What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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The family (mole crickets) includes 5 genera with about 50 species world-wide. Australia is well represented with 10 species in Gryllotalpa . Lord Howe I. harbours an endemic genus Triamescaptor .

Eggs may be brooded in elaborate chambers. Both sexes stridulate. The horn-shaped entrance chamber of the burrow is used differently by different species to increase the male's acoustical output (Nickerson et al. 1979). Although most species are thought to be herbivorous with some causing crop and turf damage, some are carnivorous on soil insects. [Walker 1984.]


Most species are large and winged and are often attracted to lights. The pronotum has the lateral lobes bending around ventrally, but not approximated on the mid-ventral line as in the superficially similar Cylindrachetidae. Species with glabrous pronota are generally found in sand, those with strong pubescence are found in 'light soils'. The hind legs are relatively small, but the femur is considerably larger than the mid femur. Tegmen of male with harp and basal area, delimited as in Gryllidae, but with no differentiation of mirror and cordal area, only the most proximal branch of CuA being reflexed; ovipositor absent. Mole crickets make deep, permanent burrows as well as foraging galleries.

  • Gryllotalpa sp. female

  • Gryllotalpa sp