Cricket or Grasshopper?

Crickets and grasshoppers are charming insects to encounter during summer and autumn, but are similar looking species.

Both species have different markings in shades of green and/or brown.

Also, both species have powerful hind legs for jumping, although bush crickets are less athletic.

The easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at their antennae:

  • A cricket’s antennae is always much longer than its body, whereas a grasshopper’s is always short, as you can see in these images:

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In the UK there are 5 species of ‘true’ cricket, 13 species of bush-cricket, and the mole-cricket. There are also 11 species of grasshopper.

Crickets and grasshoppers are related species and belong to the orthoptera order.

Adult speckled bush cricket
Immature speckled bush cricket (nymph). Photo: Jo Cartmell
speckled bush-cricket
Adult speckled bush cricket. Photo: Jo Cartmell

All cricket young, known as nymphs, are very small and not easy to spot. They tend to be confused with large aphids or juvenile capsid bugs. But they have very long antennae even when young!

The Field Studies Council have an excellent printed guide to help you distinguish the various species of crickets and grasshoppers.

Because these insects are so fascinating, we have a blog post The Wonder of Stridulating Orthoptera in Summer Meadows where you can discover even more about crickets and grasshoppers with additional information and the habitats that they seek, so that you can help them.

Acknowledgements:
Thanks to David Williams, Orthoptera County Recorder, Shropshire for his advice.
Special thanks to Ian Beavis @iancbeavis, Natural history specialist & Entomologist, for editing and providing some fascinating facts!

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