Key’s Matchstick Grasshopper found in the Murrumbateman Village Grassy Woodland

A rare and unusual grasshopper, Keyacris scurra, was found in the Murrumbateman Village Grassy Woodland on 21 May 2022.

Key’s Matchstick Grasshopper found in Murrumbateman

A rare and unusual grasshopper has been found on a crown reserve, known locally as the Murrumbateman Village Grassy Woodland, that is being managed for environmental protection by Murrumbateman Landcare Group.

Keyacris scurra is the scientific name for Key’s Matchstick Grasshopper – a species listed as endangered under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. Professor Michael Kearney (University of Melbourne) visited Murrumbateman 21 May 2022 and found groups of the rare grasshopper in the reserve.

Key’s matchstick grasshopper is a small insect with a distinctly elongated body shape and no wings. They are mostly brown in colour but may also be green. Length for males is up to 15mm and females up to 25mm. The grasshopper has an annual lifespan, hatching in mid-summer, mature by autumn to mate in early spring before laying eggs in the ground and dying off in late spring.

Natural grasslands and grassy woodlands are the preferred habitat. Most of these ecosystems have been lost since European settlement in Australia and these fragmented and scattered habitats have contributed to the decline of this species.

The Murrumbateman reserve is a critically endangered ecological community of box-gum grassy woodland containing native grasses where the grasshoppers live and shelter. Their favourite native food sources – the Common Everlasting Daisy Chrysocephalum apiculatum and Sheep’s burr Acaena ovina – are also found on the reserve.

Further information can be found at these links: rESPD.pdf

Rediscovering a ‘lost’ species | Pursuit by The University of Melbourne (