Southern Oak Bush-cricket Meconema meridionale
The Southern Oak Bush-cricket is about the size of the Oak Bush-cricket: 11 to 16 mm. The females are slightly larger than the males. The two species do look like one another very much. Yet the difference is easy to see: the Southern Oak Bush-cricket has extremely small wings. They are about the same size as the shield is. One may even think the animal on this page is a larva, but no, it is an adult female. The animal has two small reddish lines on top. A yellow line runs over the entire body. In females the end of the ovipositor is reddish.
The nymphs can be told apart by looking at the wings-to-be as well. In Oak Bush-crickets there are the stumps of all four wings. In the Southern Oak Bush-cricket only two stumps are visible. In June and July we see the nymphs, while adults appear in August. They remain active untill November. To attract a female the male drums on a leaf, a sound barely audible for mankind. The Southern Oak Bush-cricket eats small animals, such as aphids.
This is a species from Southern Europe, which is extending its territory northwards rapidly. Found in neighbouring Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands in the 1990's. In 2001 it reached Britain. Nowadays widely recorded in Southern England. The two species are hardly ever found together. The Southern Oak Bush-cricket is mainly found in villages and cities. The micro climate in urban areas is a lot warmer than in rural areas, so the species feels itself at home near humans. In rural areas however it is colder, especially in winter, and that is where to find the Oak Bush-cricket.