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Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa

  • Product Code: Z25836


Origin : Italy (Lombardia)

juvenile specimen, 1.7 cm, circles excluded, unique piece.

The European mole cricket (Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa Linnaeus, 1758) is an orthopteran insect of the Gryllotalpidae family.
It is unmistakable among orthoptera due to its particular conformation: tawny-brown in color and covered with a velvety down, it can reach 5 centimeters in length and is characterized by forelimbs changed into fossorial legs, widened and flattened, robust and denticulate, suitable for digging. It is able to fly, if it needs it: the front wings are short while the rear ones, more developed, are longer than the elytra. The male has a stridulating organ, while the female lacks the external ovipositor typical of other ensifers.
The European mole cricket digs its lair just below the surface of the ground, creating a tunnel that is also visible from the outside. The female can lay eggs up to the third year of life, an unparalleled longevity among orthoptera. The eggs are laid in underground chambers, which the female remains to supervise. Each nest can hold up to 300-400 eggs, grouped in spherical oothecae no larger than a tennis ball.
The European mole cricket is widespread almost all over Europe, in northern Africa and western Asia and has also been unintentionally imported into the eastern United States, probably with loads of ornamental plants.
Although it also feeds on the larvae of other insects, including some harmful ones, The European mole cricket is considered one of the most dangerous species for crops; it is polyphagous, feeding on a very vast range of plants, of which it attacks in particular the roots and tubers; in addition to eating it, it cuts it to dig its tunnels and even those that are not damaged in this way suffer the effects of the drying out of the soil due to its action. Until the 1980s, it regularly resulted in the loss of 30% of plants in tulip and gladiolus fields, while other studies have found extensive damage to cotton fields in various states. A study conducted in Italy classified it as the insect that causes the most damage to the turf of parks, sports fields and golf lawns, a situation often made worse by crows digging the grass in search of its nymphs.
It has several natural enemies, including small mammals (shrew, hedgehog, mole) and birds (starling, hoopoe, blackbird). To combat it, its tunnels and nests can be destroyed by digging the ground, or it can be trapped by burying glass jars flush with the ground. Overwintering specimens are attracted to horse manure, which can be used to flush out and then kill them. In addition to various chemical remedies, it is also possible to fight it by favoring the presence of its natural predators as well as artificially spreading other organisms harmful to it, such as nematodes, specis, carabids, the Brazilian red fly Ormia depleta and some species of fungi.

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