Thursday, 19 August 2010

'Monster' of insect world, the great green cricket, spotted for first time in region

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A MONSTER of the insect world has been found lurking in our region for the first time.

The discovery of the great green bush cricket on wasteland in west Hull is exciting naturalists across East Yorkshire.

Naturalist Barry Warrington spotted the rare green insect while walking on a footpath along the Humber bank.

He managed to photograph the unusual male cricket, which has ears on its front legs, before it slunk back into the undergrowth.

The great green, which grows up to three inches long, has been seen only once previously in Yorkshire.

Mr Warrington, 32, of Buttfield Road, Hessle, said: "I was looking for insects when I made this discovery.

"I was on wasteland next to a footpath on the Humber bank trying to find a migrant hawker dragonfly.

"I was peering into a bush when I noticed a different shade of green, which turned out to be a huge cricket.

"I was gob-smacked. I had never seen anything like it before."

Accountant Mr Warrington, a keen wildlife photographer, managed to snap the striking insect.

He said: "It was pure luck I found it, but at the time I didn't know exactly what I had found.

"I showed the pictures to experts, who identified it as the great green bush cricket, which is usually seen only in the south.

"It is only just beginning to sink in how significant this discovery is."

The first time the great green was spotted in the county was in Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire last year.

Mr Warrington also found another rare insect, a speckled bush cricket, in the same area of west Hull this year.

He said: "I can't believe I found two rare crickets in such a short space of time.

"But seeing the male great green was really thrilling because it is Britain's biggest insect and a real monster."

Experts who study insects, called entomologists, have also been excited by his unusual discoveries.

Entomologist Dr David Chesmore, of York University, said: "It is exciting a great green bush cricket has been seen in Yorkshire for only the second time.

"It would be even more exciting if we could discover if this particular male was breeding where it was found."

Dr Chesmore was also impressed with Mr Warrington's discovery of a speckled bush cricket. He said: "The only previously recorded sighting of a speckled in Yorkshire was at Middleton-on-the-Wolds, near Driffield, in 1925.

"The obvious answer for this would be climate change, but the crickets could also have arrived on a vehicle travelling up from the south.

"We will be keeping a close eye on the situation because it would be brilliant if both species had started to breed in Yorkshire."

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