Nemobius sylvestris

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Nemobius sylvestris
Nemobius sylvestris (2388986320).jpg
Female wood cricket
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Ensifera
Superfamily: Grylloidea
Family: Trigonidiidae
Subfamily: Nemobiinae
Genus: Nemobius
Species: N. sylvestris
Binomial name
Nemobius sylvestris
(Bosc, 1792)

Acheta sylvestris Bosc, 1792[1]

Nemobius sylvestris, the wood cricket, is a flightless species of cricket in the family Gryllidae. It is native to Western Europe and North Africa but uncommon in Britain.


This cricket is a small, dark brown, ground-dwelling, grasshopper-like insect with long, thread-like antennae. It grows to about 1 cm (0.4 in). Neither males nor females have hind wings; in males the fore-wings extend half way along the abdomen, while in females, the fore-wings are reduced to rounded stubs. Females also have a long ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen.[2]

Distribution and habitat

The wood cricket is native to Europe and North Africa. Its range includes Western, Central and Southern Europe, Corsica, Algeria and Morocco.[3][4] The natural habitat of this species is forest edges and woodland clearings, where it is associated with oak, beech, hazel and holly trees and with bracken. It thrives among the leaf litter in warm, sunny spots. It is uncommon in Britain, with separate populations in the New Forest, the Isle of Wight and southern Devon. In 2001, following the clearance of coniferous woodland and rhododendron from a site near Offwell in eastern Devon, a new population appeared; the nearest previously known population had been around Harpford, some 11 km (7 mi) away.[2]

Male wood cricket


Wood crickets live among the decaying leaf litter on which they feed. They may also consume the fungus growing among the litter.[2] When the weather is hot enough, males stridulate (sing) during both day and night. The loud two tone call is difficult to pinpoint, especially when several are calling in close proximity. When disturbed, these crickets leap away with their powerful back limbs, or hide in the leaf litter or among low vegetation.[4]

Eggs are laid in the leaf litter in summer and autumn and the crickets overwinter as eggs or as nymphs, with the young maturing in June. Unusually for insects in the grasshopper family, wood crickets survive for two years.[4] Being flightless, these crickets are limited in their dispersal abilities; males have been found to disperse over 55 m (180 ft) from the woodland edge but females and nymphs did not move nearly so far.[5] Dispersal along the edge of woodland is more possible.[5]


  1. ^ "Nemobius sylvestris (Bosc, 1792) – Wood Cricket". Natural History Museum. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris)". Woodland Education Centre. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Nemobius sylvestris (Bosc, 1792)". Orthoptera and their ecology. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Cousteaux, Gilbert; Cousteaux, Julien (2003). "Les grillons" (PDF). Insectes (in French). Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b Brodwers, Niels C.; Newton, Adrian C.; Bailet, Sallie (2011). "The dispersal ability of wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) in a wooded landscape". European Journal of Entomology. 108 (1): 117–125. doi:10.14411/eje.2011.015.

External Links

  • Friday Fellow: Wood Cricket at Earthling Nature
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