Pholidoptera griseoaptera can reach a body length of 11 to 21 mm (males) and 15 to 20 mm (females), much smaller than the similar Pholidoptera aptera. The sickle-shaped and upward curved ovipositor of the females is 8 to 10 millimeters long, while the males have two short cerci.. The basic coloration of the body is gray to dark brown, rarely reddish-brown or yellow-brown. The sides of the pronotum have white edges, while the underbelly is yellow. The antennae and the hind legs are quite long.
This species is almost wingless. The rounded wings of the males are brown with light brown to ocher-colored edges and are about five millimeters in length, about as long as the pronotum. The females are wingless or have half-round, gray-brown forewings, but they are only one to two millimeters long. Long-winged forms do not occur.
The adults are omnivorous, feeding primarily on small insects such as aphids and caterpillars, but eat also plants such as bramble (Rubus species), dandelion (Taraxacum species) and nettles (Urtica species). The stridulation is a brief and penetrating sound, repeatedly irregularly performed by night and day.
The females lay their eggs in the soil, in dead branches, in bark crevices and rotting wood. The eggs need high humidity. The larvae require two years for their full development, with seven larval stages. They feed exclusively on vegetables. Nymphs appear at the end of April of the third year, while the first adults appear in June.
This species can be found in Europe from northern Spain and Ireland up to Crimea, Caucasus and the Near East.
The dark bush-cricket colonize a variety of habitats, but avoid sandy soils and lack accordingly in sandy areas. It is mainly present in forest edges or clearings, but can be found also in wasteland, parks and gardens, at an elevation of about 0–2,100 metres (0–6,900 ft) above sea level.