From the monthly archives: "November 2011"

Small bug with scorpian curled tail
Location: Spain
November 30, 2011 9:51 am
Are you able to identify this bug that crawled out of my slipper…. it looks like it could sting and small wings on its tail???
Signature: Hazel

Devil's Coach Horse

Hello Hazel,
This frightening but harmless creature is a species of Rove Beetle that is native to Europe, but which has naturalized in many parts of North America where it is called a Devil’s Coach Horse.

That is ever so kind of you to reply and let me know, I shall let the poor thing free now. Thank you again for your quick response.

Identification of shell
Location: Northeast Ohio
November 30, 2011 1:21 am
Any idea what butterfly or moth this shell belonged to?
Signature: Devon

Variegated Fritillary Chrysalis

Hi Devon,
This is the Chrysalis of the Variegated Fritillary,
Euptoieta claudia, and you can see a photo from BugGuide to verify our identification.  The adult is a wide ranging lovely orange butterfly.  The name “chrysalis” can be traced to the Greek word for “gold” and this lovely Chrysalis is an excellent example of the gold coloration that is found in so many butterfly pupae.

Caterpillar found in Africa
Subject: Caterpillar found in Africa
Location: Kenya, Africa
November 29, 2011 9:24 pm
I am wondering what kind of butterfly this would turn into, and what the species of caterpillar is.
Signature: Lauren

Beautiful Caterpillar from Kenya is Skipper

Hi Lauren,
This is just about the most beautiful Caterpillar we have ever seen.  We don’t know what it is but the head reminds us of a Skipper Caterpillar.  Most Skipper Caterpillars we have seen have green bodies, though coloration has very little to do with genera classification.  We actually prefer not to research this at the moment because we want to spend some time imagining what the butterfly (and we really believe this is a butterfly) would look like upon metamorphosis.

Probable spider coccoon in Romania
Location: Brasov, Transylvania, Romania
November 29, 2011 3:42 am
Greetings from Romania. I recently tidied up my study and found 5 cocoons underneath a cloth. They had been laid on a picture frame which had been underneath the cloth (actually a cloth bag for an Australian Barmah hat). They measure 1 inch long and less than half inch wide (2.5 cms by 1.2cms). They are clay coloured and are hard to the touch just like baked clay.I opened one and found 8 dried dead spiders inside. They each have 8 hairy legs under the magnifying glass. I have attached a photo. Have you any idea what they are?
Signature: Dr Haydn Deane

Mud Nest

Dear Dr. Deane,
Spiders do not form a cocoon and insects that form a cocoon create a solitary cocoon.  What you describe sounds like a Wasp’s Nest.  There are many wasps that build a mud nest that is provisioned with insects or spiders for a developing larva, generally a single larva per cell.  The structures in your photograph do not resemble any mud Wasp Nests that we are familiar with, but spiders tend to be a common prey for wasps that build a mud nest.  The other puzzle is why that picture frame was chosen as the location.  For now, this will be posted as a Mystery on our site.

possibly a Wasp Nest

Dear Daniel,  Thanks for the prompt reply. You are completely right. I opened another of the nests and inside was the creamy coloured grub in it’s red- brown thin sleeve. The grub is soft but does not move. Pictures enclosed
However I am very puzzled as these mud wasps are not known in Romania. They have been discovered in the Czech Republic and Italy. We live in Brasov, Transylvania in the mountains at an elevation of 600mtres. The cloth that was covering the site of the nests was from an Australian hat. Could it be that the wasp was inside the lining of the cloth bag and travelled all the way to Romania from Australia, then deciding to lay it’s eggs on my photo album lying underneath the bag? Seems a bit far fetched! And it flew in through the window of my study on goodness knows how many occasions with the mud!!
I have done a bit of my own research and it matches the black and yellow mud spider nest, see
I did see a very strange looking wasp in our garden matching the description of the Black and Yellow Mud Dauber this autumn. I have never seen another.
Best regards
Dr Haydn J H Deane MB BCh BAO

Hi again Dr. Deane,
Though the species of wasp you found might not be found in Romania, we feel quite certain that there must be some local species.  Since Mud Wasps are somewhat particular about their host prey, we don’t think it likely that an Australian wasp managed to provision five nest chambers in a foreign land.  We did not receive the grub photo and we would love for you to resend it.

Daniel, Apologies, Here are 3 almost the same but may be of interest to you. I do have a small stream outside my study window so that is presumably where the mud was collected
Many thanks for your help
Best regards

Mud Wasp Larva

Thanks Haydn,
We would urge you to allow the remaining cells to mature and metamorphose into adults that can easily gain access to the outdoors come spring.

gold black widow???
Location: fontana, CA(50 miles from the coast, east of Los Ageles)
November 28, 2011 8:04 pm
Hello bugman,
I found this spider in my property it is the second one I’ve found. I did some research and it apears it might be an African species, it was hidding in a funnel like web, its cream color, and the hour glass underneath appears to be orange in color. Can you correct me in my identification? or did I got it rigth?
Signature: bajaboy28

Brown Widow

Dear bajaboy28,
You are correct.  This is a Brown Widow,
Latrodectus geometricus, a species native to Africa that has become naturalized in much of the southern portion of the United States.  According to BugGuide:  “Found around buildings in tropical climates.(1) However, it is an introduced species and is the most human-adapted of the species occurring in the South Eastern US. Its webs may occur anywhere there is sufficient space to make one. It may be extremely abundant on houses and other man-made structures (e.g., barns, fences, guard rails, bridges). It reproduces frequently and disperses rapidly, making it nearly impossible to control.”  BugGuide indicates this about the bite:  “It is recognized that this particular species of widow is most likely not medically significant (not an immediate medical concern to those who are bitten). (Net Ref (4)) The brown widow produces clinical effects similar to that of the black widow but the typical symptoms and signs being milder and tending to be restricted to the bite site and surrounding tissues.”

florida reddish orange black spotted insect
Location: Fleming Island, FL
November 28, 2011 5:59 pm
Hello, this afternoon i discovered these bugs on my window screen in my back garden. I’ve lived in Florida for 26 years and I am an avid gardener, yet i have never seen a bug like this before. I’m located North Florida, just south of Jacksonville. Hoping your expertise can clue me in, thanks so much for your time!
Signature: Fiona

Immature Large Milkweed Bugs

Hi Fiona,
These are Large Milkweed Bug nymphs, and as their name indicates, they feed on the sap of milkweed pods and seeds.  If you are an avid gardener, and you like to attract butterflies, you are probably growing their food source, milkweed, however we have also gotten at least one report of them feeding on oleander, a common Florida shrub.  Here is a photo from BugGuide that matches your grouping’s stage of development.  They are not considered a harmful species in the garden.

Thanks so much for the quick response.  I have butterflyweed in the garden, not far from where I saw the bugs.  I have never noticed them before and have had butterflyweed for years, good to know what they are and that they are not harmful.  Now I can appreciate them for what they are – pretty red bugs!
Thanks again, Fiona