The European mole cricket has forelegs that are greatly enlarged with finger-like projections; an adaptation for burrowing in the soil. The adults are 35-50 mm long with a greyish brown to yellowish brown, stout body, covered with a velvet-like coating of fine hairs. It has short forewings and large, elongate hindwings, which are rolled longitudinally and relatively inconspicuous when the insect is at rest.
Mole crickets burrow through the soil forming tunnels a few cm below the surface. At night, especially in warm, summer evenings, adults might come to the surface and may fly in swarms. Adult males are capable of stridulating which they do to attract females.
After mating, females form a large subterranean chamber in which they lay 100-300 eggs. The eggs hatch within 2-3 weeks but the female continues to tend its brood until the nymphs reach the second instar. Then the nymphs leave to feed and develop independently. Developing from egg to adult takes about a year in southern Europe and up to 18 months in cooler regions.