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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



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



Updated: 03/18/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 stadia. 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 '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 almost circular and not egg-shaped. If a view of their digging 'fingers' (called dactyls) 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 10cm (4 inches) in an underground chamber. 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 molt many times and mature into adults that will overwinter and breed the next spring.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Gryllotalpidae
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          Genus: Scapteriscus
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            Species: vicinus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Scapteriscus vicinus
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 34mm (0.98" to 1.33")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: loud, robust, heavy, flying
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 25mm and 34mm
Lo: 25mm
Md: 29.5mm
Hi: 34mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Tawny Mole Cricket may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Tawny Mole Cricket. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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