Scapteriscus didactylus (Latreille), 1987

Frank, J. H., Vicente, N. E. & Leppla, N. C., 2007, A history of mole crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae) in Puerto Rico, Insecta Mundi 2007 (4), pp. 1-10: 4

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Scapteriscus didactylus (Latreille)


Scapteriscus didactylus (Latreille)  

Brunner and Redtenbacher (1892), in a taxonomic work on Orthoptera   from the island of St. Vincent, list S. didactylus   as occurring on several additional islands. They name Puerto Rico as one of these islands, and they state “coll. Brunner”, indicating that voucher specimens of S. didactylus   from Puerto Rico were in Brunner’s collection (in Vienna). Although they report N. hexadactyla   from St. Vincent, they do not list it as occurring in Puerto Rico. The collector of the S. didactylus   specimens in Brunner’s collection from Puerto Rico was not stated. They might even have been specimens collected by Juan Gundlach in 1873-1881, and named by the latter (1887) as ‘ N. hexadactyla   .’

Barrett (1902) provided the first detailed account of the development and behavior of S. didactylus   because it had become a major pest. His objective was improved control methods.

Thus, S. didactylus   is likely to have been the mole cricket species encountered in Puerto Rico during a French expedition in 1797 ( Frank et al. 1987). This is because no specimens of any other mole cricket species, collected in Puerto Rico before 1900, have been confirmed to exist, nor is there a pre-1900 publication by a taxonomist specializing in Orthoptera   confirming existence of any species other than S. didactylus   there. The mole crickets encountered by Gundlach (1887) and López Tuero (1895) could not have been S. abbreviatus Scudder   , because those authors indicated that adults can fly, whereas S. abbreviatus   cannot do so.