Friday, 20 August 2021

Tettigonia viridissima

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.
Apart from their large size the
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.
She looks as if she is about to head off now.  Fortunately she hasn't dined out on our plant as she is carnivorous preferring to eat flies, caterpillars, and larvae. Although not agressive, they are notorious for giving handlers a painful nip: best to leave them well alone!

39 comments:

  1. Close up like this she looks quite menacing :-)) The climate change is probably the reason why you found her in your garden .

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    1. My husband has just climbed over the stile from our garden onto the Common land that surrounds us to pick some blackberries, and said that he saw quite a lot of them on the bushes there too.

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  2. My first thought was the amazing camouflage - especially how she blends right into that opening flower bud and the leaves! She's definitely a large insect - and you really got super clear photos Rosemary.
    Have a great time with your family.
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Really looking forward to seeing more family Mary, and then the following week one of my granddaughters is coming with her boyfriend, the one that sings.
      The camouflage of this very large insect is really interesting, the more I look, the more I I see.
      Hugs to you too dear Mary.

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  3. An amazing insect, and good photos!

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  4. Dearest Rosemary,
    Your photos of this Tettigonia viridissima are excellent!
    LOVE its antennae and also the legs and arms. Looks like she's been rubbing elbows a lot... 😉
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - I thought too that the insects elbows were rather interesting, they seem to resemble broken sticks, all part of her amazing camouflage I imagine.

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  5. Hello Rosemary, Beautiful photos of a beautiful insect. I prefer to come across interesting insects out of doors. The other day I saw a strange-looking beetle in the stairway of my building. One was ok, but I would not like to see lots of them indoors!
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I certainly would not have wished to find this green creature in our home, outdoors I do not mind, but I too do not like outside visitors indoors.

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  6. Your first photo of your garden visitor is taken at a really interesting perspective. The photos show so much great detail! Enjoy your visits with family!

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    1. We are certainly looking forward to seeing them, and the week after one of my granddaughters is coming to stay with her boyfriend whom we have not met before.

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  7. Great photographs of it. I've seen the same insects (or a close cousin) camping in France and Italy years ago. You also get hummingbird hawk moths down south, another insect I was delighted to see in warmer locations- so similar I thought it was a tiny hummingbird at first glance yet knew none existed in Europe. The south of England is fast becoming the new Mediterranean climate, as it used to exist 10 years ago.

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    1. I saw my first hummingbird hawk moth in France several years ago and at first I thought the same as you. We began getting them here in our garden about six years ago, but I haven't seen one this year. They are very difficult to photograph.

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  8. What a lovely shade of green! And a fascinating lady cricket - beautifully photographed and observed. 7cm is a big insect, I would have been startled.

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    1. It is the first time that I have seen one here, but my husband saw several on the Common land that surrounds us, so I think that we must have a bit of an invasion here at the moment.

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  9. What amazing photos! It's incredible how the bristles on her little legs so well imitate the plant stems.

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    1. Thank you Pip - once the photos were put on the computer and I could see more detail I was amazed at this lady insect.

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  10. What wonderful camouflage. I had never heard of it. Good that it is carnivorous.

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    1. If I had any insects on the plant, them I am quite sure that she quickly gobbled them all up.

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  11. I don't think I've seen one of those since primary school when one caused considerable excitement in the playground!

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    1. It was a first for me John - but subsequently my husband discovered several more whilst picking blackberries on the Common land that surrounds us.

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  12. Nature is just fantastic! And your lovely photos too! A great post Rosemary :)
    Titti

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    1. Thank you Titti - I really found the small details in this large insect compelling especially when I saw the photos on the computer.

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  13. I think that thing could easily outstare me.

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    1. It really did appear to be looking straight at me and perhaps wishing that I would go away.

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  14. What a wonderful visitor. I hope it hangs around long enough for your son and his wife to see the full bounty of their gift. I hope that you are suitably flattered, Rosemary, and thanks for this wonderful photography.

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    1. I was really thrilled to see this spectacular green visitor and quickly called my husband outside so that he could see it too.

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  15. Amazing little big creature you have captured beautifully so we can see every cm of it doing it's thing.

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    1. Fortunately it only moved slowly whilst on the plant - I didn't see all of its intricate details myself whilst looking at it with the naked eye, it was only when I put it on the computer that I could see so much more.

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  16. What a fascinating specimen you have shared with us! Thanks for the warning to keep my hands off and perhaps stay away should one beautifully camouflaged lady cricket determine my neighbor's blackberries might be a good place for a snack! From her look-alike counterfeit-veins on her wings to her gator-looking underbelly what unusual layers she is wearing! 7 cm long! Woo-hoo, Rosemary! What a hoot! I must keep my eyes open for crickets when I am admiring garden flowers in the future. I, too, am hoping your visitors might get a chance to see her in action but if not, you can share her beauty on your screens!

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    1. They are not aggressive Mary but being carnivorous does mean that their jaws have a strong bite as people who have held have testified. I think that we must have a bit of an invasion of them in this area currently as my husband has found several more whilst picking blackberries on the Common land that surrounds us.

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  17. Heipsan,
    Incredibly stunning pictures of grasshoppers.

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  18. Oh what a beautiful specimen….and the first I have seen!

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