Where Do Mole Crickets Come From? Uncovering Their Origin and Habitat

Mole crickets are fascinating insects that cause quite a stir with their tunneling behavior and feeding habits. They originated from various parts of the world, and some species have made their way to new regions over time, such as the imitator mole cricket, which likely arrived in Puerto Rico in the 1930s (source). These creatures are known for digging through soil, damaging roots and plants, and creating unsightly brown patches in lawns and gardens (source).

As you learn about mole crickets, it’s essential to understand that there are different species with unique biologies and characteristics. For example, the southern mole cricket and the tawny mole cricket are two distinct species with differing songs and behaviors (source). By delving into their origins, biology, and the impacts they have on the environment, you’ll be better equipped to address any issues that might arise from their presence or manage their populations effectively.

Understanding Mole Crickets

Mole crickets are fascinating insects belonging to the Orthoptera order and Gryllotalpidae family. These unique creatures are known for their distinctive behavior and appearance, which sets them apart from other insects. In this section, let’s explore their features and characteristics to understand them better.

Features:

  • Mole crickets have a size range of 1 1/2 inch long
  • Their appearance consists of light brown coloring and enlarged forelegs to dig in soil
  • Mole crickets are soil-dwelling and can cause damage to turfgrass, crops, and pastures
  • Neoscapteriscus is a genus of mole crickets that includes non-native species like the tawny, southern, and short-winged mole crickets commonly found in Florida

Mole crickets exhibit some unique behaviors that determine their impact on the environment and their interactions with other species. Here are some aspects of their behavior to consider:

  • They produce songs with different frequencies to attract potential mates
  • Their hearing organs are unusually located on the tibiae of their front legs
  • They can do major damage to various species of turfgrass, pastures, forage crops, and even vegetables

Considering the variety in species and their widespread impact, understanding mole crickets is essential for gardeners, farmers, and those interested in entomology. By becoming familiar with their appearance, behavior, and the potential damage they may cause, you can better prepare yourself in managing these intriguing insects and protecting your property. For more information on mole crickets, you can visit this page from the University of Florida’s Entomology and Nematology Department.

Types of Mole Crickets

Tawny Mole Cricket

The Tawny Mole Cricket (Neoscapteriscus vicinus) is found in the southeastern United States. This species is known for:

  • Causing damage to lawns and turfgrass
  • Preferring sandy soils for tunneling

It is important to note that the Tawny Mole Cricket is an introduced species in the United States, first observed in Brunswick, Georgia in 1899.

Southern Mole Cricket

Another common mole cricket species is the Southern Mole Cricket (Scapteriscus borellii). It also dwells in the southeastern United States, and is characterized by:

  • Choppy, irregular tunnels
  • Feeding on plant roots, especially turfgrass

Introduced to the United States via seaports in the early 1900s, the Southern Mole Cricket has become a significant pest.

Northern Mole Cricket

The Northern Mole Cricket, while not covered in the results provided, is a separate species that primarily inhabits the northern parts of the United States. They share similar features with their southern counterparts, including:

  • Tunneling behavior
  • Root and shoot consumption

However, specific information on the Northern Mole Cricket can be found through further research.

Short-Winged Mole Cricket

The Short-Winged Mole Cricket (Neoscapteriscus spp.) is a general term for similar species with abbreviated wings. These mole crickets exhibit:

  • Less pronounced flight abilities
  • Similar tunneling and feeding habits

Theseing are just brief introductions to various mole cricket species, and there is a wealth of information available about their biology, behavior, and management techniques.

Physical Features

Wings

Mole crickets have wings that are quite powerful. They might not be great fliers, but for a brief period, they can fly rather efficiently. Here are some characteristics of their wings:

  • Most species have wings
  • They can be clumsy fliers

Forelegs

One of the most distinctive features of mole crickets is their forelegs. These legs are strong and adapted for digging, resembling those of a mole. Some features of their forelegs are:

  • Mole-like in appearance
  • Used for digging and tunneling

Abdomen

The abdomen of a mole cricket is a crucial part of its body, housing its digestive and reproductive systems. Unfortunately, specific details about the abdomen are not readily available in the provided sources, but it’s important to know that it plays a significant role in the mole cricket’s overall biology.

To give you a clearer idea, let’s compare the wings and forelegs of mole crickets:

Feature Wings Forelegs
Function Flying (briefly and clumsily) Digging and tunneling
Shape Typical insect wings Mole-like, strong, and sturdy

So, when you think about mole crickets, remember their distinctive wings and digging forelegs, which help them adapt to their environment and survive.

Mole Cricket Life Cycle

Eggs

Mole crickets lay their eggs in the soil during the spring months, with April and May being the most common times for egg-laying. As a result, their life cycle begins underground. The typical number of eggs laid by mole crickets can range from 30 to 300 per underground chamber1. You can imagine these chambers as small, protected nurseries tucked away beneath the soil’s surface.

Nymphs

Once the eggs hatch, the nymph mole crickets emerge. Nymphs are basically immature mole crickets that resemble smaller versions of the adults, but with underdeveloped wings2. While in this stage, they go through several molts as they grow and develop.

Quick facts on nymphs:

  • They spend most of their time underground.
  • Nymphs feed on plant roots and soft plant tissues.
  • The nymph stage can last several months.

Adults

The life cycle of mole crickets culminates in the adult stage, which occurs after the last molt. Adult mole crickets feature fully developed wings and reproductive capabilities3. These insects have adapted to live both below and above ground, possessing the ability to fly and tunnel through the soil.

Key characteristics of adult mole crickets:

  • Adults can fly long distances in search of mates.
  • Male mole crickets call for females by sitting at the entrance to their tunnels.
  • Mole cricket adults have a lifespan of around six months4.

Feeding Habits

Mole crickets are known for their diverse feeding habits. While some species focus on plant material, others can be predators.

In your garden, mole crickets may feed on the roots of various plants and grasses. This can result in damaged turf and weakened plants. For example, some species like the southern mole cricket primarily feed on small creatures living in the soil, but they may also nibble on roots occasionally source.

On the other hand, some mole cricket species are mainly omnivorous, consuming both plant material and insects. Their diet includes grasses and grasshoppers, making them quite versatile. The tawny mole cricket, for instance, is a pest species that damages turf by feeding on grass roots source.

To sum up their feeding habits, you can refer to this table:

Mole Cricket Species Primary Diet Secondary Diet
Southern Mole Cricket Small creatures in soil Plant roots
Tawny Mole Cricket Grass roots Grasshoppers

This way, you’ll have a better understanding of mole crickets and their feeding habits. Keep in mind that their diverse diet helps them adapt to different environments, making them more challenging to manage in your lawn or garden.

Mating and Reproduction

In the world of mole crickets, mating and reproduction are fascinating processes. During mating season, male mole crickets produce a distinct song to attract females. The song varies by species, but for example, the southern mole cricket’s song has a frequency of 2.7 kHz and 50 pulses/second, while that of the tawny mole cricket is 3.3 kHz and 130 pulses/second.

