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Tawny Mole Cricket (Scapteriscus vicinus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Tawny Mole Cricket.

 Updated: 2/26/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The rich brown Tawny Mole Cricket is a burrowing nightmare for anyone trying to keep a pristine lawn or putting green.



Introduced to the coastal states of the American Southeast sometime around 1900, this species of mole cricket creates problems in areas growing turf, like golf courses and football stadiums. It is also a pest that damages other grasses and vegetable seedlings. Certain imported species of flies, nematodes (worms) and wasps have been used to control the Tawny Mole Cricket.

Tawny Mole Crickets are brown and have wings that are slightly longer than their bodies. Their pronotum ('shoulder' area) is a medium brown mottling of color. It lacks the four spots and darker color of the Southern Mole Cricket. Their pronotum is also almost circular and not egg-shaped. If a view of their dactyls (digging "fingers") is possible, the Tawny Mole Cricket has no space or gap between dactyls where they attach to the "palm".

Tawny Mole Crickets are slow moving creatures on foot. Unlike their Southern Mole Cricket cousins, Tawny Mole Crickets do not play dead when they are captured. They can fly, however, and usually do so for about an hour at dusk. They are capable of traveling almost a mile in a day. They typically take flight from early spring through the end of summer in warmer, southern regions like Florida. They may not start flying until late spring in cooler areas in Georgia. They also 'chirp' during this time of day. For about an hour-and-a-half after sunset, this species will sound out loud trills at a rate of 130 pulses per second, which is almost three times as many as Southern Mole Crickets.

Females lay between 30-60 eggs about 4 inches (10cm) underground. She then covers the chamber with dirt and dies before the eggs hatch. After hatching, the nymphs may eat each other before they find nearby plant roots to eat instead. Over the summer months, the nymphs will molt many times and mature into adults that will overwinter and breed the next spring.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Gryllotalpidae
          Genus: Scapteriscus
            Species: vicinus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Scapteriscus vicinus
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 34mm (0.98in to 1.33in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: loud, robust, heavy, flying
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.