View Full Version : Mole Cricket

Abhishek Jamalabad
22-11-2014, 10:40 AM
The sound made by a mole cricket (Gryllotalpa sp.).

These sounds were coming from just under the ground during a frog survey in Kadur, Karnataka. I had never heard the sound before, and it was quite eerie to hear it coming from very close to you and not knowing what was making it. The variety of assumptions I made at the time were wildly far-fetched - ranging from an unidentified amphibian call, to the sound of leaking irrigation pipes or faulty power lines! :D

Habitat: Areca plantation in a dry region (rain shadow east of the Western Ghats in Chikmagalur)
Distance: Less than 1 ft
Recorder: ASR Recorder on Android phone
Editing: WavePad

Abhishek Jamalabad
22-11-2014, 11:01 AM
This 2nd sound with a varying pitch assured me it was coming from an animal and not pipes or cables. :)

Abhishek Jamalabad
22-11-2014, 11:02 AM
Prajwal Ullal had once posted an image of this species... unfortunately, I can't find that link. Prajwal, if you could post the image here, I would be very grateful.

Sabyasachi Patra
22-11-2014, 11:08 AM
Can you let me know the range of this species? I heard similar calls (like the one in the first post) in October in my village in Odisha. It was very sharp and I had to search for a long time to realise that one of the pipe motors is not making that sound. Then I thought that it might be a frog and then zeroed in to a cricket. There were several such calls from different directions. Festivities were going on with loud music, so recording the sound didn't make any sense to me. Did you manage to click a photo?

Abhishek Jamalabad
22-11-2014, 12:17 PM
Can you let me know the range of this species? ... Did you manage to click a photo?

I did not manage to actually see any on this occasion. I did see one during my subsequent trip to the Nilgiris, but no images. I was later reading about mole crickets on the internet when I found an audio file in one article, and it matched the one I had recorded. Otherwise it would probably have been left unidentified! :)

Gryllotalpa are quite widespread all over the world in areas with suitable habitats. The one in India is probably G. orientalis (there has been some confusion about this and the similar African species in the past, I haven't read details about the current status). No doubt they would be found in Odisha too. This group has some of the loudest insect species recorded.

Mrudul Godbole
23-11-2014, 04:37 PM
Nice recording. The first post does sound like some motor running :). I also couldn't find the post for mole cricket by Prajwal. Will PM and check with him. Thanks for sharing.

Prajwal J Ullal
24-11-2014, 11:21 AM
Sorry for a late reply, I couldnt trace the original image, was almost a 4yr old photograph and I might have burned those old images to DVD. Will need to trace the photograph. For the mean time am sharing the photograph that I had shared on facebook.

Prajwal J Ullal
24-11-2014, 11:23 AM
The other image. I had to kill it asap as I feared it might eat out my papercraft models and sketches I had during my days in Baramati.

Prajwal J Ullal
24-11-2014, 11:24 AM
Amazing recordings

Abhishek Jamalabad
24-11-2014, 05:35 PM
That's the one. Thanks, Prajwal. Note the forelimbs that are modified to powerful digging tools. They look remarkably similar to the forelimbs of a mole, so the common name is more than justified.
Unfortunately these are pests of agricultural crops. They are known to eat the roots. However, if they specifically target roots, then I doubt they go for the cellulose alone, in which case they would be unlikely to damage paper... not certain, just a chain of thought. There is so much to read & learn, and so much more to observe!