These songs are quite loud, reaching around 70 dB at 15 cm from the source. Interestingly, mole crickets’ hearing organs are located on the tibiae of their front legs. This allows them to detect and locate the songs of potential mates.

When a female mole cricket is attracted to a male’s song, they will mate and afterward, the female will lay her eggs. It’s important to keep in mind that there may be variations in mating behaviors and reproductive processes among different species of mole crickets. However, understanding these general aspects can help shed light on the intriguing lifecycle of these creatures.

In summary, mole crickets mate through a unique process involving songs emitted by the males to attract females. Their mating and reproduction contribute to the presence of these insects in various environments. It’s always great to learn more about the intriguing world of mole crickets and how their behaviors impact our surroundings.

Habitat and Distribution

Mole crickets are fascinating insects that can be primarily found in soil-rich habitats. They have a diverse range of native locations, including South America and the Southeastern U.S. In these areas, they typically create burrows and tunnels in loose, moist soil or mud. This preference for specific environments allows them to efficiently move through the ground by digging intricate networks of tunnels.

You might be curious about how these insects live and where they can be found. Mole crickets are excellent at adapting to various environments, as long as the soil is soft and moist. They need these conditions to effectively create their burrows, as their spade-like front legs help them dig and navigate their complex tunnel systems.

These creatures love to feast on plant roots, which they access by burrowing into the ground. In some cases, this can lead to significant damage to lawns and gardens. Although mole crickets can be destructive in some situations, they also play an essential role in soil aeration, which contributes to the overall health of plant life.

To summarize, mole crickets occupy a wide range of habitats and geographical locations, primarily in South America and the Southeastern U.S. Their ideal environment consists of moist, soft soil where they can easily create their complex tunnel systems for feeding, nesting, and movement. Remember, while they can cause damage to plants in some cases, they also have an important role in maintaining healthy soil ecosystems.

Activity Patterns

Mole crickets are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active during the night. They prefer to do their calling, tunneling, and flying in darkness.

In terms of their yearly activity, mole crickets are typically observed in spring and fall. They’re more active in the early summer months and tend to lay low during October. However, these patterns can vary depending on temperature and location.

For example:

  • Temperature: Mole crickets are sensitive to changes in temperature, so they tend to become more active as the weather warms up in spring and early summer.
  • Flight: When it’s time to find a mate, these insects will take to the air mostly during the night in spring and early summer.”

These brief insights should help you better understand when to expect mole cricket activity. It’s always helpful to keep their nocturnal nature and yearly patterns in mind when monitoring their presence in your area.

Impact on Environment

Lawn and Turf Damage

Mole crickets can cause significant damage to your lawn and turfgrass. Their tunneling activities create unattractive brown patches in lawns, as they feed on turfgrass roots, ultimately weakening the grass. When these pests become abundant, entire sections of your lawn can be destroyed, making your outdoor space look less appealing.

For example, the tawny mole cricket is a particularly damaging species that has been causing problems in North Carolina since 1987. In this case, homeowners may be forced to invest time and money in repairing their lawns and implementing a mole cricket management plan.

Effect on Golf Courses

Golf courses are also susceptible to mole cricket infestations. These insects can disrupt the playing surface, creating uneven terrain that affects the quality of the game. Moreover, the presence of mole crickets may deter golfers from visiting a course, leading to potential financial loss for the golf course operators.

In order to maintain golf course quality, operators need to implement pest control measures, which can incur additional costs and environmental concerns.

Infestation

Mole crickets are nocturnal insects that can quickly become invasive pests if not managed properly. Their infestations can result in widespread lawn and turf damage, affecting not just private homeowners but also public spaces, like parks and sports fields.

To determine if you have a mole cricket infestation, you can try using a soapy water solution to flush them out of hiding. This method should be done before resorting to insecticide applications.

If left uncontrolled, these invasive pests can have a significant impact on the environment and aesthetics of green spaces, which makes it essential to take action when signs of their presence become apparent.

Control and Treatment

Biological Control

One effective method to control mole crickets is using biological control agents. A popular agent is the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema scapterisci, which is a natural enemy of mole crickets that can help to reduce their population. Introducing these nematodes to the affected area can be beneficial in controlling mole crickets.

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Targets mole crickets specifically

Cons:

  • May require reapplication
  • Could take time to see results

Insecticides

Insecticides can be an effective way to combat mole cricket infestations. You can choose from various products available on the market. It’s essential to apply the insecticides during the mole crickets’ active season, which can vary depending on the climate. Always follow the product instructions for the best results.

Pros:

  • Quick results
  • Easily available

Cons:

  • Can harm non-target organisms
  • May require multiple applications

Pesticides

Pesticides are another option for mole cricket control. They can be applied as a preventive measure before the infestation worsens. However, when using pesticides, it’s crucial to select a product that specifically targets mole cricket species, like the tawny or southern mole cricket, to avoid harming other beneficial organisms. Remember to follow the label directions and use caution when applying pesticides.

Pros:

  • Can prevent further infestations
  • Targets specific pests

Cons:

  • Can affect non-target species
  • Environmentally less friendly than biological controls

Footnotes

  1. Mole Crickets – Solutions for Your Life – University of Florida

  2. Basic Biology of Mole Crickets – Entomology and Nematology Department

  3. mole crickets – Neoscapteriscus spp. – Entomology and Nematology Department

  4. Mole Cricket IPM Guide for Florida – EDIS

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Mole Cricket in Australia

 

Oversized Earwig
Location: Port Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
October 28, 2011 3:42 am
This scary looking was walking over my floor. At first I thought it was an oversized earwig but then I thought it was unlikely.
When I caught it, the bug tried to squirt this black ink at me which was caught by the plastic container. It is a bit over 40mm from feelers to tail.
Do you know what type of bug would get around Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (and would it be dangerous)?
Signature: Bug Pro

Mole Cricket

Dear Bug Pro,
You had an encounter with a harmless Mole Cricket.  The are found in many parts of the world, and we frequently get identification requests from Australia, the Middle East and many parts of North America.

Letter 2 – Mole Cricket from the Philippines

 

Subject: 4-Legged Insect
Location: Daraga, Albay, Philippines
February 11, 2014 9:19 pm
This photo was taken in Daraga, Albay, Philippines a few days ago. I swear that I took this photo myself an cropped it on my computer. There are no other enhancements.
Rick Harris
Daraga, Albay, Philippines
Signature: Rick Harris

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi Rick
Unless they have been traumatized, insects have six legs.  If you look closely by the head, you will see an additional pair of legs adapted for digging on this Mole Cricket.  We get images of Mole Crickets from all over the world, but yours is one of the loveliest ones we have ever received.

Letter 3 – Mole Cricket from Cyprus

 

Subject:  Nasty looking critter
Geographic location of the bug:  Cyprus
Date: 07/06/2018
Time: 03:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What on earth is this and what does it do? He/She was about 6cm long excluding rear ‘feelers’ and seemed quite timid. It ran (quite quickly) rather than hopped or flew. The front ‘feet’ looked like pincers. Is it native to the Middle East and is it a threat to animals/plants?
How you want your letter signed:  David

Mole Cricket

Dear David,
This is a Mole Cricket.  We get reports of Mole Crickets from many places around the globe.  It is not dangerous to animals.  Mole Crickets might damage plant roots.

