Hartlebury Common has four different species of grasshoppers, Common Green, Field, Meadow and Mottled. These vegetarian insects can be heard singing (or stridulating) across the Common in summer. They produce their song by rubbing their long hind legs against their wings to produce the familiar rattling sound. Most grasshoppers can be found in a variety of grasslands but the Mottled Grasshopper is a true heathland specialist, requiring the hot, humid conditions associated with this habitat. They are small and well camouflaged but the male has butterfly-like clubs on the end of his antennae making him quite distinctive when found.
There are also two species of groundhoppers, smaller relatives of grasshoppers found here, Common and Slender. These are also vegetarians, feeding on mosses especially around old fire-sites but they do not sing. Add to that four species of bush-cricket (Oak, Speckled, Dark and Roesel’s) and there is enough variety to keep the inquisitive mind happy trying to see the differences. Bush-crickets are omnivorous, feeding on vegetation and small invertebrates. They sing by rubbing hard pads on their wings across each other which produces a high-pitched series of chirps which many people find hard to hear. Speckled Bush-cricket is the one most often encountered and is bright green with tiny black spots.