From the monthly archives: "May 2012"

Subject: Emerald beetle from Jordan
Location: Jordan
May 30, 2012 9:53 am
Hi again Bug fans!
I got friendly with this Steraspis squamosa on my hike to Jordan las weekend. It seems unsure of itself, doesn’t it?
Signature: Ben from Israel

Jewel Beetle

Hi again Ben,
Metallic Borer Beetles in the family Cerambycidae are commonly called Jewel Beetles, and when we tried to find a link for
Steraspis squamosa, we were amused to find our own identification on the Travelvice Travelogue website.

Subject: Beautiful biter
Location: Jordan
May 30, 2012 9:55 am
Ok, here’s a fly that found me instead of the other way around!
It is attractive, with those eyes and patterned wings, but its bite was painful.
I’d love to know what it is, so any help identifying it would be great!
Signature: Ben from Israel

Horse Fly

Hi Ben,
We do not recognize this Biting Fly.  We will post your photo in the hope that we can get to this at a later date or that one of our readers will have luck with an identification.

Karl identifies the Horse Fly
Hi Daniel and Ben from Israel:
This is a Horsefly in the family Tabanidae. It looks very similar to the Cleg Fly from Europe, Haematopota pluvialis, but the wing patterns are not quite right and I don’t think that species makes it as far south as Jordan. I believe it is probably another fly in the same genus; this kind of wing pattern is apparently diagnostic for the genus. There is an excellent paper titled “Systematics and distribution of horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) of Jordan” (H. Al-Talafha, et al. 2004), accessible online at:,_Number_1_files/8Al-Tafaha%20et%20al.pdf. According to this paper there are 3 species of Haematopota in Jordan. Although not all are described in detail, I believe the posted image is probably a H. coronata. The above paper includes an identification key with the following description for H. coronata: “Wing tip is always clear (Plate I-e), a brown band extends between antennal base to the lateral sides of the eyes”. I hope this helps. Regards.  Karl

Subject: aquatic but
Location: Kendall County Texas
May 30, 2012 8:01 pm
The enclosed image is of a bug(?) found in a stock tank in central Texas. We’ve not seen one of these before.
Can you identify it?
Signature: Claude Hildebrand

Tadpole Shrimp

Hi Claude,
The Tadpole Shrimp or Triops is a primitive crustacean that is typically found in arid areas that have seasonal ponds.  The eggs hatch during the rainy season when the ponds fill with water.  The Tadpole Shrimp grow quickly and lay eggs that are preserved in the mud when the pond dries out.  You can read more about Tadpole Shrimp on the Triops Information Page website.  We also located information that they are found in the Southern High Plains of West Texas in this online research paper entitled Tadpole shrimp structure macroinvertebrate communities in playa lake microcosms for your reading pleasure.  What do you mean by “stock tank”?

Thanks for your prompt response. After looking at it a bit more, I realized that it probably wasn’t an insect, but wasn’t able to find anything like it online.
A “stock tank” is a small water reservoir in a pasture, usually made by excavation of the soil, which holds rain water for the purpose of feeding livestock. They are quite common in this area, which originally was devoted to farming and ranching. The shrimp apparently live in the mud in the bottom of the tank.
As I said, we’ve never seen any of these before (at least not in the last 50 years or so). It is one of many animals, plants, and insects that have arrived here in the last couple of decades. I never expected the flora and fauna to change as much as it has over my lifetime.
I’ll look at the links you provided. It would be interesting to know how they arrived at our tank.
Claude Hildebrand

Thanks for the update Claude.

Subject: Bolivian Bar Bug
Location: Trinidad, Bolivia
May 30, 2012 6:05 pm
Hi, I found this bug hiding on the floor in some bark when I was walking out of the toilet in an outdoor bar. It was pretty slow and completely non-agressive.
Signature: Kev Brady

Giant Water Bug

Hi Kev,
Perhaps you are more courageous when you are in your cups.  This is a Giant Water Bug and in North America, the somewhat smaller relatives to your specimen get the common name Toe-Biter because of the frequency of bites received by swimmers in the lakes and ponds that constitute the habitat for this impressive aquatic insect.  They are not aggressive toward humans, but we would not want to chance a painful bite because of careless handling.  Giant Water Bugs can fly from pond to pond.  It was probably attracted to the lights at the bar.

Giant Water Bug


Subject: Ava wants to know what’s this alien bug?
Location: San Antonio, TX
May 29, 2012 7:11 pm
My name is Ava I am 7 and I found this bug in our backyard. The bug looks like an aliens and has skin that reflects light.
I hope you have time to tell me what this bug is.
Thank you
Signature: Bug ID for Ava

Bumelia Borer

Dear Ava,
We want you to know that we are very busy right now and we do not have the time to answer all of the letters we are receiving, and we are only able to post one letter to our website this morning, and that letter is your request.  This is a Bumelia Borer, a longhorned borer beetle, and it is the second sighting we received in the last week.  Almost all of the reports of Bumelia Borers come from Texas.  The Bumelia Borer spends its larval stage feeding on the wood of Bumelia, Tupelo and Mulberry trees.  The adults emerge in the late spring.  It really is a beautiful beetle.

We will tell Ava when she comes home from school. She will be very excited.

Subject: habitat?
Location: Mathews, VA, USA
May 29, 2012 6:09 am
This is on my porch. The tube is flimsy and moves with the wind. I don’t see any bugs fly to it or arouund it. Do you know what it is?
Signature: Gloria

Hornet Nest

Hi Gloria,
Our initial thought was that this must be the first phase of the construction of the nest of a Bald Faced Hornet.  We did some research and came upon this At The Water blog that supports our theory.  Probably the queen is the only inhabitant at the moment, but she is likely raising her first generation of workers that will increase the size of the nest.  By the end of the summer, there could be more than 1000 Bald Faced Hornets in the nest