SOUTHERN MOLE CRICKET
COMMON NAME: Mole Cricket, Southern Mole Cricket
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Order Orthoptera, family Gryllotalpidae, Scapteriscus acletus
SIZE: 1" to 1 1/4"
IDENTIFICATION: Adults have large eyes. Grayish with mottled white spots on top of the area behind the head. Velvety bodies; broad, spadelike front legs adapted for digging.
BIOLOGY AND LIFE CYCLE: Incomplete metamorphosis. Adults have wings.
HABITAT: Loose sandy soils such as golf course greens and vegetable gardens.
FEEDING HABITS: Feed on soil insects.
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE: Their tunneling damages bermudagrasses, ornamentals, and vegetables. In some case the damage is enough to cause the grass to die.
NATURAL CONTROL: Insectivorous animals and beneficial nematodes.
ORGANIC CONTROL: Beneficial nematodes. Frequent thin applications of compost or sprayings of compost tea.
INSIGHT: There are other species of mole crickets that are grass feeders. The southern mole cricket is the only one known to be causing problems in Texas. These problems are caused while the cricket is actually doing some good in feeding on troublesome soil insects.
Northern Mole Cricket face - USGS public domain photo
For more information, see the University of Florida Featured Creatures page on Mole Crickets.
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