A common field grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus) photographed by Ian Bushell in the park this week. This is a species that thrives among fined-leaved grasses, a sure sign that our policy of reducing the fertility and thus widening the biodiversity of our fields is working.

Common field grasshopper by Ouwesok (CC BY-NC 2.0) flickr.com p

Common field grasshoppers prefer ungrazed fields. Grazing is known to raise nitrogen levels in grassland and is thought to alter plant hormone production, both of which reduce the fertility of these grasshoppers. In ungrazed fields like ours Chorthippus brunneus show increased rates of development, higher adult weights, and more successful breeding behaviours.

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