Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Crau plain grasshopper

Nominated by: IUCN Grasshopper Specialist Group


Conservation status: Critically Endangered

Why do you love it? The Crau plain Grasshopper is an iconic grasshopper species, endemic to the Crau steppe in southern France. The species has a large body size (males 31 mm, females 45 mm) and robust appearance. It is flightless and has a very clumsy method of jumping (looking more like a frog than like a grasshopper and often landing on its back). It completely relies on its camouflage to avoid predators and will very often rarely moves at all.

During mating, the male periodically stimulates the female by drumming with its antennae, legs and palpi on the female. After mating, the male performs a giant leap with a loud stridulation. The function of this behaviour is unknown, but it is assumed to distract predators from the freshly mated female. The Crau plain grasshopper is one of the flagship species of the Crau reserve (“Réserve naturelle nationale des Coussouls de Crau” as it represents one of the few endemic species to the Crau. However, the species declined dramatically during the last 15 years for unknown reasons.

What are the threats to the Crau plain Grasshopper? Transformation of (semi-)natural habitat into farmland (orchards, meadows) is the most obvious threat (which mainly acted historically). The reason for the recent decline is poorly understood.

It is currently being studied whether predation by invasive cattle egrets, changes in sheep medications (grasshoppers like to feed on sheep dung) or changes in vegetation structure have caused the decline in this species. Another potential threat is climate change (particularly cold and rainy springs, and dry autumns may also be detrimental).

What are you doing to save it? The conservation strategy for the Crau Plain Grasshopper was signed in 2014 and implementation of the strategy is currently in place. There are three major goals of the strategy: research to obtain the information necessary to describe and monitor population status, management to increase the area under enhanced conservation management which can be backed up by an ex-situ population and public awareness.

Find out more about the Grasshopper Specialist Group

Discover more grasshopper and cricket species on Arkive