I’ve been slightly perplexed recently by the fact that the Orthoptera season should have begun, but seemed not to have: no matter where and how hard I looked, I couldn’t find any crickets or grasshoppers. But a couple of days ago I broke my duck with a female Speckled Bush-cricket, and then today I spotted this stylish creature climbing the old farm wall that borders our back yard. It’s a Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus) – identifiable by sharply incurved side keels on its pronotum – and based on the fact that its eyes look slightly too big for it’s head I think it’s a male, though that’s pretty unscientific, so please don’t go quoting me. One day I’ll work out how to sex grasshoppers properly, by their genitalia, but today is not that day.

It’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve begun finding grasshoppers in the garden – I put it down to the fact that they like the increasing level of mess left by my erratic husbandry – and last year was the first season I ever found Field Grasshoppers here. The discovery of this one so early in the season suggests that he was bred here, which is pleasing.

A little later I was explaining to R how surprised I was to have found the first grasshopper of the year at home, rather than in the more obvious habitat of Tilly’s field, and he threw up his hands and said “No! Stop tellin’ me! It’s not inchrestin’!” After a split second of confusion, I suddenly got the reference and burst out laughing. Well played, R. Good work.

R: C3, D3.

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