Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
formerly considered a subfamily (Gryllotalpinae) within the cricket family Gryllidae
Explanation of Names
Author of family is Fieber, 1852. From genus Gryllotalpa
, itself New Latin, from Latin gryllus
a cricket, plus talpa
, mole (1)
Often considered a subfamily (Gryllotalpinae) of family Gryllidae.
BugGuide follows the classification of Orthoptera Species File Online
, which treats the group as family Gryllotalpidae.
lists seven species.
Nearctica.com lists three genera and seven species: Gryllotalpa (3 species), Neocurtilla (1 species), Scapteriscus (3 species).
Here's a list of Gryllotalpidae known from the USA, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Distribution data is available for each species from the Mole Cricket Knowledgebase
Genus Gryllotalpa Latreille, 1804
G. cultriger Uhler, 1864
G. gryllotalpa (Linnaeus, 1758)
G. major Saussure, 1874
G. orientalis Burmeister, 1838
Genus Neocurtilla Kirby, 1906
N. hexadactyla (Perty, 1832)
Genus Scapteriscus Scudder, 1868
S. abbreviatus Scudder, 1869
S. borellii Giglio-Tos, 1869
S. didactylus (Latreille, 1804)
S. imitatus Nickle & Castner, 1984
S. vicinus Scudder, 1869
… Sam W. Heads, 29 March, 2008
body length 20 mm or greater
Fairly large burrowing orthopterans. Characteristics:
front legs broad, modified for digging, have large "claws"
hind legs not enlarged for jumping (compare Tridactylidae, which have enlarged hind legs)
all tarsi with three segments (formula 3-3-3)
tympana at base of front tibiae
antennae less than half body length
Key genera based on structure of forelegs. See Singing Insects of North America
pages: key to genera
, and photo
comparing genera, and the different species of Scapteriscus
In overall appearance, compare these two widespread species:
Left. Northern Mole Cricket (Neocurtilla hexadactyla) has brownish pronotum, which forms a bit of a hood over head, and short wings.
Right. Southern Mole Cricket (Scapteriscus borellii) has grayish pronotum (usually with four pale spots), which does not form hood over head, and longer wings.
Overview of Species:
---no image--- Gryllotalpa cultriger
fossorial (digging), nocturnal
superficially similar but unrelated Tridactylidae
- Pygmy Mole 'Crickets' (suborder Caelifera)
The Century Dictionary
--entry for Gryllotalpa (1)
Capinera, p. 212, plate 47 (3)
and key to genera
(Singing Insects of North America)
plus list of world species, synonyms, literature references (Orthoptera Species File)