Species Account for Stenobothrus lineatus
Stenobothrus lineatus (Panzer, 1796)
Orthoptera group: Acrididae
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Essex RDB: Listed
Threat: Essex Endangered
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Taxonomic group: grasshoppers, crickets and allies (Orthoptera group) - County data
Stripe-winged Grasshopper on Orthoptera Recording Scheme website
Essex Red Data List comment
The Stripe-winged Grasshopper was discovered at Whitehall Plain in Epping Forest in 2009 by Imogen Wilde (of the City of London) and adds a further native species to the list of Essex Orthoptera. Imogen heard the distinctive metallic sounding song of the grasshopper on 9th July when undertaking a quadrat survey on the plain, she also found three males and a female within a very localised area of the plain (TQ 400938). The specific patch that the grasshoppers occupied was an area of sparse vegetation and newly forming ant hills, plant species that the grasshopper appeared to be associated with included Birds-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus, Heath Bedstraw Galium saxatile and Sheep’s Sorrel Rumex acetosella. Jeremy Dagley and Andy Froud (City of London) have also recorded males and females on the plain, although the maximum number of females seen at one time was two on 20th July by the author. The intriguing thing about the discovery is where the grasshopper came from, could it be an overlooked population that has gone unrecorded for many years? Another theory is that it may be spreading due to climate change. Jeremy Dagley and Magda Charalambous have noticed the colonisation of three new sites at Silwood Park (Imperial College) in Berkshire in 2009 (the species was previously only recorded at one), indicating that it may be on the move. The nearest populations of this scarce grasshopper are at Kings Cross, Camley Street Nature Park (TQ 38) and Bexley Hospital Grounds (TQ 57) in West Kent, both colonies over 10 km from Epping Forest, making natural colonisation difficult, but not impossible. There is also a questionable record of this grasshopper in 1984 from the Mersea and Fingringhoe Ranges area of Essex (TM 0316), the sighting comes from the Invertebrate Site Register which is no longer maintained. Due to the lack of detail surrounding this record (e.g. recorder, habitat etc.), and the fact that it did not appear in Wake (1997), the author has excluded it from the county database. However the Stripe-winged Grasshopper came to be in Epping Forest, we must hope that it persists and manages to build up a larger population.