The Scaly Cricket Pseudomogoplistes vicentae (Gorochov) in the Channel Islands.
Scaly Crickets, a drawing by Roselyn Coulomb
Photo of Scaly Cricket
Scaly Crickets are small, brown, wingless crickets that live on the seashore.
Before 1998 they were only known from one place in N.W. Europe, but since then
they have been found in several other places.
The Scaly Cricket was first discovered in the Channel Islands by Eileen & Peter
Brown at Dixcart Bay in Sark in 1998. Before this it was only known in N.W.
Europe from Chesil Bank in Dorset, England, where it had been since at least
the 1940s, and from one record from Granville in France in 1950. (Sutton
1999, Beaufils 1999). Also in 1998, it was found near Carolles on the Normandy
by M. Beaufils and at Branscombe in S. Devon.
Since then it has been found
at several more sites on the coasts of Normandy and Brittany, in Wales, and
at several beaches in Guernsey. It was realised that the scaly cricket from
the beaches of the English Channel was a native species, and not as had been
previously thought, an introduction from the Mediterranean. It is a subspecies
(septentrionalis) of a species known from Portugal and Morocco,
and is not the Mediterranean P. squamiger (Gorochov 1996, Morère & Livory
Habitats in the Channel Islands
As in the rest of its range the cricket is found near the high tide
mark of pebbly beaches and on pebble banks. It can sometimes be found by
larger stones, and the nymphs are occasionally seen hopping around on the
beach like sand-hoppers. Other animals found in the same area of the beach
the woodlice Ligia oceanica, Porcellio scaber and Halophiloscia
couchi, many amphipods, the centipede Strigamia maritima,
Lycosid spiders, the Carabid
beetle Agonum albipes, Staphylinid beetles of the genus Cafius
and large numbers of Coelopid, Sphaerocerid, Sepsid and Anthomyid flies
Distribution in the Channel Islands
In Sark there are several stony beaches apparently suitable for the cricket,
but it has not yet been found there apart from at the west end of Dixcart
Bay. In Guernsey a long length of the coast at the N. and W. of the island
banks or stony beaches at the high tide mark interspersed with sand dunes
or rocky headlands. The cricket has so far been found in three areas -
beaches N. and S. of Spur Point in St Sampsons on the east coast, further
north at a large pebble bank opposite Hoummet Paradis island and on pebble
the northwest coast between Port Soif and Pecqueries Bays. It is likely
that the cricket occurs on most of this coast, but is hard to find where
has a low
population. The cricket is probably mostly nocturnal, so it might be found
more easily by searching at night with a torch, or by using pitfall traps.
There are stony beaches in Alderney, Herm, Jethou and Jersey, and on several
of the small islands round Guernsey, but the cricket has not yet been found
in those islands.
Habitats of the scaly cricket in the Channel Islands
Distribution of stony beaches and the Scaly Cricket in the Bailiwick of
Pebble bank between Portinfer and Pecqueries bays on the W. coast of
Pebble bank at Portinfer Bay on the W. coast of Guernsey.
Stony beach N. of Spur Point on the E. coast of Guernsey.
Pebble bank opposite Hommet Paradis island on the N.E. coast of Guernsey.
Dixcart Bay in Sark
Little is known about the biology of the cricket. We do not know what
it eats - the only field observation is of one eating a bird dropping
et al. 2000) - or where it lays it eggs, but there is
some information on its life-cycle. In Guernsey and Sark small nymphs
have been found in spring
and summer, and
adults from late summer to winter. This seems consistent with studies
in England & France
(Timmins 1994, Livory et al. 2000). It appears that the insects
can live for up to three years, and can overwinter as eggs, nymphs or
Apparently most eggs laid one summer or autumn hatch the next summer.
nymphs overwinter and mature the following summer. These adults may in
turn overwinter. The
insects are wingless and so, presumably, make no sound as crickets use
their wings to stridulate. Most other species of cricket use sound for
Beaufils, M. 1999. Un heureux concours de circonstances. Argiope 23, 26-27.
Gorochov, A.V. 1996. A new species of Pseudomogoplistes from Morocco
and Portugal (Orthoptera:Mogoplistidae). Zoosystematica Rossica 4(2),
Livory, A., Coulomb, R., & Morère, J-J. 2000. Nouvelles observations
sur le Grillon Maritime Pseudomogoplistes vicentae septentrionalis. Argiope 28, 47-63.
Morère, J-J. & Livory, A. 1999. Le grillon maritime de la
Manche: une espèce nouvelle pour la France. Argiope 23, 29-37.
Sutton, P. 1999. The Scaly Cricket in Britain: A complete history from
discovery to citizenship. British Wildlife 11, 145-151.
Timmins, C.J. 1994. The life cycle of Pseudomogoplistes squamiger Fischer
(Orthopt. Gryllidae). Entomol. Month. Mag. 130, 218.