Title: Phaneroptera falcata at Hastings CP

 Hi everyone,

Here are some interesting comments from John Paul, our County Otrthoptera Recorder on the Phaneroptera falcata at Hastings including tips on where to look for more.

 "New Orthoptera don't appear often so I still say this is the find of the decade.  I compared the female I kept with my Ragge-determined reference specimens of European phaneropterines and it is clearly P.falcata.

I had a skim through the continental literature last night.  There is plenty of work on the biology, especially from Germany by Ingrisch, Detzel and others.  Unlike most bush-crickets in our area the eggs hatch after just one winter.  The embryonic development of the eggs is dependant on temperature and this seems to be an important determinant of geographical distribution. In Germany it is common in the south and peters out in the north.  The  Dutch atlas shows that it has moved into SE Holland in the last 10 years or so.  I have found it with ease near Le Havre at the base of a warm cliff along with Platycleis albopunctata, Conocephalus discolor, Oecanthus pellucens and G.rufus so I would guess our south coast is about the edge of its possible range and that its best chance is to follow our other temperature-challenges spp like Glanville  fritillaries, Drypta dentata and Platycleis albopunctata to sun traps on the undercliffs.  Further south in Europe I have found it in bog-standard open scrub or in forest clearings.  In the far south  P.nana replaces it and in S.Spain and Africa the related P.sparsa occurs.

Nymphs and adults feed on many herbacious plants (chamomiles, nettles etc.
and samll flies - but no mention of rose-bay willowherb).  They like to select spots between 0.5 and 1 metre from the ground.  The females insert eggs into the leaves of shrubs and trees, however, including Prunus, Quercus, Rubus etc.  So it needs sunny herbacious spots with a bit of woody scrub (Refs Ingrisch, Detzel, Kleukers)

Old records are 2 from Cornwall (in Dale and Lucas) and a later one  from Seatown, Dorset (Fraser in Kevan).  I've been to all 3 sites with no luck!

Hope this helps with clues to understanding how it got to Hastings and where to look for more."

 John Paul

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