the Lenches, but appears to have disappeared from some other areas.
Field Grasshopper remains a locally common species, preferring dry, warm habitats such as heatland and sheltered hillsides. The later summer may have favoured this species, with hot days in late August and September giving the grasshoppers time to move to other suitable habitat to breed.
The range expansion of Lesser Marsh Grasshopper seems to have stalled in Worcestershire. It had been expected to reach Wyre Forest but as yet there have been no confirmed records. A few hopeful 1st instars have been collected from sites and bred through but none have been found to be Lesser Marsh Grasshopper. So Wyre still awaits its first record for this species.
Meadow Grasshopper remains a common insect throughout the county but there has been a marked increase in the number of brown-form individuals. This is a form which appeared to be more commonly seen in the south of England but is now being seen in many parts of Worcestershire.
Mottled Grasshopper is well established in the heaths around Bewdley and along the Malvern hills where a large population remains on Ragged Stone Hill. This species is very unlikely to increase its range in Worcestershire as it is restricted by habitat preference.
Stripe-winged Grasshopper has been recorded from two sites on the Malvern Hills in the 1990s but searches of these sites in 2015 & 2016 failed to re-find the species. This grasshopper may now be absent from Worcestershire.
Dark Bush-cricket is wide spread but there does not appear to be any change to its distribution in Worcestershire in recent times. By 2016 this bush-cricket was still absent from north-east of the county and does not appear to have moved into this area yet.
Great Green Bush-cricket was discovered in Worcestershire in 2015 when a well grown nymph was reported from the south-west of the county. Further searches in the area have so far failed to find any other individuals.
Long-winged Conehead is well established in Worcestershire now and is found in most areas where suitable habitat is available. There was little change to its recorded distribution in 2016.
Short-winged Conehead remains a wetland species in Worcestershire but has been recorded from a few new sites along the Avon in 2015. Interestingly, the population in less favorable habitat in Fox Hollies Park south of Birmingham remains stable.
Oak Bush-cricket continues to turn up in houses at night but does not appear to be attracted to moth-traps. This species is distributed across the county. There have been several records from old orchards recently.
Despite being a recent arrival into the county, Roesel's Bush-cricket is probably our commonest bush-cricket now. Many log-winged forms were reported in 2015/2016 which allows the species to continue its spread north.
Speckled Bush-cricket continues to spread and has been recorded in towns more frequently including Redditch.
House Crickets are present at one site, in buildings just outside Bewdley. There have been no other records of this species in recent times.