Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Paper

Movement analyses of wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)

N.C. Brouwersa1 c1 and A.C. Newtona1

a1 School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BB, UK


Information on the dispersal ability of invertebrate species associated with woodland habitats is severely lacking. Therefore, a study was conducted examining the movement patterns of wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) on the Isle of Wight, UK. Juvenile (i.e. nymphs) and adult wood crickets were released and observed over time within different ground surface substrates. Their movement paths were recorded and subsequently analysed using random walk models. Nymphs were found to move more slowly than adults did; and, when given a choice, both nymphs and adults showed a preference for moving through or over leaf litter compared to bare soil or grass. A correlated random walk (CRW) model accurately described the movement pattern of adult wood crickets through leaf litter, indicating a level of directional persistence in their movements. The estimated population spread through leaf litter for adults was 17.9 cm min−1. Movements of nymphs through leaf litter could not accurately be described by a random walk model, showing a change in their movement pattern over time from directed to more random movements. The estimated population spread through leaf litter for nymphs was 10.1 cm min−1. The results indicate that wood cricket adults can be considered as more powerful dispersers than nymphs; however, further analysis of how the insects move through natural heterogeneous environments at a range of spatio-temporal scales needs to be performed to provide a complete understanding of the dispersal ability of the species.

(Accepted September 23 2009)

(Online publication December 11 2009)


c1 Author for correspondence Fax: +44 1202 965255 E-mail: nbrouwers@bournemouth.ac.uk