Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Research Paper on the Northern Mole Cricket

by Devin Kreitman, High School Student and 2010 KFELP Alumnus

The Neocurtilla hexadactyla, also known as the Mole Cricket in English, is an insect that is a nocturnal herbivore, native to the Eastern part of North America. This insect is a member of the order Orthoptera. The Northern Mole Cricket is also my favorite insect because of their ability to cross most terrains. They have a life expectancy of two years except in central Florida where they live for only one year.

You may ask, how do I know what a Northern Mole Cricket looks like, so I can observe it in natural habitat? Well, they have short wings and their average size is 19 to 33mm. Their front legs are enlarged, shovel-like, and modified for digging. They are capable of flying for up to five miles during mating season, and can run quickly, yet they are poor jumpers. They can also swim if they land in a body of water. The nymphs resemble the adults but are smaller and do not have fully developed wings. The Northern Mole Cricket is completely harmless to humans.

Their habitat is usually wet, sandy, or muddy soil near streams, ponds, or agricultural fields. To mate, the male calls from its burrow. Then after mating, the female lays eggs in a chamber at the end of the burrow. The female guards the nymphs until the nymph’s forth-molting stage. The nymphs acquire food by feeding on the nutritious roots of plants. In Iowa, they are considered beneficial for the soil, since their tunnels loosen the soil to improve the drainage and aeration of the soil. Their predators include birds, assassin bugs, ground beetles, tiger beetles, and wolf spiders.

The Neocurtilla hexadactyla, or Northern Mole Cricket is a very mobile creature because it can swim, jump, run, fly, or dig across any terrain. They also have an interesting call that is like a cicada’s but weaker and less loud. In my opinion, the Neocurtilla hexadactyla, or Northern Mole Cricket is a wonderful insect.

Sources: bugguide.net/node/view/8789/bgimage, www.orkin.com/other/crickets/mole-cricket, www.ent.iastate.edu › Insect Diagnostic Laboratory, www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/prairie/htmls/popups/ins...


  1. Very good Devin! what cool insect.

  2. Devin,

    Great blog. I never heard of this insect but obviously you have. Thanks for the information.

    Aunt Barbara

  3. What a terrific blog!!
    I got "bug eye" reading about the cricket. We have English Crickets here in AZ. Of course they were white and carry a flat paddle. Oh, Aunt Barbara tells me they are not insects. Just senior citizens at play. OOPS!

    Uncle Paul