|They can be found in the most unlikely
Inside Out presenter Chris Packham
probes the undergrowth in search of crickets and finds these
rare insects have made their home in a most unusual, but rather appropriate
big, brash and bolshy. Britains crickets are among our most impressive
and exciting insects, but the best of them are also quite rare, surviving
in just a few places in the south of England.
years, the charming field cricket survived on just two sites, one of which
was a cricket pitch.
bank on the boundary covered in rough grass provided a last refuge and
despite the crowds and all the picnics, polite applause and trampling,
the crickets continued to field a team.
mole cricket - probably the rarest species in England
English Nature and London Zoo have been breeding field crickets and introducing
them to new sites, a project which seems to be successful.
our rarest cricket, if it still exists on the British mainland at all,
is the enigmatic mole cricket.
burrowing brute is aptly named. Its armed with spade-like front
limbs which are superbly adapted to burrowing in soft soils.
difficult to find and often the only clue is its characteristic song
a loud, persistent buzzing, which sounds like an irritating moped stuck
in first gear.
encountered and every bit as spectacular is the great green bush cricket.
This robust green songster occurs across the south where it lives in patches
of thistles and bramble.
At the end
of summer, males climb to the top of the vegetation on warm afternoons
and evenings and sing their hearts out.
Singing for sex
can make excellent pets
a song for sex. The impressive volume is vital - females may be 500 metres
away. On a still night, the sound is audible from twice this distance.
in other parts of Europe, such a chorus is commonplace. Elsewhere in the
world, there are some real giants.
of the tropics and New Zealands Wetas are almost six-legged mice
and in some sweaty verdant glades, the noise can be deafening.
In many eastern
countries, children keep crickets as pets to serenade them to sleep each
If a mole
cricket would do that for me, Id be very happy indeed.