Northern mole cricket (Neocurtilla hexadactyla) is a species of mole cricket that is a small insect belonging to the group of Arthropods. They are native to the eastern region of North America and are one of the seven species in the family Gryllotalpidae. The three most common mole cricket species are the northern mole cricket (Neocurtilla hexadactyla), southern mole cricket (Neoscapteriscus borellii), and tawny mole cricket (Neoscapteriscus vicinus). These crickets are very powerful diggers and are known to destroy plantations in lawns and yards. However, these crickets are also associated with being good singers as they make soothing calls similar to those of frogs.
Their physical adaptations allow them the capacity for digging to build underground caves under the soil surface. Their name is associated with their distribution and appearance. They are mainly native to northern states, and their name can be attributed also to their mole-like appearance. Read on to know more about these intriguing creatures.
They are similar to regular crickets and locusts, and form a major part of the family, Gryllotalpidae.
What class of animal does a northern mole cricket belong to?
Northern mole cricket belongs to the class of Insecta. The scientific name of a northern mole cricket is Neocurtilla hexadactyla.
How many northern mole crickets are there in the world?
This mole cricket is rare to find as they are mainly found underground. There is no such authentic data available as to how many northern mole crickets exist.
Where does a northern mole cricket live?
This insect is found in wet grassy woodlands. They are native to North America and are abundantly found throughout the Rocky Mountains. They have now become widespread throughout the United States and the northern mole cricket range extends from the eastern and the central United States to South America. They have scattered distribution in New England, south of Florida, west of the Great Plains, and finally to the south of Texas.
What is a northern mole cricket's habitat?
Northern mole crickets live near the soil's surface, where moisture is abundant in damp margins of lakes and other water bodies. Northern mole cricket habitat includes meadows, grasslands, prairies, and grassy woodlands. Occasionally, mole crickets are also found in the turf as they prefer to live in underground burrows.
Who do northern mole crickets live with?
This insect is known for their solitary behavior. They do not generally live together in pairs and not even in groups because they are solitary. As they do not build nests, they are not territorial. However, they may spend some time with their eggs or young ones.
How long does a northern mole cricket live?
Northern mole crickets have a life expectancy of a year or two. Their life cycle comprises three stages during their development: the egg stage, followed by the nymphs or the larval stage, and lastly, the adult stage.
How do they reproduce?
Mating starts in March-April as the adults become very active and start to spread their wings and fly as well. The males make low-pitched calls to lure the females into mating. The adult male cricket seeks a safe and suitable place to build the northern mole cricket burrow for the females to lay their eggs.
Once a female is attracted to the chirps, mating takes place during the spring in the tunnel chamber. Their life cycle includes mating during the fall, laying eggs during spring, and reaching adulthood in the summer season. After they mate, the female lays around 100-150 eggs by digging 4-5 chambers. After 20 days of laying, the eggs or nymphs start to hatch.
Oviposition, followed by the hatching of eggs or nymphs is solely dependent on the temperature and habitat. For instance, in South Carolina, the females spawn in April-June, whereas in Central Florida, the female lays its egg in May.
What is their conservation status?
This mole cricket is not listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN Red list.
Northern Mole Cricket Fun Facts
What do northern mole crickets look like?
Northern mole crickets have a streamlined, cylindrical body which helps them in digging and moving their body within the soil. They have four enlarged claws known as dactyls on their stubby front legs, which helps them to dig a burrow, a tunnel, or chambers. These species have huge beady eyes and shovel-like front limbs. Males and females are mostly similar in appearance. The growing stage includes mating during the fall, spawning during spring, and reaching adulthood in the summer season. The development slows down during the winter. Their body is typically brown. As they mature and become adults, the wing becomes functional as they fly over short distances.
How cute are they?
Mole crickets are not considered cute as they are similar to a pest. They annoy people as they destroy their crops and lawns.
How do they communicate?
They communicate through low-pitched calls, songs, or chirps.
How big is a northern mole cricket?
They are 1.3-1.4 in (3.2-3.5 cm) in length. They are around two times bigger than house crickets.
How fast can a northern mole cricket move?
They move swiftly through the burrow, and the adult has a short wing and can even fly over short distances. However, their speed has not been recorded or calculated yet.
How much does a northern mole cricket weigh?
They weigh around 0.1-0.2 oz (0.5-3 g).
What are their male and female names of the species?
These species do not have any distinct names for their male and female species and are collectively called northern mole cricket.
What would you call a baby northern mole cricket?
They are referred to as hatchling or a baby northern mole cricket.
What do they eat?
They are omnivores, and so their food includes roots, plant matters, and small insects. Nymphs' food comprises grasses and seedlings. They have several predators such as raccoons, birds, tiger beetles, assassin bugs, and wolf spiders.
Are they dangerous?
No, they do not pose any threats to humans, but they might bite if startled. However, the northern mole cricket bite is not dangerous as it is non-venomous. Northern mole cricket damage is mostly caused once they enter soil. Their activities get reduced during the winter. Hence, treatment during the winter might not be very effective.
Would they make a good pet?
No, they do not make good pets as they are similar to pests, so keeping them around will cause harm to your garden or lawn. However, they might also help in being an alternative to chemical pesticides as they might kill some unwanted pests.
Did you know...
The northern mole cricket chirp or song includes recurrent calls which are at a rate of around two chirps per second.
They are amongst the best singing cricket species as their song has a very low frequency, and their brief trill comprises eight musical pulses.
Do northern mole crickets bite?
Usually, they do not bite, but they might if they are suddenly alarmed or mishandled.
What are the signs of mole crickets?
Mole crickets create small mounds while they dig chambers and scatter dirt around. The grass, roots, and turf of the particular area where the mole crickets have dug will eventually turn brown and die. A spongy feel of the ground while walking may signify the presence of mole crickets.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods, including camel cricket facts or Jerusalem cricket facts.
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