Dear Daniel
Thank you very much for the identification and comments – I should have tried to capture and remove it as my wife will surely blame him the next time one of her plants dies in mysterious circumstances.
David

Letter 4 – Mole Cricket from Iraq

 

Captured this guy in Iraq
We captured this guy one night in Iraq after he flew into our room. Nobody knew what it was or had even seen it before, even the few locals we had with us were clueless. Our best guess was maybe some giant termite.
Scott

Hi Scott,
If it is not an animatronic spy in the guise of a Mole Cricket, it is the real thing. Mole Crickets are not true crickets, and they live underground. They use their powerful front legs to dig. They are found in many parts of the world including the U.S. This is at least the fourth image of a Mole Cricket we have received from Iraq.

Letter 5 – Mole Cricket from Spain

 

Crustacean like bug
Location:  Biar, Spain
July 27, 2010 4:21 am
I found this bug in the garden, it is about 7cm long and looks a bit like a crayfish but I live in the mountains of Alicante, Spain and there is no water nearby. It walks fairly quickly and my dog is very interested in it. What is it?
Malcolm Robins

Mole Cricket

Hi Malcolm,
This subterranean insect is a Mole Cricket, and though they are found underground, many species can fly quite well, and they are attracted to lights.  We get identification requests from around the world for Mole Crickets, including numerous submissions from the Middle East.

Letter 6 – Mole Cricket from South Africa

 

Subject: Mystery nightmare insect
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
March 19, 2013 5:22 am
Bugman!! Please help!! These diabolical little insect keep finding their way into my house! They are definitely nocturnal, and they can fly… The cats just looooove playing (and devouring…bleeeugh) this bug.. What is it!!!!!????
Signature: Bonny

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Bonny,
This is a Mole Cricket, and it uses those specially adapted front legs for subterranean digging.

Letter 7 – Mole Cricket from Bulgaria

 

Big, bad Bulgarian bug.
May 5, 2010
Dear Bugman,
My friend found this wasp-like creature at her house in Bulgaria. I have been considering visiting her, but I’m just not so sure anymore. The beast is around 4 inches long. I have Googled manically, but with no luck. What is it?
Anna
Zmeevo, Bulgaria

Mole Cricket

HI Anna,
If avoiding Mole Crickets like the one in the photo is your only reason for not visiting Bulgaria, or staying any place for that matter, then you may want to consider relocating to Antarctica.  Mole Crickets are found throughout the world, and they are harmless creatures that spend most of their lives underground.  Many species can fly and they are attracted to lights.

Hi Daniel,
Oh, I was really just joking – I’m not freaked out by bugs, I just wondered what it was – mole crickets are incredibly rare in Sweden (where I spend most of my garden quality time) and it would be an enormous treat to see one. I remember it from my insect book, but the picture is from a different angle. Very excited and grateful to receive such a helpful and quick reply!
All the best from Rome,
Anna

Letter 8 – Mole Cricket from Iraq

 

large iraqi bug
My husband took this picture of a large >2.5 in insect found in a workspace in Iraq. It appears to be similar to a Jerusalem cricket. Is that what it is? If you could give me any information I could send to my husband and his coworkers (diet, lifecycle, etc), I would appreciate it. Thanks,
Camille

Hi Camille,
We get Mole Cricket inquiries from around the world, and many from Iraq. Mole Crickets live underground where they eat plant roots.

Letter 9 – Mole Cricket in Corfu

 

what on earth is this?
Hello Bugman!
I found this while on holiday in Corfu, Greece. It was about 3 inches long! It was running about on the grass near the pool at our hotel. When I caught it and put it in this empty glass ashtray to study, it made vigorous attempts to climb out using its front ‘legs’. After photographing I released it below a hedge where I thought it might find some food – however, a small lizard shot out and grabbed it, carrying it off under a slab there. Later I saw the lizard, still with some of this creature sticking out of its mouth – a far larger prey than I would have thought a 7 inch lizard would take. Could it be a Mantid? Thanks for your help,
regards Philip.

Hi Philip,
We have a vague foggy memory of reading this letter several days ago but possibly not being able to open the images. Thanks for resending. This is a Mole Cricket. They burrow underground.

Letter 10 – Mole Cricket in Iraq

 

Need Help Identifying This Bug
Need some help identifying this interesting bug. I am in Iraq serving with the US Army and found this bug on the flight line. Unfortunately it was already deceased.
Thanks
TB

Hi there TB,
This is a Mole Cricket, and judging by the fact that we have gotten three or four prior requests from Iraq, they must be common there. These relatives of Crickets live underground but many species are capable of flight. Your photo is pretty great.

Letter 11 – Mole Cricket from The Netherlands

 

Potato bug? not sure, please help?
Dear Bugman,
We’ve found this bug in our garden, it was walking across the grass in full daylight (good thing, I wouldn’t want to come across it at night! I’ve browsed your website and it sort of looks like a potato bug, but this one has two antenna’s at the end, not just one.
It’s about 8 cm long. Can you help please? And could you, if not a potato bug, tell us whether they are harmless to children or not? Thank you!
ps: we found it in Leiden, The Netherlands (Europe) and I’m not sure as to whether potato bugs are native here, I sure never seen them before!
Kind regards,
Anne-Karina van Wilgenburg

Hi Anne-Karina,
This is actually a Mole Cricket. We get images of Mole Crickets from all over the world, including many from the troops in the Middle East. Mole Crickets are subterranean, though many species can fly. They eat roots. They have strong jaws, and might bite, but the bite contains no poison and is more of a pinch than anything else.

Letter 12 – Mole Cricket from Namibia

 

Flying and crwling bug – Namibia
Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 12:49 PM
Hi bugman. Found this bug in my livingroom, it flyies towards light, like a moth, makes no sounds, shell very hard. What is it?
Claudia
Windhoek City, Namibia, Africa

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi Claudia,
It is interesting that a disproportionate number of recent letters have been from Namibia. This is a Mole Cricket and though we are uncertain about the specifics of your individual, we can tell you that Mole Crickets are found in many places in the world in addition to Namibia. We get numerous identification requests from Iraq and Afghanistan and have also gotten many submissions from the U.S. and Australia. Mole Crickets are subterranean dwellers and many species also fly quite well.

