On a warm sunny July afternoon I'm walking through a lush meadow where hundreds of grasshoppers are leaping before me as I tread carefully through the long grass.

The meadow is all 'all-abuzz' with  the soft hissing chirping (stridulating) from the common green grasshopper which emits a ticking sound rather like a free-wheeling bicycle to the 'zizz-zizz- zizz' of the meadow grasshopper. I've never seen so many. They are everywhere, the all-pervading iconic soporific sound of summer.

The stridulation of grasshoppers is produced by a row of small pegs on a hind leg rubbing against veins on a forewing , rather like we may run our thumb along the teeth of a comb.

As summer progresses, a few more species hatch, each adding his own unique 'voice ' to the overall chorus.All are vegetarians, feeding on grasses.

As well as leaping, most grasshoppers can fly with the exception of the meadow grasshopper whose wing are too short.

Related to grasshoppers are bush-crickets of which there are ten species in Britain. They can be distinguished from grasshoppers by their very long hair-like antennae whereas the antennae of grasshoppers are short.

Bush crickets stridulate differently too as the male scrapes a toothed vein on the left fore-wing across a thickened edge of the right fore-wing.

Bush-crickets feed on vegetation and also some small insects and may also stridulate until dusk, especially during late summer.