British Insects: the Genera of Orthoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Conventional key

If you are serious about identification, you should use the interactive key. It is far superior, with flexible choice of characters, character notes and illustrations, error tolerance, full taxon descriptions, and taxon illustrations.

1(0).
  • The antennae long, with well over 30 segments; the hind femora smooth ... 2
  • The antennae relatively short, with fewer than 30 segments; the hind femora keeled... 24

2(1).
  • Adults predominantly green ... 3
  • Adults only partly green... 12
  • Adults without green colouration... 15

3(2).
  • Adults up to 11 mm long (head to tip of abdomen or to tip of folded wings, whichever is the longer, excluding abdominal appendages) ... 4
  • Adults 11 to 15 mm long (head to tip of abdomen or to tip of folded wings, whichever is the longer, excluding abdominal appendages)... 5
  • Adults 15 to 25 mm long (head to tip of abdomen or to tip of folded wings, whichever is the longer, excluding abdominal appendages)... 7
  • Adults 25 to 30 mm long (head to tip of abdomen or to tip of folded wings, whichever is the longer, excluding abdominal appendages) ... Platycleis
  • Adults 30 mm long (head to tip of abdomen or to tip of folded wings, whichever is the longer, excluding abdominal appendages) or more... 11

4(3).
  • Forewings well developed; the male cerci with an inner tooth near the middle ... Conocephalus
  • Forewings much reduced in size; the male cerci without an inner tooth ... Leptophyes

5(3).
  • Forewings well developed ... 6
  • Forewings much reduced in size ... Leptophyes

6(5).
  • Adults pale green with only a narrow yellow or brown dorsal stripe, never totally brown; the sound production of the males involving drumming a hindleg against the supporting surface; omnivorous but principally carnivorous ... Meconema
  • Adults green with brown wings and a brown dorsal stripe, or rarely all brown; the sound production of the males alary, involving scraping the forewings together, the latter being structurally modified to this end; omnivorous but principally vegetarian ... Conocephalus

7(3).
  • Adults nocturnal ... 8
  • Adults diurnal... 9

8(7).
  • Adults pale green with only a narrow yellow or brown dorsal stripe, never totally brown; the sound production of the males involving drumming a hindleg against the supporting surface; omnivorous but principally carnivorous ... Meconema
  • Adults green with brown wings and a brown dorsal stripe, or rarely all brown; the sound production of the males alary, involving scraping the forewings together, the latter being structurally modified to this end; omnivorous but principally vegetarian ... Conocephalus

9(7).
  • Forewings well developed; the male cerci with an inner tooth near the middle ... 10
  • Forewings much reduced in size; the male cerci without an inner tooth ... Leptophyes

10(9).
  • The pronotum with a median dorsal keel ... Platycleis
  • The pronotum not dorsally keeled ... Conocephalus

11(3).
  • The pronotum with a median dorsal keel ... Decticus
  • The pronotum not dorsally keeled ... Tettigonia

12(2).
  • The pronotum with a median dorsal keel ... 13
  • The pronotum not dorsally keeled... 14

13(12).
  • Hindwings fully developed and functional for flight ... Platycleis
  • Hindwings reduced or vestigial (the insects flightless) ... Metrioptera

14(12).
  • Forewings well developed; omnivorous but principally vegetarian ... Conocephalus
  • Forewings much reduced in size; omnivorous ... Pholidoptera

15(2).
  • Forewings well developed ... 16
  • Forewings much reduced in size... 22
  • Forewings absent... 23

16(15).
  • Forelegs conspicuously modified for digging; females without a functional ovipositor ... Gryllotalpa
  • Forelegs not modified for digging; females with a functional ovipositor... 17

17(16).
  • Foreleg tarsi 3 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 3 segmented; hindleg tarsi 3 segmented ... 18
  • Foreleg tarsi 4 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 4 segmented; hindleg tarsi 4 segmented... 19

18(17).
  • Hindwings fully developed and functional for flight; adults without orange colouration; omnivorous; established alien ... Acheta
  • Hindwings reduced or vestigial (the insects flightless); adults with orange colouration on the hindlegs; omnivorous but principally vegetarian; native ... Gryllus

19(17).
  • The pronotum with a median dorsal keel ... 20
  • The pronotum not dorsally keeled ... Conocephalus

20(19).
  • Hindwings fully developed and functional for flight ... 21
  • Hindwings reduced or vestigial (the insects flightless) ... Metrioptera

21(20).
  • Adults 15 to 25 mm long (head to tip of abdomen or to tip of folded wings, whichever is the longer, excluding abdominal appendages) ... Platycleis
  • Adults 25 to 30 mm long (head to tip of abdomen or to tip of folded wings, whichever is the longer, excluding abdominal appendages) ... Platycleis
  • Adults 30 mm long (head to tip of abdomen or to tip of folded wings, whichever is the longer, excluding abdominal appendages) or more ... Decticus

22(15).
  • Foreleg tarsi 3 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 3 segmented; hindleg tarsi 3 segmented; feeding mainly on decaying vegetation and associated fungi ... Nemobius
  • Foreleg tarsi 4 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 4 segmented; hindleg tarsi 4 segmented; omnivorous ... Pholidoptera

23(15).
  • Foreleg tarsi 3 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 3 segmented; hindleg tarsi 3 segmented; auditory organs located in the fore-tibiae (sometimes partly covered by a ventral flap); the males stridulous ... Pseudomogoplistes
  • Foreleg tarsi 4 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 4 segmented; hindleg tarsi 4 segmented; auditory organs absent; the males mute ... Tachycines

24(1).
  • The antennae thickened towards the tip ... 25
  • The antennae not thickened towards the tip... 26

25(24).
  • The antennal tips white ... Gomphocerippus
  • The antennal tips not white ... Myrmeleotettix

26(24).
  • The pronotum conspicuously extended backwards over the abdomen; foreleg tarsi 2 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 2 segmented; auditory organs absent ... Tetrix
  • The pronotum not extended backwards over the abdomen; foreleg tarsi 3 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 3 segmented; 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)... 27

27(26).
  • Hindwings pale blue with a black band ... Oedipoda
  • Hindwings not pale blue... 28

28(27).
  • Hind tibiae banded black and yellow; the sound production of the males involving flicking a hindleg against the wing-tips ... Stethophyma
  • Hind tibiae not banded black and yellow; the sound production of the males femoro-alary, involving rubbing the rough insides of the hind femora against prominent veins in the forewings... 29

29(28).
  • The costal margin of the forewing dilated near the base, the wing abruptly narrowing beyond it ... Chorthippus
  • The costal margin of the forewing straight, the wing narrowing gradually with no basal dilation... 30

30(29).
  • The ovipositor valves armed on the outer side with a strong tooth orientated in the same direction as their points ... Stenobothrus
  • The ovipositor valves not toothed ... Omocestus

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. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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