Update: Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 8:18 AM
Hi Daniel:
The ‘Namibian Biodiversity Database’ lists only one mole cricket (family Gryllotalpidae) for Namibia, the African Mole Cricket (Gryllotalpa africana). The taxonomy for this large genus is somewhat confusing and depending on the source G. africana is either limited to Africa or widespread throughout south and east Asia as well. The recent trend has been to limit G. africana to Africa, while assigning other species designations to the Asian varieties on the basis of song differences. It is considered a pest species, causing damage to a wide variety of root and cereal crops. Regards.
Karl
Link: http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/insects/orthoptera/gryllotalpidae

Update:  Namibian Insect Website Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 12:19 AM
Link to our site
Hello thought you would like to link to our Bug site in Namibia.
Regards Alan Hendry
http://gallery.me.com/imediadvd#100184
iMedia
Namibia

Dear Alan,
Thanks for your site link, but we are unable to view it as we do not have a modern enough operating system to support the browsers your site require.  We had a spate of submissions from Namibia in the recent past, and we are posting your comment with a Mole Cricket letter from early February 2009.

Letter 13 – Mole Cricket from Iraq

 

What the hell is this?
December 2, 2009
I took this picture in March of 2008 when I was in Iraq and this thing was just plain nasty. It’s about the size of my thumb (length and width). That is in fact rat droppings around it and it’s obviously somewhat of a bottomfeeder. Do you guys know what this thing is?
Ryan Luddy
Haditha Dam, Iraq

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi Ryan,
Though your photo is from Iraq, it is worth noting that we get submissions of Mole Crickets from around the world.

Update
After being severely chastised by one of our readers in a comment, we have decided to try to make things right.  Mole Crickets are subterranean diggers that can also fly.  They eat plant roots, and they do not feed on rat droppings since they are not scavengers.

Letter 14 – Mole Cricket from Iraq

 

Strange insect found in Iraq
April 3, 2010
I need help identifying an insect. I am currently working in Western Iraq. 2 Nights ago (April 2nd), I found this strange insect wandering my work site. It was about five inches long and moved very slowly. We had just had a rain storm the previous night. My main concern is for my coworkers’ safety. There are many poisonous animals in our area and I wanted to make everyone aware of a potential danger. I am grateful for any help you can offer. Thank you.
Anthony Bianchi
Western Iraq

Mole Cricket

Hi Anthony,
This is a Mole Cricket, and they are found in many parts of the world, and they are harmless.

Letter 15 – Mole Cricket from India

 

Strange bug with claws
Location: Manipal, Karnataka, India
April 10, 2011 3:17 pm
This bug randomly flew into my hostel room. So I caught it with hopes of identifying it.
It flies and crawls really fast.
Signature: buginner

Mole Cricket

Dear buginner,
You have had a visit from a Mole Cricket.  Mole Crickets are subterranean insects that use their claws to dig.  As you indicated, they can also fly.  They are attracted to lights which is probably the reason it flew into your room.  Mole Crickets do not pose a threat to humans.

Letter 16 – Mole Cricket from France

 

Huge, underground, wingless wasp?!
Location: France
August 12, 2011 4:18 am
Dear Bugman,
Could you please help identify this bug? It has only 4(!) legs, no wings and is over 6 cm long. We found it yesterday in France, during daytime on a hot (30C) day.
When we released the bug, it immediately crawled into a small hole in the ground.
Signature: Yorizzz

Mole Cricket

Dear Yorizzz,
This is a Mole Cricket, not a wasp.  We get identification requests for Mole Crickets from many parts of the world other than Europe, including Asia, Australia, Africa and North America.

Letter 17 – Mole Cricket from Spain

 

Subject: Strange bug in Menorca
Location: Menorca, Balearics Spain
October 23, 2013 1:24 pm
We found this strange bug which looked a bit like a cross between a grasshopper and a beetle. It measured about 2 1/2 inches in length and had a shield like cover over its head. There are two stinger like things sticking out the back. It was brown in colour. We found it on our patio at 22:00 hrs. I hope you can see it as we only had a torch to light it up for the photo.
Signature: Bug in Menorca

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

We love the way your Mole Cricket looks like a dancer in the spotlight.  We just posted another photo of a Mole Cricket from Australia, and we have examples of this subterranean insect from many parts of the world in our archive.

Letter 18 – Mole Cricket from Madagascar

 

Subject: Madagascar insect
Location: Madagascar
October 27, 2013 5:08 am
Hi Daniel.
I’m just back from Madagascar and the variety of insects is amazing. Usually I can kinda guess the general category of what I’m looking at but a few Madagascar insects have me stumped including the attached. I begin to wonder is it really an insect at all. It was moving along the ground very slowly in a squirming manner like a snake. It made no attempt to fly as we got closer to it.
Thanks,
David.
Signature: David

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi David,
We always think of Madagascar as Ground Zero for exotic specimens, so we were amused to see your attached images of a Mole Cricket.  While the representative of the genus in Madagascar might be a unique, indigenous species, Mole Crickets are found all over the world.  In the last week we have posted letters with a Mole Cricket from Spain and one of a Mole Cricket from Australia.  Other relatively recent examples include a Mole Cricket from South Africa, a Mole Cricket from France, a Mole Cricket from India, a Mole Cricket from Iraq and countless examples of Mole Crickets from North America.  Mole Crickets live underground and they use their front legs, which your photograph beautifully illustrates, to tunnel quickly through the soil.  We hope you have other nice exotica to send our way from Madagascar.

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Letter 19 – Mole Cricket and Termite Wings from Peru

 

Subject: What is this from the Peruvian Jungle?
Location: Southeast Peru (Manu National Park)
January 11, 2014 3:35 pm
Dear Bugman,
I hope you can help me to identify this creature which we encountered on a recent trip to the Peruvian Amazon Lowlands. I first saw it peeping out of a little groundhole in the mud on the riverbank, and some hours later it jumped out of my wife’s rubber boot ( At least I think it was the same creature). It then gave me some seconds to take its picture before running away. We were very intrigued by this creature, which was about 3 to 4 inches long.
Thank you for your help!
Signature: Frank

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Frank,
This is just about the most beautiful Mole Cricket in the family Gryllotalpidae (See BugGuide) we have ever seen, and we have gotten Mole Cricket images from Australia, Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East and even islands like Madagascar.  We even have attempted the identification of a Mole Cricket from a drawing.

Update:  January 12, 2014
We forgot to mention that those appear to be Termite wings near the Mole Cricket.

Letter 20 – Mole Cricket from Portugal

 

Subject: Mole cricket
Location: Portugal
June 1, 2014 11:22 am
Hello,
We live in Portugal (Central) and last week I saw this bug.
I found out it is a mole cricket or some kind, but the pics I see here are different than this one. It has a large pointy thing on its back (sorry, am not a native English speaker). Never seen it before and never saw one again… Glad I made pics. Maybe it is a different one than from Australia etc.?
Signature: Stephanie

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi Stephanie,
You are correct that this is a Mole Cricket, and Mole Crickets from all over the world look recognizably similar.

Letter 21 – Mole Cricket from Spain

 

Subject: what bug is it
Location: alicante spain
September 30, 2014 2:46 pm
long 5cm. fast runner and it flies.
Signature: username

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear username,
This is a Mole Cricket, and in addition to running and flying, it also digs quite well as it is typically a subterranean dweller.  We have also received reports that Mole Crickets can swim.  We get reports of Mole Crickets from all over the world.

