From the monthly archives: "October 2010"

October 31, 2010
A technical glitch wiped out all of the categories for the more than 900 posts we did in July, August and September (and part of October).  We could really use your assistance.  If you happen to notice any fabulous postings in that time period that are uncategorized, please bring it to our attention.  Please try to concentrate on especially wonderful and / or rare posts.  Please send in a comment to the posting and we will write back and recategorize the posting.  We also lost all tags at that time, including Bug Love, Unnecessary Carnage and Food Chain.  Please indicate that this is a categorical assistance comment.  Please help.

Update:  November 3, 2010
Thanks for your assistance.  We have things back under control.

Location: Austin, TX
October 31, 2010 1:36 pm
Hi, thought you’d like this picture I took of a male scorpionfly on the rock wall of our house (Austin, TX, on 10/27/10). It was about 1-1.5 inches long. I didn’t know what it was until I found it on your site.
Signature: Lauren


Hi Lauren,
Your photo clearly illustrates why harmless creatures in the family Panorpidae are commonly called Scorpionflies

What is this bug
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
October 25, 2010 8:41 am
It was outside our work. Looks prehistoric.

Wheel Bug Stalks Stink Bug

Giant Stink Bug?
Location: Pittsburgh PA
October 25, 2010 1:28 pm
I took this photo yesterday (10/24/2010) of a large bug in my driveway. This is in SouthWestern Pennsylvania which is under a stink bug assault right now. The funny thing is several others at work have seen this bug just this weekend. One person brought in the same thing but it was entirely black instead of brown colored. We’ve called it the ”stink bug queen” and ”mutant stink bug” but really have no idea. What is this?
Signature: Eric

Wheel Bug

Dear Eric,
We have gotten so many requests in the past week to identify Wheel Bugs that despite it being chosen Bug of the Month in November 2008, we felt it warranted receiving the title again this year.  The Wheel Bug,
Arilus cristatus, is the largest Assassin Bug in North America.  They are slow moving predators, and though they are capable of biting, we receive very few reports of people being bitten even after handling Wheel Bugs.  Many people describe the Wheel Bug as looking prehistoric or comparing them to dinosaurs, particularly the Stegosaurus.  In the spring, we get numerous identification requests for Wheel Bug hatchlings that look like red and black ants clustered around the remains of the egg mass that has passed the winter attached to a tree branch or fence post.

Large Tegenaria, not sure what type
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
October 30, 2010 7:51 pm
Saw this spider outside my house Oct26,2010 late fall in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Very large spider for these parts, body 1.5cm long, tip to tip from legs was around 8cm.
I think its a Tegenaria but not sure if its type is a atrica or duellica
Signature: junponline

Funnel Web Spider

Dear junponline,
We agree that this is a Funnel Web Spider in the genus
Tegenaria, but any attempts at our making a species identification are purely speculation.  Our guess is the Giant House Spider,Tegenaria gigantea (synonym for Tegenaria duellica), though there are a few snags in that line of possibility.  This is a European species that was introduced to the Pacific Northwest along with several other European species, including its relative the Hobo Spider, Tegenaria agrestisBugGuide does not list Nova Scotia as a sighting location, and all sightings are confined to the west coast.  The physical description of the Giant House Spider on bugGuide is “No banding on the legs, but proportionally longer legs than its cousins T. agrestis or T. domestica” and that fits your spider.  BugGuide also indicates:  “The greater European house spider (T. gigantea) is not dangerous to people. Some people may be intimidated by their size as male legspans can reach 4 inches (100 mm). However, Rod Crawford has never known one to bite a human (though they certainly could if they tried); they are so docile he uses them as hands-on demonstrators for school children.  You may want to post your photo to BugGuide to see what their large group of contributors has to say, because this may prove to be the first eastern report for the Giant House Spider.

unknown bug
Location: Oklahoma City
October 30, 2010 2:56 pm
I’ve heard it’s a Japanese Suicide Bug & a Wheel Bug. I’d love to know what it is.
Signature: @ScottMo

Wheel Bug

Dear ScottMo,
Wheel Bug is the approved common name for North America’s largest Assassin Bug, but we are quite intrigued with the name Japanese Suicide Bug.  The Wheel Bug will be our featured Bug of the Month for November.



Location: Mid-Missouri
October 30, 2010 11:50 pm
I finally lucked out. I have been wanting to get a shot of a mosquito for awhile and never can. Maybe it’s just me, but I can not just grab my gear and take a photo while they feed on me. I rarely see them other than getting squished on my arm for being invasive. Anyway, onto this girl (I believe it to be a female based on the antennae…do you agree?), I saw this one hanging out on my son’s outdoor playhouse. Talk about accommodating…. she just sat there while I took multiple shots from different angles. I was even able to do some handheld focus stacking which was very helpful. I was so grateful that I didn’t even squash the potentially highly disease/virus carrying insect when I was done. I just let her go on her way to bite me another day. (for the record….mosquitos are about the only insect that I have no problem with killing due to their feeding habits and virus/disease tendencies)
As for ID. I am at a 100% loss beyond the Family Culicidae (Mosquito). If you could give me any help as to the Genre or even Species…I’d be extremely grateful.
Signature: Nathanael Siders


Hi Nathanael,
We too are at a loss as to the species identification of this Mosquito.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply a conclusive species identification.


Karl does some research
Hi Daniel and Nathanael:
Whenever I see a mosquito with distinctive white markings, particularly the “white knees”, I automatically think of Aedes sp.  My family spent a few years in Papua New Guinea many years ago and we were taught to recognize the key disease carrying types of mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti, which is a vector for dengue fever and yellow fever (this is not A. aegypti, although that introduced species has apparently been recoded in Missouri). The white markings and the pointed abdomen means that this mosquito belongs to one of two genera, Aedes or Psorophora, and based on a number of characteristics I am inclined to go with Aedes. By the way, Nathanael, your photos are really excellent and I am sure that any mosquito expert (and I am not one) would be able to give you a positive ID based on them. Apparently, there have been approximately two dozen Aedes species recorded in Missouri, including both native and introduced species, so I am going out on a limb a little by saying I believe yours is A. japonicus, the non-native Japanese Rock Pool Mosquito. You can access a 2000 paper by McCauley et al. that provides an annotated list of all the mosquitoes of Missouri, although it predates the discovery of A. japonicus in your state.  In addition to the arrangement of white spots on the body and legs, the pattern of stripes on the thorax is quite distinctive. Aedes japonicus, an East Asian species, was first reported in the northeastern USA in 1998 and it has been spreading rapidly ever since; to 29 states and Canada by early 2010. It is a relatively new invasive species and a potential disease vector so there is quite a lot of online information. By the way, the species appears to be undergoing a taxonomic revision as many recent reports use the generic name Ochlerotatus instead of Aedes. I hope this helps.
This is an excellent response and thank you so much for all the info.  I looked on and couldn’t find an ID at all…..they actually don’t even have a section for Aedes japonicfus as well as many other Aedes species found in Missouri that you listed.  I will bookmark your links to use as a reference in the meantime and have contacted about having one of their experts look at the images and consider making a guide page for them.
Thank you again.  I particularly appreciate the background info on the Genera and species.  I’m always interested to know as much about the insects I shoot as possible.
Nathanael Karl