Sunday 19 May
Scaly cricket (Pseudomogoplistes vicentae)
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Scaly cricket fact file
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Scaly cricket description
First recorded in Britain in 1949, this species is small, with a chestnut brown to grey body and pale legs, which are covered with minute scales. Wings are absent in both sexes so males cannot stridulate; the female ovipositor is about the same length as the cerci (a pair of appendages at the very end of the abdomen, which often act as sensory organs). The English name derives from the covering of tiny scales.
- Body length (males): 8-11 mm
- Body length (females): 10-13 mm
Scaly cricket biology
Very little is known about this species in Britain. It emerges at night and probably feeds on decaying animal and plant material found on the strandline. Individual specimens may live up to three years and all stages of the life cycle can be found throughout the year.Top
Scaly cricket range
Found in the Mediterranean, southern Portugal, Madeira and the Cherbourg Peninsula in France. In Britain it was for many years known only from Chesil Beach in Dorset. This led to the now refuted notion that the species was introduced to Britain during The Second World War in sand from the Mediterranean region. Following the discovery of a second colony between Branscombe and Beer Head in Devon in 1998, and colonies on the Island of Sark in the Channel Islands and in Pembrokeshire, Wales during 2000, the species is now recognised as a true native of the British Isles.Top
Scaly cricket habitat
The scaly cricket inhabits shingle beaches, and has been found living amongst shingle, under rocks and beach debris. Most individuals inhabit shingle above the high-water mark, and are associated with the seaweed strandline.Top
Scaly cricket status
Classified as Endangered in Great Britain.Top
Scaly cricket threats
There has been no decline of the species in Great Britain, the scaly cricket is now known from four localities. However, colonies are sensitive to human disturbance and marine pollution.Top
Scaly cricket conservation
New sampling techniques used in researching this species have shown that the British populations are relatively large, it therefore seems that the species is not currently endangered in Great Britain. However, these populations are of international significance; the species is recognised as an international rarity.Top
Information supplied and authenticated by Bryan Pinchen (independent ecologist).Top
- Pair of appendages at the posterior end of insect abdomen, which often perform a sensory role.
- Egg-laying organ in female insects consisting of outgrowths of the abdomen (the hind region of the body in insects). The stinging organ and poison sac of worker bees and non-reproductive female wasps is a modified ovipositor.
- Production of sound by rubbing a file across a membrane. In insects, often a file on a wing rubs against the surface of the other wing, or the file is on a leg which is scraped on the wing.
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