European mole cricket

Facts about European mole cricket

We found 13 facts about European mole cricket

Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa

They get their name from the fact that they often damage crops and cause losses. At least that used to be the case, as the population of these insects has declined significantly in recent years and they do not pose a real threat. They are related to grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets. They lead a nocturnal lifestyle, thus avoiding the threat of birds, which, due to the large size of the cricket, do not have trouble spotting them.

European mole cricket
It is widely distributed in Europe, especially in southern Europe.

It also lives in northern Africa and western Asia.

It prefers moist areas where they dig well in the ground.

They can be found in meadows, agricultural fields, wetlands, and river valleys. They can also make their home in greenhouses.

Females are larger than males.

An adult female is about 70 mm long and a male is about 50 mm long.

Its body is dark brown with a yellowish tint to the underside.

Its body is covered with small, fine, velvety hairs that give it an iridescent reflex. It is translucent and covered with veins arranged in a grid pattern. They are undulating most of the time, as the turtle rarely uses them, remaining mostly underground.

This insect is an excellent digger, as evidenced by its powerful front limbs.

These limbs resemble a combination of a shovel and a rake and significantly facilitate the insect's underground work. They spend most of their lives underground, where they dig intricate tunnel systems.

They are omnivorous, their main diet being plant roots.

However, they supplement it with meaty foods such as snails, earthworms, spider mites, and wireworms.

European mole crickets build a complex system of tunnels that they inhabit throughout the year.

Such a network can reach deeper than a meter below the surface of the ground and is composed of intersecting tunnels, which, however, are too narrow to maneuver through, so these insects only move forward and backward in them.

Males, especially during warm spring evenings, make characteristic "crunching" sounds.

This is to lure females and to increase the loudness of the sounds they make, they build a special resonating chamber underground.

During the breeding season, which takes place in late spring, the female lays between 100 and 350 eggs.

They are stored in a specially prepared underground chamber and watched over by the female. To raise the temperature in the nest, the female may bite the roots of plants growing above it to make them wither and allow sunlight to reach the soil. The eggs hatch 10 to 20 days after laying.

Hatched larvae (nymphs) remain under the care of their mother for about three weeks.

They undergo six moults before reaching adulthood, a process that can take from one to three years. These insects give birth to one generation per year.

The biggest threats to these insects are birds (rooks and starlings), moles, shrews, beetles and arachnids.

They used to be exterminated by humans as well, but their population has drastically decreased and they no longer pose much of a threat to crops.

Their populations are declining drastically as a result of agricultural activities.

Pesticides and wetland drainage are the main factors working against this species.

They can be found in commerce.

Some people breed them in terrariums to study their lives, while others use these insects as bait for catfish or pike.

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