Rare cricket that thrives in the Fens to be given special protection

Great Green Bush Cricket

Great Green Bush Cricket - Credit: Archant

A rare insect that thrives in the long grass of the Ouse Washes near Mepal is to be given special protection by the Environment Agency.

The great green bush cricket has been spotted in abundance on the flood banks of the Old Bedford River and the Ouse Washes.

The Environment Agnecy says that there are only two populations of the rare crickets remaining in Cambridgeshire.

Each has reducing populations of no more than 50 singing males per year due to loss of habitat and the great green bush crickets in Cambridgeshire are the most northerly remaining in Britain.

Before the end of October fencing will be erected to protect the species in the Ouse Washes, which has also recently benefited from the organisation’s investment in desilting, repairing and maintaining stretches of river and flood banks.

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Julia Massey, biodiversity officer for the Environment Agency, said: “The great green bush cricket is the largest and noisiest cricket in the UK.

“These crickets particularly like the long grass growing on the flood banks, they like to make their homes in the tops of the grasses approximately 30cm off the ground.

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“The conditions here are perfect for them. We are erecting fences to keep grazing cattle away and allow them a safe place to live and breed.

“Great green bush crickets aren’t protected by any EU directives or Biodiversity Action Plans but they are of significant interest in the world of biodiversity. Having this species is a real feather in the cap for Cambridgeshire, and they are obviously something we would like to protect.”

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