The relationship between soil moisture and oviposition in an edaphic insect pest, the southern mole cricket, Scapteriscus borellii Giglio-Tos, was studied in a series of greenhouse experiments. Adults were captured in acoustic calling traps and associated pitfall traps during spring flights in southeastern North Carolina in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Female mole crickets were individually confined in chambers containing 2, 4, 7, 10, and 12% soil moisture. Oviposition and mortality were monitored daily. A significant linear relationship between oviposition and soil moisture was indicated by an increase in the number of crickets ovipositing in response to higher soil moisture levels. Additionally, a delay in oviposition was observed as a response to low soil moisture. There were no significant differences in the number of eggs per ovipositing female, indicating that when oviposition does take place, the individual response of the female is to lay a similar number of eggs regardless of moisture levels. The ovipositional response to a rapid increase in soil moisture was also examined. The rapid increase in moisture resulted in a significantly greater percentage of females ovipositing, as seen in the previous experiments.
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