Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Ledra aurita

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 14 July 2018 21:44

I did a survey out in East Sussex today and Rachel came out for some invert training. We clocked up well over 150 species of invertebrate which was pretty impressive for the nature of the site. The highlight for me was beating an adult Ledra aurita from Hazel. I have only six records for this weird looking hopper, our largest species. I think it kinda looks like it has a dog's head in this photo. All but one of of my records have been nymphs, so it was great to see an adult again. It's not rare, I just don't seen the adults that often. I really remember finding a dead one when I as a kid at Sandringham whilst and identifying it myself. 

So today when I placed it on top of a fence post for a photo shoot, I was excited to see it opening its wing cases ready to fly. I wasn't prepared for what happened next. It jumped almost vertically into the canopy and this seamlessly became flight. It was like watching a firework go off. Or Superman taking flight! If I had videoed this, it would have simply winked out of existence. What an amazingly efficient and fast way to find your way back to the canopy if you get beaten out of a tree by an entomologist or blown out in a storm!

Other highlights included this Dotted Fan-foot that Rachel caught and several Adelphocoris ticinensis. We also had two new bugs for the 10 km square on the atlas, being Box Bog and Stictopleurus punctanervosa.

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