Letter 22 – Mole Cricket from Hawaii

 

Subject: Burrowing mole bug
Location: South Pacific
November 14, 2014 12:56 pm
We found this bug on our playground. Our school is in Maunawili, on the island of Oahu , in the state of Hawaii . Maunawili is slightly upslope from the city of Kailua , it’s a little damp here. It’s Fall now, so the weather is cooling , but it’s still low 80’s to high 70’s during the day. The bug seemed to want to be where it is cool and damp. We’ve been having swarms of wasps in the last two days, I almost thought it could be a wasp queen. We are studying animals right now in kindergarten, and we are dying to know what kind of bug this is!
Signature: Ann Farrell , Le Jardin Academy

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Ann,
The common name for your burrowing insect is a Mole Cricket, and we receive identification requests for Mole Crickets from around the world.

Letter 23 – Mole Cricket in Saudi Arabia

 

Subject: What is this weird bug
Location: Saudi Arabia
April 29, 2015 8:55 pm
I found this guy being attacked by ants and I wondered what in the world is this !? It has big eyes,wings,grasshopper like legs , claw like hands !? Help
Signature: normal

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear normal,
Because of their large size and unusual appearance, Mole Crickets generally create an impression on folks who see them for the first time, and we do get reports of Mole Crickets from around the globe.  Mole Crickets are subterranean, and though they are quite common, they are only encountered when they come to the surface.

Letter 24 – Mole Cricket from Malta

 

Subject: Big unknown bug
Location: 35.955251, 14.367826
November 2, 2015 5:04 am
Hello!
My wife has found this one on the pavement. No one of my local friends knows what it may be. Reportedly it’s about 5 cm long. It can move it’s head on sides when walking , it’s jaws look very firm .
latitude: 35.955251,
longitude: 14.367826
Malta, Mellieha
kind regards
Signature: Pawel Palusiak

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Pawel,
Mole Crickets are one of our most common, global identification requests.

Dear Daniel!
Thx a lot for really fast response to “what’s the bug question”
kind regards
Pawel Palusiak

Letter 25 – Mole Cricket from Portugal

 

Subject: Big bug in Portugal
Location: West coast of Portugal, near Lisbon, about 20 km from the coast.
November 16, 2015 1:48 am
Hi!
I found this recently in my garden in Portugal. I’ve never seen anything like it before! Do you know what it is? I have lizards and a salamander in my garden too… wondered if it may have become lunch! I’ve seen praying mantis, fire flies, dragon flies and black beetles, but this chap is unique! About one and a half to two inches long. My garden is walled…did he fly in or get dropped or climb?
Many thanks.
Signature: Sara

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Sara,
Mole Crickets like the one in your image are among our most common worldwide identification requests.  Mole Crickets are subterranean dwellers, so it is possible that this individual recently dug its way to the surface, but some species of Mole Crickets are also capable of flight, so it might have flown to your garden.

Letter 26 – Mole Cricket from Italy

 

Subject:  what is that bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  italy, near caserta
Date: 02/12/2018
Time: 09:23 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, could you please help me in identifying this insect.
kind regards
How you want your letter signed:  umberto prisco

Mole Cricket

Dear Umberto,
Mole Crickets like the one in your image are relatively common subterranean insects that are found in many parts of the world.

Letter 27 – Mole Cricket from Australia

 

Subject:  Please identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Bayswater, Western Australia
Date: 01/28/2019
Time: 03:20 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I would like to know if can assist me with identifying this insect please
How you want your letter signed:  With ink

Mole Cricket

Our identification requests for Mole Crickets come from many places on the planet, not just Australia.

Letter 28 – Mole Cricket Squashed in Australia

 

Subject:  Large crawling bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Perth, Western Australia
Date: 11/09/2019
Time: 07:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I squashed this bug in a panic, but have never seen one like it. It was about 6cm in length and crawled. Found in the house on a very warm day. Is it a type of cockroach? Didn’t appear to have wings.
How you want your letter signed:  Angela

Mole Cricket Carnage

Dear Angela,
This was a Mole Cricket, a common subterranean dweller in many parts of the world.  Mole Crickets are considered harmless to people and it will not infest your home.  It accidentally wandered in or was brought in by a pet perhaps.  We are tagging this as Unnecessary Carnage and we hope in the future you will attempt to relocate future intruders.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Mole Cricket in Australia

 

Oversized Earwig
Location: Port Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
October 28, 2011 3:42 am
This scary looking was walking over my floor. At first I thought it was an oversized earwig but then I thought it was unlikely.
When I caught it, the bug tried to squirt this black ink at me which was caught by the plastic container. It is a bit over 40mm from feelers to tail.
Do you know what type of bug would get around Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (and would it be dangerous)?
Signature: Bug Pro

Mole Cricket

Dear Bug Pro,
You had an encounter with a harmless Mole Cricket.  The are found in many parts of the world, and we frequently get identification requests from Australia, the Middle East and many parts of North America.

Letter 2 – Mole Cricket from the Philippines

 

Subject: 4-Legged Insect
Location: Daraga, Albay, Philippines
February 11, 2014 9:19 pm
This photo was taken in Daraga, Albay, Philippines a few days ago. I swear that I took this photo myself an cropped it on my computer. There are no other enhancements.
Rick Harris
Daraga, Albay, Philippines
Signature: Rick Harris

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi Rick
Unless they have been traumatized, insects have six legs.  If you look closely by the head, you will see an additional pair of legs adapted for digging on this Mole Cricket.  We get images of Mole Crickets from all over the world, but yours is one of the loveliest ones we have ever received.

Letter 3 – Mole Cricket from Cyprus

 

Subject:  Nasty looking critter
Geographic location of the bug:  Cyprus
Date: 07/06/2018
Time: 03:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What on earth is this and what does it do? He/She was about 6cm long excluding rear ‘feelers’ and seemed quite timid. It ran (quite quickly) rather than hopped or flew. The front ‘feet’ looked like pincers. Is it native to the Middle East and is it a threat to animals/plants?
How you want your letter signed:  David

Mole Cricket

Dear David,
This is a Mole Cricket.  We get reports of Mole Crickets from many places around the globe.  It is not dangerous to animals.  Mole Crickets might damage plant roots.

Dear Daniel
Thank you very much for the identification and comments – I should have tried to capture and remove it as my wife will surely blame him the next time one of her plants dies in mysterious circumstances.
David

Letter 4 – Mole Cricket from Iraq

 

Captured this guy in Iraq
We captured this guy one night in Iraq after he flew into our room. Nobody knew what it was or had even seen it before, even the few locals we had with us were clueless. Our best guess was maybe some giant termite.
Scott

Hi Scott,
If it is not an animatronic spy in the guise of a Mole Cricket, it is the real thing. Mole Crickets are not true crickets, and they live underground. They use their powerful front legs to dig. They are found in many parts of the world including the U.S. This is at least the fourth image of a Mole Cricket we have received from Iraq.

