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Northern Mole Cricket

Northern Mole Cricket (Neocurtilla hexadactylla)

Occurrence

Occasional.

Habitat

Edges of streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands.

Range

Scattered individuals can be found throughout our region.

Physical description

Substantial and very odd in appearance (should you actually have the opportunity to see one). They look more like crustaceans than crickets. Their large front claws resemble those of a mole and enable them to dig their burrows. Please see Songs of Insects for photos and very interesting information about these secretive crickets.

Song

Lower in pitch than any of our other crickets. (Other singing insect songs will therefore appear above the Mole Cricket's song in the sonogram.) It's a rich, loud, somewhat raspy chirp-chirp-chirp, that may sometimes sound muffled because they sing in their burrows. They sing at night.

Northern Mole Cricket - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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They seem less affected by air temperature changes because of their protective burrows. Here's a recording I made when it was only 60F and all the other singing insects were singing quite slowly or had simply stopped for the night. The Mole Cricket seemed relatively unaffected.

Northern Mole Cricket at 60F, Chippewa Inlet Trail North Wetland - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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Field observation

Although I typically hear them singing on a steady pitch, I did have the opportunity to listen to some of them speeding up their chirps and slightly raising the pitch as they did so. This recording focuses on just one of them, but I heard variable songs from the others around the wetland as well. The solid band of color well above the Northern Mole Cricket song in the accompanying sonogram is a chorus of Carolina Ground Crickets.

Were these courtship songs? As of now, I don't know.

 

Northern Mole Cricket erratic songs 60F - Recorded by Lisa Rainsong
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