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Great Green Bush-Cricket Tettigonia viridissima

If you would measure the entire animal, including wings, ovipositor and antennae this is the biggest insect in Britain, measuring well over 80 mm. But we don't do that. Scientists only measure the body itself, without all these protrusions. If you do that this is still an impressive insect, for males will be 28 to 34 mm long and females even measure up to 38 mm. However the females of the much rarer Wart-biter are bigger still, measuring up to 42 mm. The Great Green Bush-Cricket is green, of course. Except for a single brown line running over its back. The legs are speckled, just like the Bush-cricket's, but the body isn't. The wings are very long indeed. Females have a long, slightly downward pointing ovipositor, males have two cerci at the back. Young animals are similar to the young of the Bush-cricket, but they are not speckled. The nymph is in the middle picture.

The egg is overwintering and the first nymphs are usually seen by the end of April. The nymphs live low in vegetation, for they can not fly. Once adult (ususally in July) they are seen higher in the vegetation. Actually adults can hardly fly, they just glide in the air to excape from an enemy. Their green colour provides excellent camouflage, for despite their impressive size they are very hard to discover. Often they are only seen when moving. The Great Green Bush-Cricket is not a vegetarian like most others. Actually it rather eats other insects, especially flies, caterpillars, other grasshoppers and crickets. If you must handle the animal with care, for it has a painful bite! In September the females will deposit their eggs, usually in the bark of a tree.

The Great Green Bush-Cricket inhabits Europe and Northern Asia, including Mongolia. It prefers the edges of woods, road sides with foliage, parks and even bigger gardens. A common species in England and Southern Wales.