Southern Oak Bush-cricket Meconema meridionale is a pale green bush-cricket with a creamy-yellow dorsal stripe and two reddish spots on top of the pro-thorax. The female has a long, slightly upturned ovipositor, while the male has long curved cerci. Both sexes have vestigial wings and are flightless. The species is largely arboreal, being associated with a wide range of trees but is also found in gardens. It feeds on small invertebrates.
Southern Oak Bush-cricket has been rapidly expanding its range in continental Europe, being first recorded in Britain in Surrey in September 2001. Since then, it has spread northwards, with sporadic records in the Midlands and Northern England, including Yorkshire. The first sightings for North Merseyside (v.c.59, South Lancashire) were singles at Seaforth in July 2019, Toxteth, Liverpool, in September 2020 and at Calderstones Park, Liverpool, in November 2021. Then, on 10th September 2022, Ian Wolfenden found an adult female in a mist-net in his Thornton, Sefton, garden (tetrad SD30F). This was followed on 18th October by the first multiple sighting, also in Ian’s garden, of four adults (two of each sex) in the canopy of a tall, coppiced Hazel Corylus avellana. The question that arises is how did a flightless bush-cricket get to Merseyside? One suggestion is that it hitches a lift on vehicles. In the case of Ian’s garden, he tells me it is about 100 m from a Tesco Express, so perhaps the crickets arrived with a delivery!
I am grateful to Ian Wolfenden for providing details of his finds and specimens to photograph.