Biology

  • Eggs are laid in bark, hatching during June, rarely earlier.
  • There are 5 nymphal instars and adults appear during late July and August.
  • Adults may survive until late in the year in mild weather, even into December.
  • Both Meconema species are largely carnivorous, eating a wide variety of insects.
  • They are mainly nocturnal and attracted to light so may be encountered at lighted windows or even indoors.
  • Male Meconema have long, curved cerci, which are wrapped around the end of the female’s abdomen during mating. This helps the male maintain contact with the female for 0.5-2 hours (Vahed 1996).
  • When released, the female eats the spermatophore in which the sperm were transferred by the male.

In macropterous (winged) orthopteroids the wing pads of the last 2 instars are reversed or hinged upwards, so that the hind wing-pad covers most of the fore wing-pad and both pairs can be clearly seen.

By contrast the very short wings of the adult southern oak bush-cricket lie flat, the fore wing covering the even shorter hind wing.

Both species should be adult by September, so any ‘nymphs’ observed thereafter are likely to be the brachypterous adults of the southern oak bush-cricket.

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