British Insects: the Families of Orthoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Metrioptera Wesmael

Roeseliana Zeuner.

Adults diurnal; 11–21 mm long (M. brachyptera), or 13–26 mm long (M. roeselii); the abdomen bright green beneath and dark brown laterally, the head, pronotum and wings green or brown, and the side flaps of the pronotum pale-banded on the hind edge only in M. brachyptera; the abdomen yellow beneath and with yellow lateral patches behind the pronotum, and the latter with a clear, cream band around its side margins in M. roeselii.

The antennae long, with well over 30 segments. The pronotum with a median dorsal keel. Forewings well developed; greatly exceeding the abdomen when folded (excluding terminal abdominal appendages) (rarely - M. roeselii being occasionally macropterous), or much shorter than the abdomen (usually, in both sexes). Hindwings usually reduced or vestigial (in both sexes). Foreleg tarsi 4 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 4 segmented; hindleg tarsi 4 segmented. The hind femora smooth. The ovipositor relatively long, with the valves articulated along their length and forming a single structure. The males stridulous. The sound production of the males alary, involving scraping the forewings together, the latter being structurally modified to this end. Auditory organs located in the fore-tibiae (sometimes partly covered by a ventral flap).

British representation. 2 species. Bush crickets: Metrioptera brachyptera (Bog Bush-cricket), and M. roeselii (Roesel’s Bush-cricket). Native. Northern England, English Midlands, East Anglia, Wales, southeast England, central southern England, southwest England, Isle of Wight, and Ireland (with M. brachyptera absent from the Isle of Wight and Ireland, and M. roeselii from southwest England).

Omnivorous but principally vegetarian (M. brachyptera feeding especially on buds, flowers and unripe seed-heads, M. roeselii mainly on grasses); found outdoors in natural habitats (M. brachyptera inhabits lowland heaths and clearings in moist woodland, associated with Erica tetralix and Molinia; M. roeselii occurs in water meadows and various types of ungrazed grasslands).

Classification. Suborder Ensifera; Superfamily Tettigonioidea; Tettigoniidae.

Comments. The usual brachypterous forms are readily distinguished from the consistently macropterous Platycleis.

Illustrations. • Metrioptera and Platycleis (Lucas). • Conocephalidae, Meconematidae, Phaneropteridae, Tettigoniidae: 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. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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