|Northern Mole Cricket
The most striking thing about the appearance of mole crickets is their mole-like front feet, which are used for digging through roots. These teeth-like body parts are called dactyls. Northern mole crickets have four dactyls on each leg. They are located on the tibia (fourth segment) of each leg.
Mole crickets my grow to 2 1/2 inches long. They are brown and hairy. Adults have wings; they tend to fly rather than jump like other crickets. They are nocturanl insect, flying at dusk.
Habitat and behavior:
Northern mole crickets live in grasslands, meadows, prairies-areas where grass grows. Around June, the female lays eggs in special room in its tunnel. Nymphs hatch in about a month and continue to develop through the next winter. They reach adulthood by the following summer, mate in the fall, and the females lay their eggs in the spring of their second year.
Adults and nymphs eat seedlings and grasses.
Birds, ground beetles, assassin bugs, wolf spiders, tiger beetles, and probably mice and shrews prey on nothern mole crickets.
The northern mole cricket lives in the eastern and central United States from New England south to Florida, and west to the great Plains and south into Texas.
Location in Illinois:
The northern mole cricket has a spotty distribution in Illinois. The most concentrated area is a strip down the eastern third of Illinois. It also occurs along the southern moraine and in counties surrounding the city of Moline.