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Mole Cricket

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Mole cricket in turned soil

Do kids still stamp on the ground to stop crickets' singing? Crickets singing at dusk on a warm, humid evening is part of my childhood memories.

Mole crickets live underground and seem to dislike light, because they're very quick to burrow when accidentally unearthed, using the front legs which are equipped with shovel-like claws. They'd hardly be in much danger from birds, though; they're beautifully camouflaged. The colours of this one are so very close to those of his surroundings, although I am able to "C D B D II"—but only just!

Mole crickets eat just about anything: decaying vegetable material, living roots, occasional earthworms; whatever's handy. I've never noticed that they do much harm—although apparently there's a recently arrived South American kind that is not quite so benign.

The singing, I read, is to attract females and also to warn off other males.