I saw this insect near a beach in Corsica France: enter image description here


1 Answer 1


It's a mole cricket (in the family Gryllotalpidae).

Mole-cricket wiki

Notice the cricket-like appearance of the posterior/abdominal portion of the insect, but the powerful, broad and flattened fore-legs that are designed for digging (reminiscent of a mole's digging legs). In fact, the family name literally means cricket-mole (from Latin, 'gryllus' = cricket and 'talpa' = mole).

Mole-cricket fore-legs:

prairie mole cricket foreleg

northern mole cricket foreleg

Anterior mole legs:

Mole legs

The Gryllotalpidae are a monophyletic group in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts and crickets). A 2015 paper by O. J. Cadena-Castañeda clarified/updated the phylogeny of this family using morphological characteristics.

The specific species is dependent on your location and morphological characteristics (and possiblly "song" differences too). See here for a brief explanation and access to dichotomous keys to use to better ID the specific genus. Other keys exist here (SE USA), here, and likely via a google search. However, I couldn't quickly find a European key.

Here's an additional useful resource on these insects from University of Florida Entomology and Nematology Department.

Based on the OP's location in France, the European mole-cricket Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (or one of it's closely related European allies in the Gryllotalpa genus) is probably a good initial guess at the OP's specific species. As seen from UC Berkeley's "CalPhotos" collection:

European mole cricket

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Note: to follow-up with a now deleted answer. The OP's insect is NOT an earwig. The confusion lies in the existence of posterior cerci. Though cerci are well known on earwigs (i.e., their "pincers"), many insects have a pair of posterior cerci (though typically they are functionless vestigial structures). Therefore, cerci are not strictly indicative of earwigs. Further, the enlarged and flattened fore-limbs of the OP's picture are not present in any species of earwig (which do not dig), but instead are the calling-card for the digging mole-crickets $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ I assumed the deleted answer (earwig) was incorrect and that's why I waited for more answers. Thanks for the detailed explanation! $\endgroup$
    – sebi
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 22:19

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