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insects of the family Gryllotalpidae of the order Orthoptera. They live in the soil, digging passages through it. The front legs are highly developed and adapted for digging. Mole crickets are found on all continents; there are about 45 species. In the USSR, three species are found, with the mole cricket Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa being broadly distributed. It measures 3.5-5 cm and has well-developed wings that protrude (when they are folded) like flagella from under the shortened elytra. Mole crickets live primarily in river floodlands and on the shores of other bodies of water. During the day they stay underground, coming to the surface in the evening. They feed on underground parts of plants, as well as on earthworms and insects. When they settle in gardens, orchards, or irrigated land, they cause great harm by damaging underground plant parts, such as tubers and the root systems of potatoes, cucumbers, beets, corn, cotton, rice, and other crops. The females lay up to 60 eggs in a round chamber of the burrow. In southern regions development takes about one year; in the north it takes 2-2 1/2 years.
REFERENCEZhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.
F. N. PRAVDIN