Letter 5 – Mole Cricket from Spain

 

Crustacean like bug
Location:  Biar, Spain
July 27, 2010 4:21 am
I found this bug in the garden, it is about 7cm long and looks a bit like a crayfish but I live in the mountains of Alicante, Spain and there is no water nearby. It walks fairly quickly and my dog is very interested in it. What is it?
Malcolm Robins

Mole Cricket

Hi Malcolm,
This subterranean insect is a Mole Cricket, and though they are found underground, many species can fly quite well, and they are attracted to lights.  We get identification requests from around the world for Mole Crickets, including numerous submissions from the Middle East.

Letter 6 – Mole Cricket from South Africa

 

Subject: Mystery nightmare insect
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
March 19, 2013 5:22 am
Bugman!! Please help!! These diabolical little insect keep finding their way into my house! They are definitely nocturnal, and they can fly… The cats just looooove playing (and devouring…bleeeugh) this bug.. What is it!!!!!????
Signature: Bonny

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Bonny,
This is a Mole Cricket, and it uses those specially adapted front legs for subterranean digging.

Letter 7 – Mole Cricket from Bulgaria

 

Big, bad Bulgarian bug.
May 5, 2010
Dear Bugman,
My friend found this wasp-like creature at her house in Bulgaria. I have been considering visiting her, but I’m just not so sure anymore. The beast is around 4 inches long. I have Googled manically, but with no luck. What is it?
Anna
Zmeevo, Bulgaria

Mole Cricket

HI Anna,
If avoiding Mole Crickets like the one in the photo is your only reason for not visiting Bulgaria, or staying any place for that matter, then you may want to consider relocating to Antarctica.  Mole Crickets are found throughout the world, and they are harmless creatures that spend most of their lives underground.  Many species can fly and they are attracted to lights.

Hi Daniel,
Oh, I was really just joking – I’m not freaked out by bugs, I just wondered what it was – mole crickets are incredibly rare in Sweden (where I spend most of my garden quality time) and it would be an enormous treat to see one. I remember it from my insect book, but the picture is from a different angle. Very excited and grateful to receive such a helpful and quick reply!
All the best from Rome,
Anna

Letter 8 – Mole Cricket from Iraq

 

large iraqi bug
My husband took this picture of a large >2.5 in insect found in a workspace in Iraq. It appears to be similar to a Jerusalem cricket. Is that what it is? If you could give me any information I could send to my husband and his coworkers (diet, lifecycle, etc), I would appreciate it. Thanks,
Camille

Hi Camille,
We get Mole Cricket inquiries from around the world, and many from Iraq. Mole Crickets live underground where they eat plant roots.

Letter 9 – Mole Cricket in Corfu

 

what on earth is this?
Hello Bugman!
I found this while on holiday in Corfu, Greece. It was about 3 inches long! It was running about on the grass near the pool at our hotel. When I caught it and put it in this empty glass ashtray to study, it made vigorous attempts to climb out using its front ‘legs’. After photographing I released it below a hedge where I thought it might find some food – however, a small lizard shot out and grabbed it, carrying it off under a slab there. Later I saw the lizard, still with some of this creature sticking out of its mouth – a far larger prey than I would have thought a 7 inch lizard would take. Could it be a Mantid? Thanks for your help,
regards Philip.

Hi Philip,
We have a vague foggy memory of reading this letter several days ago but possibly not being able to open the images. Thanks for resending. This is a Mole Cricket. They burrow underground.

Letter 10 – Mole Cricket in Iraq

 

Need Help Identifying This Bug
Need some help identifying this interesting bug. I am in Iraq serving with the US Army and found this bug on the flight line. Unfortunately it was already deceased.
Thanks
TB

Hi there TB,
This is a Mole Cricket, and judging by the fact that we have gotten three or four prior requests from Iraq, they must be common there. These relatives of Crickets live underground but many species are capable of flight. Your photo is pretty great.

Letter 11 – Mole Cricket from The Netherlands

 

Potato bug? not sure, please help?
Dear Bugman,
We’ve found this bug in our garden, it was walking across the grass in full daylight (good thing, I wouldn’t want to come across it at night! I’ve browsed your website and it sort of looks like a potato bug, but this one has two antenna’s at the end, not just one.
It’s about 8 cm long. Can you help please? And could you, if not a potato bug, tell us whether they are harmless to children or not? Thank you!
ps: we found it in Leiden, The Netherlands (Europe) and I’m not sure as to whether potato bugs are native here, I sure never seen them before!
Kind regards,
Anne-Karina van Wilgenburg

Hi Anne-Karina,
This is actually a Mole Cricket. We get images of Mole Crickets from all over the world, including many from the troops in the Middle East. Mole Crickets are subterranean, though many species can fly. They eat roots. They have strong jaws, and might bite, but the bite contains no poison and is more of a pinch than anything else.

Letter 12 – Mole Cricket from Namibia

 

Flying and crwling bug – Namibia
Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 12:49 PM
Hi bugman. Found this bug in my livingroom, it flyies towards light, like a moth, makes no sounds, shell very hard. What is it?
Claudia
Windhoek City, Namibia, Africa

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi Claudia,
It is interesting that a disproportionate number of recent letters have been from Namibia. This is a Mole Cricket and though we are uncertain about the specifics of your individual, we can tell you that Mole Crickets are found in many places in the world in addition to Namibia. We get numerous identification requests from Iraq and Afghanistan and have also gotten many submissions from the U.S. and Australia. Mole Crickets are subterranean dwellers and many species also fly quite well.

Update: Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 8:18 AM
Hi Daniel:
The ‘Namibian Biodiversity Database’ lists only one mole cricket (family Gryllotalpidae) for Namibia, the African Mole Cricket (Gryllotalpa africana). The taxonomy for this large genus is somewhat confusing and depending on the source G. africana is either limited to Africa or widespread throughout south and east Asia as well. The recent trend has been to limit G. africana to Africa, while assigning other species designations to the Asian varieties on the basis of song differences. It is considered a pest species, causing damage to a wide variety of root and cereal crops. Regards.
Karl
Link: http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/insects/orthoptera/gryllotalpidae

Update:  Namibian Insect Website Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 12:19 AM
Link to our site
Hello thought you would like to link to our Bug site in Namibia.
Regards Alan Hendry
http://gallery.me.com/imediadvd#100184
iMedia
Namibia

Dear Alan,
Thanks for your site link, but we are unable to view it as we do not have a modern enough operating system to support the browsers your site require.  We had a spate of submissions from Namibia in the recent past, and we are posting your comment with a Mole Cricket letter from early February 2009.

Letter 13 – Mole Cricket from Iraq

 

What the hell is this?
December 2, 2009
I took this picture in March of 2008 when I was in Iraq and this thing was just plain nasty. It’s about the size of my thumb (length and width). That is in fact rat droppings around it and it’s obviously somewhat of a bottomfeeder. Do you guys know what this thing is?
Ryan Luddy
Haditha Dam, Iraq

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi Ryan,
Though your photo is from Iraq, it is worth noting that we get submissions of Mole Crickets from around the world.

