The IUCN SSC Grasshopper Specialist Group is involved in several conservation projects for Orthoptera. These projects include in situ conservation projects, ex situ breeding programs, strategic conservation planning, scientific research on Orthoptera conservation as well as explorative research.
The Crau Plain Grasshopper
Prionotropis hystrix rhodanica, the Crau Plain Grasshopper, is endemic to the Crau Steppe in southern France. The species is Critically Endangered. A recent mapping project of CEN PACA (Conservatoire d'espaces naturels Provence-Alpes-Cotes d'Azur) revealed that only four subpopulations of the Crau Plain Grasshopper are left. The largest subpopulation was threatened by plans of the French Army to construct new buildings on this site. However, a recent intervention of the IUCN SSC Grasshopper Specialist Group and the IUCN French Committee led to reconsiderations of these plans. In 2013, we started a research project on the population ecology (population size, mobility) and habitat preferences of the Crau Plain Grasshopper. A conservation planning workshop was held in June 2014 which was attended by the major stakeholders. The conservation strategy was developed in cooperation with the IUCN Species Conservation Planning Sub-Committee. A new research project on the role of predation and pesticides for the decline of the species is funded by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and a breeding program was established at Thoiry Zoo. A new survey in 2015 showed that meanwhile only three subpopulations remain.
The Gran Canaria Green Bush-Cricket
Island taxa are often highly threatened, because of their small ranges and the strong impact of invasive species. A recent analysis has shown that a high proportion of endemic Orthoptera of the Canary Islands are threatened. The genus Calliphona (Canary Green Bush-Crickets) is rather special in this regard. Members of this genus have a rather narrow distribution (they are endemic to a single island) and occur mainly in forest habitats, but they seem to be relatively insensitive to anthropogenic changes of their habitat. They even can be found in gardens. However, recen increase in wildfire frequencies on the Canary Islands has substantially affected forest habitats on the island. In June 2013, Arthur Miller (Bangor University) started a research project on the effects of fire on the populations of the Gran Canaria Green Bush-Cricket (Calliphona alluaudi), which has been assessed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. First results indicate that the species was severely affected by a large wildfire on Gran Canaria in 2007. During the field trip, Arthur Miller also searched for the Critically Endangered Evergoderes cabrerai (Gran Canaria Bush-cricket), which has not been found since the mid 1960s. However, the search for this species was not successfull.
Threatened Orthoptera of the Seychelles
Similar to the endemic Orthoptera of the Canary islands, the endemic Orthoptera of the Seychelles are highly threatened. The major threats to the species are invasions of non-native plants in the cloud forest zone (particularly cinnamon) and climate change. Many species occur only in a narrow zone close to the coast and particularly species occurring on shallow atoll islands are threatened by rising sea levels. In July 2013, we started a research project on the ecology of Orthoptera in the cloud forests of Mahé, the largest island of the Seychelles. Several endangered species are associated to native palms and can often be found resting on palm leaves. This is particularly true for Metioche bolivari, Seychellesia longicercata, Enoplotettix gardineri and Prosopogryllacris sechellensis. The aim of the project is to analyse the habitat preferences of these species and to unravel the impact of non-native plants on their distribution for improving their conservation. We also search for three endemic Tetrigidae species, all of which are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, one of which has not been found since it has been described in 1909. The project is conducted in cooperation with the Island Conservation Society and funded by the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, the Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP), the German Academic Exchange Service, and Trier University.