10/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Grasshoppers Recruited As Climate Change Scouts

The rasping summer sound of grasshoppers chirping in fields and meadows is to be used to help to track climate changes.

Grasshoppers, along with bush crickets, have been identified as the ideal insects for a public monitoring system. There is a now a scheme to record sightings of all 27 native species of grasshoppers and crickets in Britain based on the system that enabled scientists to follow the spread of harlequin ladybirds.

The harlequin, an invasive species that competes with and often eats native ladybirds, arrived from the Continent in 2004 and has spread rapidly.

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