15 cm big cricket?
Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 12:18 PM
South of France in August. Photo shows the ”beast” on a laurel branch. Location around the Mont Ventoux.
Location around the Mont Ventoux. Near camping site
This is a Shield-Back Katydid or Bush Cricket in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. We found one European website with images of a species Barbitistes obtusus that look very similar to your specimen. ZipCodeZoo.com gives the common name Southern Saw-Tailed Bush-Cricket, and in France it is called Le Barbitiste Empourpré or Le Barbitiste Empourpr . We also found a BBC page on the Alpine Bush Cricket, Anonconotus alpinus, that graphically chronicles the mating habits of another related species. We have also learned that Bush Crickets are called Wart Biters in English speaking Europe. We are going to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki for substantiation of the identification.
Correction: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:52:28
The katydid in the photo is a member of the subfamily Ephippigerinae,
commonly referred to as Saddle-backed Bush-crickets. It is a fairly basal
(“primitive”) lineage of katydids, restricted in their distribution to SW
Palaearctic. They have fascinating reproductive behavior that involves
enormous paternal investment and female singing.
The insect in the photo is in the genus Ephippiger, possibly E. ephippiger,
but two or three very similar species are also known from Provence.