Saga pedo Pallas, 1771 ♀
Common names: Predatory Bush Cricket [En], Magicienne dentelée [Fr], Große Sägeschrecke [De], Stregona dentellata [It]
Spil, MANİSA ● Turkey
IUCN Status: Vulnerable (VU)
Description: It is a wingless bush cricket, with the body size of up to 12 centimetres (4.7 in), which makes it one of the largest European insects. It has strong fore and mid legs, equipped with sharp spines.
Biology : Colloquially known as the predatory bush cricket, it is uncommon among its kind due to its carnivorous lifestyle, most often preying on smaller insects, with a known tendency towards cannibalism as well. When these animals are hunting, they move about, catching their prey by suddenly leaping on them and grabbing them with their legs. Their prey is usually killed by biting into the throat, and eating is done at capture. Saga pedo is active at dusk and during nighttime, with activity slowly expanding through the day at the end of the season.
Adults are eaten by birds, insectivores, rodents, lizards, frogs, and toads. Nymphs are eaten by spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and preying insects.
The female attains sexual maturity three two four weeks after hatching and starts laying eggs. A single egg is deposited by stabbing the long, sharp ovipositor into the soil at a suitable site.The female will lay from twenty- five to eighty eggs. Development depends largely on the ambient temperature. At 20°C or more, the eggs start to develop immediately, the nymphs hatching after approximately 40 to 85 days (again depending on the temperature). At colder conditions, the eggs enter diapause, which is a delay in development and can result in the eggs remaining buried for up to five years (mostly two to three). After hatching, which occurs around May, the nymphs go through six or seven instars before attaining sexual maturity, and live for four to six months after that.
Saga pedo is also uncommon in that it mostly reproduces asexually, with parthenogenesis. The population therefore appears to consist solely of females and there is no reliable record of a male of this species. They also have the largest number of chromosomes among members of the genus Saga - 68 - and are probably tetraploid.
Habitat: dry and wet meadows, pastures, shrubby hillsides, gorges, and as well follow grain fields and vineyards. Like other Saga species, S. pedo is comfortable with adverse weather conditions, and can be found in habitats from sea level to altitudes up to about 1500 m, and occasionally higher.
Distribution: Southern Europe and western Asia, from the Iberian peninsula across central Europe and central Asia to China. The southernmost known locality is Sicily, while the northernmost is in Kurgan Oblast, Russia, at latitude 54º30' N. Its range is vast, but the population is spread thinly, threatened by insecticide use and habitat destruction. Therefore, the species is considered vulnerable at a global scale.
Wikipedia, Saga pedo
Van Helsdingen P.J., Willemse L., Speight M.C.D., 1996. Background information on invertebrates of the Habitats Directive and the Bern Convention. Part II - Mantodea, Odonata, Orthoptera and Arachnida. Council of Europe. pp. 383–387. http://www.onem-france.org/saga/wakka.php?wiki=Willemse1995.
IUCN Red List