Research Reports: Seedling Feeding Damage and Preference of Scapteriscus SPP. Mole Crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae) Associated with Horticultural Crops in West-Central Florida

D. J. Schuster, J. F. Price


Both Scapteriscus vicinus Scudder and S. acletus Rehn and Hebard were recovered in soil flushes within and adjacent to commercial fields of tomato, strawberry, chrysanthemum and gypsophila in west central Florida. However, the latter species dominated at all locations, ranging from 67 to 90% of the specimens collected. Both species damaged seedlings primarily by girdling or excising stems at or immediately below the soil. Excised plants sometimes were pulled into surface tunnels for feeding. Above-ground plant parts often were consumed overnight. Occasionally, foilage was consumed before the whole plant was consumed. Taller seedlings of tomato, pepper, pigweed and eggplant were less damaged by both S. acletus and S. vicinus than shorter seedlings. Tall tomato and pepper seedlings were damaged more and survived fewer days than tall pigweed seedlings when given a choice by either species of mole cricket.

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