Saddle-backed Bush Cricket
L’éphippigère des vignes
This large Bush Cricket has a body that measures 2 to 3 cm with the females’ ovipositor being 2.5 to 3cm. It is one of the species with only vestigial wings and as such they can’t fly.
Colour in the Ephippiger ephippiger complex varies with the geographical distribution. Those from Southern France have conspicuously pale banded dark-green or brown tergites. However, the Eastern Pyrenean subspecies, E. e. cunii, lacks the broad banding of its neighbouring E. e. vitium. Research is ongoing into the Ephippiger ephippiger complex with the use of DNA sampling. With the head down, it’s possible to see a black band or line on the rear of the head that is only present in Ephippiger ephippiger species that aids identification.
It generally prefers hot places and it is a mainly vegetarian species that eats leaves of various plants, and as its French name implies it was often to be found in vineyards, but extensive use of pesticides has severely reduced their numbers. Small insects, aphids etc, will also be taken.
Both male and female stridulate both day and night. Adults mate in August and eggs are put in the soil where they remain for 2 to 5 years before hatching.
Found mainly in the south and west of France but can be found in all other regions.