British wildlife recordings
Stethophyma grossum : Large Marsh Grasshopper - Acrididae
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Large Marsh Grasshopper
This is a recording of the stridulation of the large marsh grasshopper. The large marsh grasshopper is the largest British species, and like all grasshoppers, is a predominantly vegetarian and diurnal, sun-loving insect with short antennae. It has vivid greenish-yellow or olive-brown coloration, with a red flush underneath the femurs and black and yellow bands on the tibia of the hind legs. The large marsh grasshopper is a rare species with colonies being located only in Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, and Surrey. As its name suggests, the grasshopper only occurs in marshy places, the prime habitat being acid bogs with clumps of tussocky grass. Unlike almost all other grasshoppers, which call or 'stridulate' by rubbing pegs on their hind-legs against their forewings, the male large marsh grasshopper makes its call by tapping the tip of the forewing with its hind tibia. About eight ticks are produced every three to four seconds, and the sound has been likened to that of popping bubbles. Nymphs hatch from eggs in late May and go through four states or 'instars' before maturing into adults at the end of July. The grasshopper's restriction to wet habitats means that it is extremely vulnerable to drainage and was undoubtedly more common 200 years ago. Most surviving colonies are now well protected within nature reserves.