It’s not uncommon in southern
Europe to come across a grasshopper that looks like a stick insect. A quick
browse in Chinery’s book on insects and there was a species that matched it
well – Acrida ungarica. This book gives
no English name but more recently names that crop up are nosed grasshopper or
cone-headed grasshopper, from its look, and Hungarian grasshopper, from its
Insect ID often isn’t that easy and that’s the case here. Paul Tout, Honeyguide leader in Istria and Slovenia, sent me a link to an Italian picture showing two species. Some internet sources show three subspecies.
Then Paul Brock’s book ‘A photographic guide to Insects of Southern
Europe & the Mediterranean’ was released late in 2017, and a
visit to Crete in April was an ideal time to test
this fine new book in the field.
Truxalis nasuta or Nosey Cone-headed Grasshopper, Crete, April 2018. Only easy to see this green form when it steps out of the vegetation.
The insects in
Crete match perfectly what Brock calls Truxalis nasuta or Nosey Cone-headed Grasshopper (using Brock’s
style of capital letters). The IUCN* calls this species Splendid Cone-headed Grasshopper.
The IUCN also says “The genus Acrida is in need of taxonomic revision”. However most references, Brock included, have simply two species: Acrida ungarica in much of central and southern
Europe and Truxalis
the Mediterranean, including coastal , Iberia Crete and North Africa, albeit with maps showing quite a lot of
overlap. I have re-labelled photos from as Truxalis, following Brock. Morocco
Truxalis nasuta, Morocco, March 2017. A dry year in Morocco so a brown form.
Colour variation is a nice feature of these grasshoppers, green or brown to match the surrounding vegetation.
* The International Union for Conservation of Nature