Gryllotalpa tali

Gryllotalpa tali Broza, Blondheim and Nevo

(Formerly known as Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa L.)

Common name: European mole cricket.

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Orthoptera, Gryllotalpidae.

Geographical distribution: This appears to be a Middle Easren species

Morphology: The dark brown body of the adult is 40-60 mm long and covered with velvety reddish hairs. The elytra are half the length of the abdomen, and the hindwings protrude from beneath them. Forelegs short, powerful, modified for digging. The young resemble the adults but are initially white. In some areas it occurs in two forms, short and long winged.

Host plants: Polyphagous.

Life history: This mole cricket lives in loose, damp and rich soils. In spring a female lays 100 to 350 eggs within a chamber. They hatch in 10-20 twenty days and molt several times, development requiring one or more years. The adult may live for 6 months or more within extensive tunnel systems that may reach down to one meter. They feed on roots, tubers and rhizomes, as well as diverse soil animals, being most active at night. During warm spring evenings the males produce a song to attract the females.

Economic importance: Gryllotalpa tali feeds on and damages legumes, grasses, vegetables, sunflower, tobacco, seedlings in seedbeds and in nurseries, as well as grapevines, fruit and other tree species. Shoots of young plants may die and turf grass damaged. Entire young plants can be pulled into the ground, to be eaten beneath the soil surface. In Iran it is a major pest.


Horticultural control: Deep autumn plowing.

Monitoring: The presence of galleries at the soil surface indicates the presence of mole crickets in turf.

Chemical control: Placing poisonous baits between rows of crops, soil fumigation. Treatments with Neem reduce its numbers.

Biological control: The pest has many natural enemies, such as birds, moles, ants, some beetles and mites.

Images of stamps showing mole crickets (including Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa), are at website


Broza, M., Blondheim, S. and Nevo, E. 1998. New species of mole crickets of the Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa group (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae) from Israel, based on morphology, song recordings, chromosomes and cuticular hydrocarbons, with comments on the distribution of the group in Europe and the Mediterranean region. Systematic Entomology 23: 125-135.

Jafari, S., Kazemi, M.H. and Hossein Lotfalizadeh, H. 2015. Acoustic burrow structures of European mole crickets, Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (Orth.: Gryllotalpidae) in Northwestern Iran. _North-Western Journal of Zoology 11: 58-61.

Kazemi, M.H., Jafari, S., Lotfalizadeh, H. and Mashhadi-Jafarloo, M. 2010. Evaluation on morphological characters of European mole cricket, Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (Orth.: Gryllotalpidae) in the North-west of Iran. Journal of Crop Ecophysiology (Agricultural Science) 14: 63-73 (in Persian with an English Abstract).

Sanaa, A.M.I. 2001. Azadirachtin affects growth and survival of the mole-cricket Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae). Journal of Agricultural Science 1: 45-52.

Stefanovska, T. and Pisdlisnyuk, V. 2014. Evaluation of virulence of Steinernema carpocapsae to European mole cricket Gryllotalpa grylotalpa. Communications in Agricultural Applied Biological Science 79: 331-4.