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Squacco Heron: Ardeola ralloides – juvenile - (Explored) | by renzodionigi
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Squacco Heron: Ardeola ralloides – juvenile - (Explored)

A juvenile Squacco Heron after a long and patient stalking was able to catch a European mole cricket


Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa, commonly known as the European mole cricket, is widespread in Europe and has been introduced to the eastern United States. The scientific name is derived from the Latin 'gryllus' meaning a cricket and 'talpa', a mole, and is descriptive because of the fine dense fur by which it is covered and its subterranean habits, and because of the mole-like forelegs adapted for digging, a good example of convergent evolution.

The body length is about 40 millimetres in males and 45 millimetres in females. The cricket is dark brown with a silky shimmer and yellowish underside and is covered with fine velvety hairs. The forelegs are powerful and modified for digging. The elytra are half the length of the abdomen and the wings are transparent and netted with veins. They are folded into pleats and seldom used as the cricket normally remains below the ground. The males can be distinguished from the females by the open vein area in the forewing known as the 'harp' while the females lack the external ovipositor that is possessed by other crickets.

This mole cricket occurs throughout much of the Western Palaearctic, but is replaced by similar species in the south and east, and becomes rare or absent towards the north. Favoured habitats include damp rich soils, flood plains, reservoir edges, irrigated and well-fertilized fields and vegetable gardens. The family Gryllotalpidae includes several similar species (Wikipedia).


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Taken on September 11, 2018