European mole cricket
Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (Linnaeus 1758)

 
map
female
hind tibia
 

Identification:  This is the only species of Gryllotalpa known from eastern United States. Length, 36-46 mm.

Habitat:  Moist, loose soils.

Season:  Adults are present at all times of year. Calling and mating probably occur in May and June. In Spain, this species has a two-year life cycle, spending the first winter as a juvenile and the next as an adult. Eggs are laid in spring.

Song at 25°C:  Low-pitched trill at 60 p/s issuing from several irregular openings in the ground (Bennet-Clark, France).

Similar species:  N. hexadactyla is less than 30 mm; hind tibia unarmed except at apex.

Remarks: This cricket is widespread in Europe and was evidently imported into the United States in shipments of ornamental plants. It reached pest proportions at a nursery in Rutherford, N.J., in 1915–1918, and was collected in nearby Wallington as recently as 1960. Other U. S. records are from Nantucket, Mass., Montgomery, N.Y., and Belle Glade, Fla., and may not represent established populations. However, a 4 Jun 2014 email indicates that it is well established in two counties in New York State: "Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa are established in gardens and landscapes here in Putnam and Westchester counties in southern NY State. Often called into the lab in early June as folks open up their pools and find them caught in filter baskets. We also use them for insect outreach when doing programs with children as these insects are fascinating and fun to feed (they can really munch through lettuce and cheerios!)" - Jennifer Stengle, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County

More information:  family Gryllotalpidae, genus Gryllotalpa

Reference:  Weiss 1915, Weiss & Dickerson 1918.

Nomenclature:  OSF (Orthoptera Species File Online)