British Insects: the Families of Orthoptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Gryllotalpa Latreille

Adults nocturnal; 35–46 mm long (the females somewhat the larger); light chestnut brown, and velvety-hairy.

The antennae long, with well over 30 segments. Forewings well developed; much shorter than the abdomen. Hindwings fully developed and functional for flight. Forelegs conspicuously modified for digging. Foreleg tarsi 3 segmented; mid-leg tarsi 3 segmented; hindleg tarsi 3 segmented. The hind femora smooth. Females without a functional ovipositor. The males stridulous. The sound production of the males alary, involving scraping the forewings together, the latter being structurally modified to this end. Auditory organs located in the fore-tibiae (sometimes partly covered by a ventral flap).

British representation. 1 species. Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (Mole cricket). Native. Southern Scotland, northern England, English Midlands, East Anglia, Wales, southeast England, central southern England, southwest England, Isle of Wight, and Channel Islands (but few recent records from northern and midlands England, and none from Scotland and Wales).

Omnivorous but principally carnivorous (though damaging underground parts of plants); found outdoors in natural habitats (confined natually in Britain to water meadows and wet heathlands, but sometimes imported in consignments of vegetables).

Classification. Suborder Ensifera; Superfamily Grylloidea; Gryllotalpidae.

Comments. Lifestyle mainly subterranean: a powerful burrower and good swimmer, flying at night, the females caring for their young after the fashion of Dermaptera.

Illustrations. • Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (Gryllotalpidae. Mole-cricket: B. Ent 456). • Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (imago detail, B. Ent. 456). • Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa: dissection details, B. Ent. 456. • Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa: B. Ent. 456, legend+text. • Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa: B. Ent. 456, text cont..

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. British insects: the families of Orthoptera. Version: 12th February 2012.’.