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Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata

It is not difficult to identify the Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket. It is all green and has extremely long wings. Especially the hind wings are very long indeed and stick out far from under the upper wings. The hind legs are very long too and extremely thin. The eyes may be green, but are red in many animals. Yet the body is only 12 to 17 mm in males and 15 to 18 mm in females, but to the eye the animal is considerably bigger. The females do have a sabre, but it is very short and sharply points upwards and is hard to see under the long wings. The antennae are impressive too and may be 4 times the length of the body. The only look-a-like is Phaneroptera nana. This however is a Southern European species, not present in Britain or Central Europe.

The Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket feeds on many plants, but eggs are very often laid on Blackthorn. The animal can be seen from July to October and is active from 3 am to just after midnight. This is a Southern European species actually, but during the last 40 years or so it advances northwards. It reached Holland in 1968 and now is a common species in the southern provinces. Still it is very rare in the Northern parts. In Britain it breeds in Hastings, East Sussex only, but may spread into other areas. It's look-a-like the Common Green Bush-Cricket or Mediterranean Katydid (Phaneroptera nana)is also spreading northwards but in a much lower pace. Still it too may turn up in Southern England eventually.