From the monthly archives: "July 2012"

Subject: Startled sowbug killers evicted from compost heap 🙂
Location: SW Ohio, backyard compost heap
July 30, 2012 4:11 pm
I was in the process of moving a compost heap and overturned an old piece of plywood. Underneath were a zillion (nonscientific estimation) sowbugs and two very fat and happy sowbug killers. One was shy and ducked as I took a picture, the other was working on a tough-guy pose. Both spiders, along with a couple of others I found, were safely relocated to a more remote area.
Signature: Kitsa

Sowbug Killers

Hi Kitsa,
There aren’t many predators that will feed on Sowbugs, so Sowbug Killers, an introduced species of spider, are a very important component of the food chain.

Subject: whats this?
Location: middle georgia
July 31, 2012 12:38 pm
Hi, I recently found this bug in my home. I live in middle Georgia and found this bug last month (June 2012). At first I thought it was a spider because it looked as though it was slowly dropping from the ceiling like a spider. Then it started flying almost like it was trying to attack us. Usually we’re catch and release any animals but this one was relentless. It attacked the ruler we tried to use to scoop it up with…left small holes in it. I’ve looked everywhere trying to find out what it is so any information would be great. It’s the only one I’ve ever seen so far. Thanks again.
Have a great day
Tj Alligood
Signature: Tj Alligood


Hi Tj,
This fascinating creature is an adult male Glowworm Beetle.  The larval Glowworms, sometimes called Railroad Worms, are amazing creatures that are capable of bioluminescence.  Females are wingless and resemble the larvae.

Mystery solved…Thank you so much! Your site is great! Have a great day!

Subject: Caterpillar???
Location: Portland, TN
July 30, 2012 8:02 pm
Hi there, I saw the ”bug” today I’m stumped. At first I thought it was a broken piece of a pine tree branch, then it started moving. A caterpillar started to crawl out of one side and when I touched it, it went inside the ”shell”. Any ideas? Thanks.
Signature: Jason Waldron


Hi Jason,
You are correct that this is a caterpillar.  It is a Bagworm, the caterpillar of a member of a family of moths with larvae that construct bags from silk and plant material.  The Bagworm drags its bag about, adding to it as the caterpillar grows.  Eventually it will pupate within the bag.  Adult males are winged and they can fly in search of a mate, but adult females are without wings and they remain inside the bag after metamorphosing into adults.  The male enters the bag of a female to mate and she lays eggs inside the bag.  The final role of the bag is to shelter the eggs over the winter when new caterpillars will emerge and spin bags of their own.

Subject: Huge…wolf spider?
Location: Central California foothills
July 30, 2012 8:33 pm
We came across this ”little thing” while camping this weekend at a lake in central CA. It almost crawled on my brothers foot sitting around the camp. We managed to catch it to show the kids but it had escaped by morning. I think it’s some type of wolf spider but I can’t seem to match it. Any insight? Thanks for your help.
Signature: George

Wolf Spider

Hi George,
This is a beautiful Wolf Spider, and most likely a female, but we are not certain of the species.

Subject: odd growth at base of tree
Location: Missouri
July 30, 2012 10:48 pm
I’ve noticed strange small round (pea-sized) white ”cells”, attached to each other in flat ”communities”. They are growing/collecting at the base of a ornamental white crab apple tree (only 2 years old). They are scatterd atop the mulch. Our average daytime temps have been 98-105 degrees for all of July. This area gets watered every other day for about an hour. The leaves of the tree don’t let a lot of water fall down onto the area where these are growing. Some ”cells” look like they have dried up.
Signature: Tobi’s Mom

Birds Nest Fungus

Dear Tobi’s Mom,
This phenomenon is not insect related.  This is a cluster of Birds Nest Fungus.  See Wayne’s World for an explanation.

Subject: Could you please help me put a name to this mantis?
Location: Costa Rica, Heredia Province mountains
July 31, 2012 9:13 am
Found this beautiful mantis with moss camouflage in the north part of the Costa Rican Central Valley (mountains).
Could you please provide me with a scientific name?
Signature: Oscar Blanco

Moss Mimic Mantis

Hi Oscar,
Your photos are stunning and we imagine a Mantis expert should have no problem with a species identity thanks to your specific location information.  The best we could come up with in a short time is this similar looking Moss Mimic Mantis from Costa Rica on the Minibeast Wildlife Rainforest Encounters website (with a comment that identifies the genus as
Pseudoacanthops) and image on a French Website Elevage de Mantes Exotiques et Francaisesthat looks like a perfect match to your mantis.  Alas, we do not speak French, though Costa Rica is mentioned several times in the comments as is the genus name Pseudoacanthops.  Perhaps one of our readers will supply some useful information.  If you ever learn the answer, please let us know.

Moss Mimic Mantis