Mole cricket

Mole cricket
Gryllotalpa brachyptera, Victoria, Australia
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Superfamily: Grylloidea
Family: Gryllotalpidae
Saussure, 1870
Distribution of the 3 main genera of Gryllotalpidae

The mole crickets compose family Gryllotalpidae, of thick-bodied insects about 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with large beady eyes and shovel-like forelimbs highly developed for burrowing and swimming. They can also fly: the adult mole cricket may fly as far as 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) during mating season, is active most of the year, and spends the winter in hibernation. Younger insects can have shorter wings, and their appearance varies by species, with some resembling grasshoppers or very large ants or dark-colored "termites" when wings are short.



Mole crickets are omnivores, feeding on larvae, worms, roots, and grasses. Common predators of mole crickets include birds, rats, skunks, armadillos, raccoons and foxes.

Mole crickets are relatively common, but because they are nocturnal and spend nearly all their lives underground in extensive tunnel systems, they are rarely seen. Mole crickets amplify their song by chirping in a burrow that they've carefully sculpted into the shape of a double exponential horn, which acts as a megaphone.[1] They inhabit agricultural fields, lawns and golf courses. They are present in every continent with the exception of Antarctica, and are commonly considered pests. In East Asia, however, they are sometimes used as food (fried).

In some places, mole cricket numbers are declining due to soil erosion and habitat destruction.

Life cycle of a Mole cricket

Mole cricket genera

There are several genera of mole cricket, separated into tribes:

  • tribus Scapteriscini
    • Indioscaptor
    • Scapteriscus
    • Triamescaptor
  • tribus unknown (fossil taxa)
    • Archaeogryllotalpoides
    • Cratotetraspinus
    • Marchandia
    • Palaeoscapteriscops


  1. ^ (Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, pg. 63)

See also

  • Camel cricket – another underground insect, with a humped back.
  • Larra bicolor – parasitoid of Scapteriscus mole crickets

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mole cricket — Mole Mole, n. [OE. molle, either shortened fr. moldwerp, or from the root of E. mold soil: cf. D. mol, OD. molworp. See {Moldwarp}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any insectivore of the family {Talpid[ae]}. They have minute eyes and ears, soft fur, and very… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mole cricket — n. any of a family (Gryllotalpidae) of crickets having large front legs specialized for burrowing, and feeding chiefly on roots …   English World dictionary

  • mole cricket — any of several burrowing crickets of the family Gryllotalpidae that have fossorial forelegs and that feed on the roots of plants. [1705 15] * * * ▪ insect  any of about 65 species of insects (order Orthoptera) that are sometimes placed in the… …   Universalium

  • mole cricket — noun a large burrowing nocturnal cricket like insect. [Family Gryllotalpidae: many species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • mole-cricket — n. Churr worm, jarr worm, eve churr, earth crab, fen cricket (Gryllotalpa vulgaris) …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • mole cricket — /ˈmoʊl krɪkət/ (say mohl krikuht) noun any burrowing insect of the family Gryllotalpidae, brown in colour, related to the true cricket, but with front claws adapted for digging in order to eat the roots of grasses and other plants …   Australian English dictionary

  • mole cricket — noun digs in moist soil and feeds on plant roots • Hypernyms: ↑cricket …   Useful english dictionary

  • mole cricket — noun Date: 1714 any of a family (Gryllotalpidae) of widely distributed orthopteran insects that have broad front legs adapted for digging in moist soil and that feed largely on the roots of plants …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • mole cricket — noun Any of various large insects from the family Gryllotalpidae that burrow into moist soil and feed on plant roots …   Wiktionary

  • Operation Mole Cricket 19 — Part of the 1982 Lebanon War …   Wikipedia

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