The Naturalist on Chios, Greece.

Mike Taylor , Liverpool Museum.

Grasshoppers and Crickets

Some limited survey work has been undertaken on the Grasshoppers and Crickets, Orthoptera, for which over twenty species have been recognised. The largest species found, Saga natoliae , Tettigoniidae, is one of the largest insects known from Europe with an elongated body and wings exceeding 10cm . I have found these ferocious, carnivorous insects in July on the road and in the adjacent vegetation between Diefcha and Fyta. They prey mainly on insects which they sieze with their powerful jaws. On one occasion I was handling a particularly large specimen in order to position it for photography when it bit one of my fingers, puncturing the skin and drawing blood. Males of these insects are unknown, the females reproducing by the process of parthenogenesis.

Many species of Grasshoppers are subject to predation. The large egg masses laid by some species, including Locusts, amongst litter and the roots of vegetation are sought out by female Bee Flies, Diptera, Bombyliidae, particularly from the Genus Exoprosopa. Nearly one hundred different species of Bombyliidae have been recognised during the Liverpool Museum survey. The diversity of this fauna contributes to a robust biological control mechanism on the island keeping Orthoptera numbers under control, thus avoiding development of populations of plague proportions. Managros and Kato Fana are particularly rich with respect to the numbers of different species occurring there.

Bush Crickets, Tettigoniidae, provide the prime food source for the rare and elusive Cinereous Bunting, which breeds in small numbers in the uplands of south and central Chios.




© M.J.Taylor 2003. - email: mike.taylor(at) 

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