Update
After being severely chastised by one of our readers in a comment, we have decided to try to make things right.  Mole Crickets are subterranean diggers that can also fly.  They eat plant roots, and they do not feed on rat droppings since they are not scavengers.

Letter 14 – Mole Cricket from Iraq

 

Strange insect found in Iraq
April 3, 2010
I need help identifying an insect. I am currently working in Western Iraq. 2 Nights ago (April 2nd), I found this strange insect wandering my work site. It was about five inches long and moved very slowly. We had just had a rain storm the previous night. My main concern is for my coworkers’ safety. There are many poisonous animals in our area and I wanted to make everyone aware of a potential danger. I am grateful for any help you can offer. Thank you.
Anthony Bianchi
Western Iraq

Mole Cricket

Hi Anthony,
This is a Mole Cricket, and they are found in many parts of the world, and they are harmless.

Letter 15 – Mole Cricket from India

 

Strange bug with claws
Location: Manipal, Karnataka, India
April 10, 2011 3:17 pm
This bug randomly flew into my hostel room. So I caught it with hopes of identifying it.
It flies and crawls really fast.
Signature: buginner

Mole Cricket

Dear buginner,
You have had a visit from a Mole Cricket.  Mole Crickets are subterranean insects that use their claws to dig.  As you indicated, they can also fly.  They are attracted to lights which is probably the reason it flew into your room.  Mole Crickets do not pose a threat to humans.

Letter 16 – Mole Cricket from France

 

Huge, underground, wingless wasp?!
Location: France
August 12, 2011 4:18 am
Dear Bugman,
Could you please help identify this bug? It has only 4(!) legs, no wings and is over 6 cm long. We found it yesterday in France, during daytime on a hot (30C) day.
When we released the bug, it immediately crawled into a small hole in the ground.
Signature: Yorizzz

Mole Cricket

Dear Yorizzz,
This is a Mole Cricket, not a wasp.  We get identification requests for Mole Crickets from many parts of the world other than Europe, including Asia, Australia, Africa and North America.

Letter 17 – Mole Cricket from Spain

 

Subject: Strange bug in Menorca
Location: Menorca, Balearics Spain
October 23, 2013 1:24 pm
We found this strange bug which looked a bit like a cross between a grasshopper and a beetle. It measured about 2 1/2 inches in length and had a shield like cover over its head. There are two stinger like things sticking out the back. It was brown in colour. We found it on our patio at 22:00 hrs. I hope you can see it as we only had a torch to light it up for the photo.
Signature: Bug in Menorca

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

We love the way your Mole Cricket looks like a dancer in the spotlight.  We just posted another photo of a Mole Cricket from Australia, and we have examples of this subterranean insect from many parts of the world in our archive.

Letter 18 – Mole Cricket from Madagascar

 

Subject: Madagascar insect
Location: Madagascar
October 27, 2013 5:08 am
Hi Daniel.
I’m just back from Madagascar and the variety of insects is amazing. Usually I can kinda guess the general category of what I’m looking at but a few Madagascar insects have me stumped including the attached. I begin to wonder is it really an insect at all. It was moving along the ground very slowly in a squirming manner like a snake. It made no attempt to fly as we got closer to it.
Thanks,
David.
Signature: David

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi David,
We always think of Madagascar as Ground Zero for exotic specimens, so we were amused to see your attached images of a Mole Cricket.  While the representative of the genus in Madagascar might be a unique, indigenous species, Mole Crickets are found all over the world.  In the last week we have posted letters with a Mole Cricket from Spain and one of a Mole Cricket from Australia.  Other relatively recent examples include a Mole Cricket from South Africa, a Mole Cricket from France, a Mole Cricket from India, a Mole Cricket from Iraq and countless examples of Mole Crickets from North America.  Mole Crickets live underground and they use their front legs, which your photograph beautifully illustrates, to tunnel quickly through the soil.  We hope you have other nice exotica to send our way from Madagascar.

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Letter 19 – Mole Cricket and Termite Wings from Peru

 

Subject: What is this from the Peruvian Jungle?
Location: Southeast Peru (Manu National Park)
January 11, 2014 3:35 pm
Dear Bugman,
I hope you can help me to identify this creature which we encountered on a recent trip to the Peruvian Amazon Lowlands. I first saw it peeping out of a little groundhole in the mud on the riverbank, and some hours later it jumped out of my wife’s rubber boot ( At least I think it was the same creature). It then gave me some seconds to take its picture before running away. We were very intrigued by this creature, which was about 3 to 4 inches long.
Thank you for your help!
Signature: Frank

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Frank,
This is just about the most beautiful Mole Cricket in the family Gryllotalpidae (See BugGuide) we have ever seen, and we have gotten Mole Cricket images from Australia, Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East and even islands like Madagascar.  We even have attempted the identification of a Mole Cricket from a drawing.

Update:  January 12, 2014
We forgot to mention that those appear to be Termite wings near the Mole Cricket.

Letter 20 – Mole Cricket from Portugal

 

Subject: Mole cricket
Location: Portugal
June 1, 2014 11:22 am
Hello,
We live in Portugal (Central) and last week I saw this bug.
I found out it is a mole cricket or some kind, but the pics I see here are different than this one. It has a large pointy thing on its back (sorry, am not a native English speaker). Never seen it before and never saw one again… Glad I made pics. Maybe it is a different one than from Australia etc.?
Signature: Stephanie

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Hi Stephanie,
You are correct that this is a Mole Cricket, and Mole Crickets from all over the world look recognizably similar.

Letter 21 – Mole Cricket from Spain

 

Subject: what bug is it
Location: alicante spain
September 30, 2014 2:46 pm
long 5cm. fast runner and it flies.
Signature: username

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear username,
This is a Mole Cricket, and in addition to running and flying, it also digs quite well as it is typically a subterranean dweller.  We have also received reports that Mole Crickets can swim.  We get reports of Mole Crickets from all over the world.

Letter 22 – Mole Cricket from Hawaii

 

Subject: Burrowing mole bug
Location: South Pacific
November 14, 2014 12:56 pm
We found this bug on our playground. Our school is in Maunawili, on the island of Oahu , in the state of Hawaii . Maunawili is slightly upslope from the city of Kailua , it’s a little damp here. It’s Fall now, so the weather is cooling , but it’s still low 80’s to high 70’s during the day. The bug seemed to want to be where it is cool and damp. We’ve been having swarms of wasps in the last two days, I almost thought it could be a wasp queen. We are studying animals right now in kindergarten, and we are dying to know what kind of bug this is!
Signature: Ann Farrell , Le Jardin Academy

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Ann,
The common name for your burrowing insect is a Mole Cricket, and we receive identification requests for Mole Crickets from around the world.

Letter 23 – Mole Cricket in Saudi Arabia

 

Subject: What is this weird bug
Location: Saudi Arabia
April 29, 2015 8:55 pm
I found this guy being attacked by ants and I wondered what in the world is this !? It has big eyes,wings,grasshopper like legs , claw like hands !? Help
Signature: normal

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear normal,
Because of their large size and unusual appearance, Mole Crickets generally create an impression on folks who see them for the first time, and we do get reports of Mole Crickets from around the globe.  Mole Crickets are subterranean, and though they are quite common, they are only encountered when they come to the surface.

