Saber thorn-hound

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Saber thorn-hound
Saber-thorn insect (Tetrix subulata), ♀

Saber-thorn insect ( Tetrix subulata ), ♀

Class : Insects (Insecta)
Order : Grasshoppers (Orthoptera)
Subordination : Short-antennae terrors (Caelifera)
Family : Thorn terrors (Tetrigidae)
Genre : Tetrix
Type : Saber thorn-hound
Scientific name
Tetrix subulata
( Linnaeus , 1761)
Tetrix subulata fg01.jpg
Female from above

The saber-thorn insect ( Tetrix subulata ) belongs to the family of the thorn-insects (Tetrigidae) in the order of the short-antennae terrors (Caelifera).


The horrors reach a body length of 7 to 12 millimeters without a thorn. The color of the body is - as with all thornbirds - very variable and ranges from reddish to yellow-brown to black. Most of the animals are brown and often they have light or dark markings, which are also variable. The pronotum has a flat, almost straight back keel when viewed from the side. The extension of the pronotum ("thorn") is saber-shaped and slightly curved upwards (hence the German name), is significantly longer than the abdomen and also towers above the fully developed hind wings that it conceals. The forewings are stunted, as in all thorns. One can regularly find specimens with a shortened back keel, whose hind wings are also shortened. The compound eyes are seen from above more than its diameter apart long. This distinguishes the species from the morphologically similar western thorn insect ( Tetrix ceperoi ), in which the eyes are closer together. In addition, the dorsal keel of the hind legs gradually leads apically to the outside, while in the western thorn shrimp it suddenly bends outwards.


One finds this species regularly to frequently all over Europe. Their distribution area extends in the east to Siberia and in the south to North Africa . The species has also been detected from North America. However, it is not yet clear whether it is actually the same species. In the mountains you can find them up to a height of about 1000 meters. The saber-thorn insect mainly inhabits wetlands. Apart from moisture, it makes little demands on its habitat, so that it can be found on damp meadows and heather as well as on muddy surfaces, ditches and puddles as well as in gravel, loam and clay pits. Occasionally one can observe animals in dry habitats. However, it is assumed that these are flown in specimens. In general, the type prefers open ground locations. The adults can be found from August and after wintering from March to June and July of the following year.

Way of life

The animals feed mainly on algae, moss and lichens, but also on grasses. Saber-thorn horrors are considered mute, but they use visual signals to communicate. The male then uses a rocking gait to ask the female to mate. In summer you can find the first nymphs, which develop into imago by autumn or overwinter in a late nymph stage. The animals probably overwinter underwater. The mating season lasts from April to June.


  • Heiko Bellmann : The Cosmos Locust Guide - Determine the Species of Central Europe with Confidence . Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co KG, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-440-10447-8 .

Web links

Commons : Saber-thorn insect  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Julia Gröning, Niklas Lücke, Alexander Finger, Axel Hochkirch: Reproductive interference in two ground-hopper species: testing hypotheses of coexistence in the field . In: Oikos . tape 116 , no. 9 , 2007, p. 1449-1460 , doi : 10.1111 / j.0030-1299.2007.15850.x .
  2. Axel Hochkirch, Jana Deppermann, Julia Gröning: Visual Communication Behavior as a Mechanism Behind Reproductive Interference in Three Pygmy Grasshoppers (Genus Tetrix, Tetrigidae, Orthoptera) . In: Journal of Insect Behavior . tape 19 , no. 5 , November 21, 2006, p. 559-571 , doi : 10.1007 / s10905-006-9043-2 .
  3. Gröning, J., Kochmann, J., & Hochkirch, A .: Dornschrecken (Orthoptera, Tetrigidae) on the East Frisian Islands - Distribution, Coexistence and Ecology , pp. 47–64.