Specieswatch: meadow grasshopper – UK’s flourishing flightless jumper

At this time of year, numbers peak for this amazing insect, which can leap to 20 times its height

One of the delights of a dry summer is the proliferation of grasshoppers – or perhaps we are just more likely to see them. There are 11 native UK species, and about another 20 that have been introduced. One of the most common native species is the meadow grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus, which has the rare distinction that it cannot fly, relying on its amazing springing power to escape predators. Its back legs can fire it off at three metres a second and 20 times its height. This is the equivalent of a human jumping over a five-storey building.

The name, meadow grasshopper, also describes its chosen home, but they appear in gardens and any suitable habitat. They are generally green with a stripe, but sometimes brown and even purple. Numbers peak at this time of year. The slightly smaller males can be seen rubbing their legs against their useless wings to create a “song” to attract the females, which are up to an inch long. It is a regular, if feeble, whirring sound. After mating, the eggs are laid in the soil in a pod ready to hatch the following spring.

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(SOURCE) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/03/specieswatch-meadow-grasshopper-uk-flourishing-flightless-jumper


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