iRecord Grasshoppers, a free mobile phone app to help monitor the UK’s grasshoppers, crickets, earwigs, stick insects and cockroaches, has been launched.
The new app will enable people to contribute to the Grasshopper Recording Scheme whose results have already shown the dramatic geographical expansion of two bush-cricket species, the Long-winged Conehead and Roesel’s Bush-cricket.
The chirping of grasshoppers and crickets is one of the quintessential sounds of summer. They can be numerous in some habitats and play essential ecological roles - for example as a food source for threatened species like skylarks, grey partridges, cirl buntings, corncrakes and harvest mice - or as predators helping to control pests such as aphids.
Since its launch in 1968 thousands of people have already contributed to the Grasshopper Recording Scheme and with assistance from the public records from the new app will support the study and conservation of grasshoppers and crickets.
Björn Beckmann from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology who helped create the app said, "Many species of grasshopper and cricket have been declining, but others have expanded their distributions and some have even newly arrived. The Grasshopper Recording Scheme maps and analyses distributions to see how species are responding to changes in land use and climate. This work would not be possible without the help of people reporting where they find a species. We hope the launch of the app will make this easier."
Within the app each of the species has an illustration which points out the main identifying features, a distribution map and habitat information to give guidance on where they are most likely to be found. Additional information, including photos and sound recordings, is provided to assist identification.
The app can be downloaded by searching for "iRecord Grasshoppers" on the app store on a smart phone or tablet; it is available for Apple and Android devices. Future plans for the app include the facility to record sounds in the field and attach them to a record.
Dr David Roy, Head of the Biological Records Centre at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said, “Mobile apps offer exciting possibilities for collecting high quality wildlife sightings. It is becoming ever easier for anyone to get involved in recording and help make an important contribution to tracking changes to our natural environment.”
The app was produced by a team from the Biological Records Centre at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the Grasshoppers and related insects Recording Scheme, and it was developed by Natural Apptitude Ltd. Production was supported by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the Innovation A fund of the Natural Environment Research Council, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and the Biological Records Centre.
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