Our youngest son and his wife are coming to stay for a couple of days next week. Last year they kindly gifted me a lovely blue glazed pot for the garden which they had planted up with a late flowering Echinacea 'Leilani' - bright yellow Coneflower.I went out to the patio to see whether the flower buds were opening yet in the hopes that they will be blooming in time for their visit, but to my surprise discovered a very large prehistoric looking creature sunning itself on the plant.
Here's looking at you kid!
It is a Great Green Bush Cricket - Tettigonia viridissima, the largest of all British crickets. In fact it is one of our largest British insects, particularly the adult female, which this one happened to be, measuring roughly 7cms long. I have never come across one before ; apparently they are only found in southern parts of the country.
Looking at her closely it is possible to see many interesting little details. Tiny little spikes running down the legs and the wings appear to closely resemble a leaf, creating good camouflage, as it mainly lives an arboreal life in small trees and scrub.On this photo you can recognise that it is a female from her ovipositor positioned at the back of the body from which she lays her eggs.Tettigonia viridissima is disquinishable from other crickets and grasshoppers by their long antennae which can be upto three times their body length. The antennae move up and down and from side to side completely independantly of one another.