British Insects: the Families of Orthoptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Chorthippus Fieber

Stenobothrus p.p., Stauroderus.

Adults diurnal; (10–)12–22(–25) mm long; brownish, greyish brown, green, sometimes pinkish or purplish in various combinations, the abdomen and/or the hind legs sometimes partly orange or red.

The antennae relatively short, with fewer than 30 segments; not thickened towards the tip. The pronotum not extended backwards over the abdomen. Forewings well developed, or much reduced in size; greatly exceeding the abdomen when folded (excluding terminal abdominal appendages) to much shorter than the abdomen (very short only in female C. parallelus, and extending beyond the hind knees in both male and female C. brunneus). The costal margin of the forewing dilated near the base, the wing abruptly narrowing beyond it (usually), or straight, the wing narrowing gradually with no basal dilation (in male C. albomarginatus only). Hindwings fully developed and functional for flight, or reduced or vestigial (in both sexes of C. parallelus); not pale blue. Foreleg tarsi 3 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 3 segmented; hindleg tarsi 3 segmented. The hind femora keeled. Hind tibiae not banded black and yellow. The ovipositor relatively short, and consisting of separate, prong-like valves articulated at the base; valves not toothed. The males stridulous. The sound production of the males femoro-alary, involving rubbing the rough insides of the hind femora against prominent veins in the forewings. Auditory organs located in the first abdominal segment (sometimes concealed by the folded wings or the hind-legs, and the tympanal cavity sometimes partially covered by a flap).

British representation. 4 species. Chorthippus albomarginatus (Lesser Marsh Grasshopper), C. brunneus (Field Grasshopper), C. parallelus (Meadow Grasshopper), C. vagans (Heath Grasshopper). Native. Northern Scotland, southern Scotland, northern England, English Midlands, East Anglia, Wales, southeast England, central southern England, southwest England, Isle of Wight, Ireland, and Channel Islands (C. brunneus and C. parallelus being very widely distributed, with C. vagans only in extreme southern England and Channel Islands, and C. albomarginatus in England mainly southern and eastern).

Vegetarian (feeding mainly on gasses); found outdoors in natural habitats (in various, mainly open grassland habitats).

Classification. Suborder Caelifera; Superfamily Acridoidea; Acrididae.

Comments. The lateral keels of the pronotum sharply angled (resulting in the pronotum being conspicuously flared at the back) in C. brunneus and C. vagans, but more or less parallel or only gently incurved in C. parallelus and C. albomarginatus.

Illustrations. • Chorthippus and Stenobothrus (Lucas). • Chorthippus brunneus (Common Field Grasshopper: Lucas). • Acrididae and Tetrigidae: Burr. • Chorthippus, Myrmeleottix, Tetrix: Burr.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. British insects: the families of Orthoptera. Version: 12th February 2012.’.