Letter 24 – Mole Cricket from Malta

 

Subject: Big unknown bug
Location: 35.955251, 14.367826
November 2, 2015 5:04 am
Hello!
My wife has found this one on the pavement. No one of my local friends knows what it may be. Reportedly it’s about 5 cm long. It can move it’s head on sides when walking , it’s jaws look very firm .
latitude: 35.955251,
longitude: 14.367826
Malta, Mellieha
kind regards
Signature: Pawel Palusiak

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Pawel,
Mole Crickets are one of our most common, global identification requests.

Dear Daniel!
Thx a lot for really fast response to “what’s the bug question”
kind regards
Pawel Palusiak

Letter 25 – Mole Cricket from Portugal

 

Subject: Big bug in Portugal
Location: West coast of Portugal, near Lisbon, about 20 km from the coast.
November 16, 2015 1:48 am
Hi!
I found this recently in my garden in Portugal. I’ve never seen anything like it before! Do you know what it is? I have lizards and a salamander in my garden too… wondered if it may have become lunch! I’ve seen praying mantis, fire flies, dragon flies and black beetles, but this chap is unique! About one and a half to two inches long. My garden is walled…did he fly in or get dropped or climb?
Many thanks.
Signature: Sara

Mole Cricket
Mole Cricket

Dear Sara,
Mole Crickets like the one in your image are among our most common worldwide identification requests.  Mole Crickets are subterranean dwellers, so it is possible that this individual recently dug its way to the surface, but some species of Mole Crickets are also capable of flight, so it might have flown to your garden.

Letter 26 – Mole Cricket from Italy

 

Subject:  what is that bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  italy, near caserta
Date: 02/12/2018
Time: 09:23 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, could you please help me in identifying this insect.
kind regards
How you want your letter signed:  umberto prisco

Mole Cricket

Dear Umberto,
Mole Crickets like the one in your image are relatively common subterranean insects that are found in many parts of the world.

Letter 27 – Mole Cricket from Australia

 

Subject:  Please identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Bayswater, Western Australia
Date: 01/28/2019
Time: 03:20 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I would like to know if can assist me with identifying this insect please
How you want your letter signed:  With ink

Mole Cricket

Our identification requests for Mole Crickets come from many places on the planet, not just Australia.

Letter 28 – Mole Cricket Squashed in Australia

 

Subject:  Large crawling bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Perth, Western Australia
Date: 11/09/2019
Time: 07:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I squashed this bug in a panic, but have never seen one like it. It was about 6cm in length and crawled. Found in the house on a very warm day. Is it a type of cockroach? Didn’t appear to have wings.
How you want your letter signed:  Angela

Mole Cricket Carnage

Dear Angela,
This was a Mole Cricket, a common subterranean dweller in many parts of the world.  Mole Crickets are considered harmless to people and it will not infest your home.  It accidentally wandered in or was brought in by a pet perhaps.  We are tagging this as Unnecessary Carnage and we hope in the future you will attempt to relocate future intruders.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

27 thoughts on “Where Do Mole Crickets Come From? Uncovering Their Origin and Habitat”

  1. I’m surprised you’d post such an ignorant e-mail without any attempt to try to educate the sender.

    1. Rat droppings are irrelevant and coincidental. This insect doesn’t eat or live in them.

    2. “Bottomfeeder” is usually meant in pejorative manner. Yes, this insect lives in the ground and eats things at “the bottom” (roots, worms, etc.). So what? Cows eat grass growing low to the ground (that grows in their own dung). I imagine the sender eats beef without hesitance.

    3. “Nasty”? This insect never hurt anybody, and certainly never marched into somebody else’s country with a gun in it’s claw. In fact, this insect is one of the more fascinating types to many people because of its impressive adaptations to living in the soil.

    Reply
    • Thank you for helping us to do our job. Though we take care to address as many questions our readership sends to us, we are sometimes brief in our responses.

      Reply
  2. Sorry – That person’s bugophobic e-mail caught me first thing on a grumpy morning. I actually think you are doing a great job.

    Reply
  3. So I googled my name and I found this result from when I sent this in. What I didn’t expect to see was some little coward getting a sandy pink triangle over this. First off, when did I ever say that it must eat rat droppings? Sense=0 Secondly, when I said bottom feeder I meant that it’s probably low on the food chain not in a judge of what the bugs personal life is like. The comment about eating meat didn’t really mean anything by the way. I bet the sender eats food….Thirdly, I meant nasty looking. As in the polar opposite of a little puppy, not exactly looking like he likes to snuggle, etc. Nice little jab about bringing a gun into someone’s country by the way but you wouldn’t know anything about serving in the armed forces, would you? Lastly, I’ll think of you when I’m biting into my next steak and hopefully your hackey sack goes down a drain at that moment. Put that in your pipe and smoke it hippy

    Reply
    • We are sorry if a comment submitted by a reader has hit a nerve with you. Here at WTB? we are attempting to promote global awareness of lower beasts, including insects, and to educate the public about the important places they occupy in the web of life. We believe in tolerance. We refrain from personal attacks and we do not judge people on their religion, country of origin, life style or diet, but we cannot make the same claim for the entirety of our readership. Everyone should also be mindful and remember that there are no do-overs on the internet. It is very easy for an innocuous comment to be taken out of context and to go viral. We try our best to run a family friendly website.

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  4. Wow, thanks for the info! We had a couple of these GIANT bugs in our garage about four years ago and we put them in a container to have a closer look and try to figure out what they were… Yes they squirt black liquid and it stinks! They are very interesting looking but unnerving when we couldn’t find any info on them!

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  5. Thanks so much Daniel. I should have guessed that something so unusual would be ID’d quickly. 🙂 … and yes I do have plenty more photos of Madagascar insects to send through to you.

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  6. Hello Bugman, you are also right about the termite wings. We had a little flying termite infestation outside our cabin right when we found the cricket in my wife’s boot…

    Best regards from Lima
    Frank

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  7. Hello Bugman, you are also right about the termite wings. We had a little flying termite infestation outside our cabin right when we found the cricket in my wife’s boot…

    Best regards from Lima
    Frank

    Reply
  8. Thank you for helping us identify the mole cricket. It is living in a hole in our lawn(!!) – we’re in France, an hour south of Poitiers. We also just found a huge peacock moth on our pergola this morning. A bit different from Scotland.

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  9. We have several holes in our lawn in brittany France, we thought they are vole holes but someone suggested they could be mole crickets, is this likely?
    David Wade

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  10. We have several holes in our lawn in brittany France, we thought they are vole holes but someone suggested they could be mole crickets, is this likely?
    David Wade

    Reply
  11. We have had a mole cricket in our garden & house this evening. Around 8cm long, strong as an ox when it tried to get out of my hand. Then when I put it outside it dig down into our gravel drive. Fascinating creature. Cehegin, Murcia

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