Sunday, 20 September 2020

Horsehay - Lesser Marsh Grasshopper

Fourteen species of Orthoptera (not including escapes) are resident in Shropshire and after a fair bit of effort in recent weeks I was currently on 13 species with just one to go! Lesser Marsh Grasshopper has only  recently (since 2013) been found in Shropshire but has settled down in a few sites in Telford, also Dudmaston and Albrighton. Given the totally wild, largely untrod area of Horsehay I was visiting, I was glad to have County Recorder David Williams as my guide!

The sun was shining and once we had fought our way through dense heather and bracken we arrived (no legs broken) at a grassy area, known to hold them. It didn't take long to find our first one, a female green morph.

The similarity to Meadow Grasshopper is obvious but these have long wings, the leading edge of which is striped white.

Seen from above, the clincher was getting a good view of the pronotum, almost completely parallel.

I managed to find a second one, this time a grey colour morph.

Despite not being quite so brightly coloured as some of their cousins, they had 'presence' that is until they ping away, having decided no more pics!

There was also a bonus Long Winged Conehead present (female)

A big thank you to David for his  help! I've had a great time sorting these little chaps out and like Odonata, there is the chance of a new species from adjacent counties heading out way one day? Whatever, I'll certainly be looking and listening next summer for more of the same... Maybe a male Lesser Marsh?