Saddle-backed Bush Cricket  

Ephippiger ephippiger    

L’éphippigère des vignes

This is large Bush Cricket

that has a body measuring 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.

Saddle-backed bush cricket, France
black clearly visible at the rear of the head.
Saddle-backed bush cricket

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 is 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.