From the monthly archives: "January 2014"

Subject: Unknown Bug rural new south wales
Location: New South Wales, australia
January 30, 2014 6:43 pm
Hi there
Have been seeing in increase in strange insects over the course of this summer. found this one on our porch this morning. Unable to find anything online that looks close to this little fellow. He made a buzzing sound when he flew and didn’t fly in a straight line, more like a zigzag motion. he seemed curious about me and landed on my shirt before flying off but didn’t display any aggressive behavior.
Its the middle of summer here and extremely hot in a rural setting of new south wales, Australia.
any help would identifying him be appreciated.
Signature: Belinda

Robber Fly: Blepharotes species

Probably Giant Blue Robber Fly

Hi Belinda,
Your email did not include any details regarding the size of this impressive Robber Fly in the genus
Blepharotes.  We wish your photo showed the color of the abdomen.  We have several examples on our site of Blepharotes coriarius, the Giant Yellow Robber Fly.  Max Campbell’s website states:  “This is the only specimen I’ve seen. I’ve borrowed ‘Australian Insects’ by Keith McKeown, from the library. Fortunately it has a good (black and white) water colour rendition of the fly and describes it thus:  ‘The finest of all the Australian Asilidae. A very large black fly with the upper surface of its broad abdomen bright orange and tufted along the sides with patches of black and white hairs. The face is densely bearded. The wings are a rich smoky brown.  It is rather a common insect in inland districts, especially in the Riverina, where it rests on fence posts and tree trunks in the hot sunshine. It flies away with a loud buzz when disturbed, often bearing away its impaled prey.'”  We wouldn’t want to rule out that it might be Blepharotes splendissimus which has a dark abdomen and is pictured on DKImages.  Did you get a look at the abdomen? 

Update:  December 5, 2015
With a new submission today that we believe is a Giant Blue Robber Fly, we are now confident that this is also the same species. 

Subject: Never seen this bug before
Location: Limpopo, hoedspruit (lowveld)
January 31, 2014 9:13 am
Hi, I saw this caterpillar in our garden and wonder if you could help to ID it.
Area: South Africa, Lowveld
near Hoedspruit, Limpopo
Season: summer 31 January 2014
Size: about 1.5 cm in length and 1 cm wide
I live in the Balule nature reserve thus it’s a wilderness area
Thank you
Signature: Laetitia

What's That Grub?

What’s That Grub?

Hi Laetitia,
This is not a Caterpillar, but we do believe it is a larval insect.  In our opinion, this is most likely a Beetle Grub, though we would not rule out that it might be a Sawfly Larva.  While your individual looks very different from the larvae in the links we provided, we wanted to show you some examples of possibly classifications.  Knowing the plant this larva was feeding upon might help with the identification.

What's That Grub???

What’s That Grub???


Subject: Bug in Car
Location: Redlands, Ca
January 29, 2014 10:25 pm
Found this bug in the car in Redlands, California
Terrified the wife. The only power I have over her is not being terrified by bugs myself.
Would love to know what you think it is.
Thank you for your expertise.
Signature: Dana Law

Western Leaf Footed Bug

Western Leaf Footed Bug

leaf footed bug genus Leptoglossus

You’re awesome!
I’ll make a well deserved donation later today when I’m at my desktop.
Thank you,
Dana Law
San Diego

Thanks Dana,
I dashed that answer off before rushing out to go to work.  I should have told you they are harmless.

I had a feeling it wasn’t dangerous.
It was excited to learn what it was. The penultimate example of the “Hive” mind.
The best minds brought together by technology, experience and knowledge.
These are the best of times.
Thanks again.
Dana Law
P.S. Here’s a slug from southern Washington on the Pacific Crest Trail. Not a bug but……

Hi again Dana,
Now that you have sufficiently fluffed our ego, we decided to dig through the trash, prepare your photo for the web, and provide a bit more information for a true posting.  We believe this is a Western Leaf Footed Bug,
Leptoglossus clypealis, based on the BugGuide description “A spine extending forwards from the tip of the head (the tylus) is distinctive.”  See this image on BugGuide for a closeup of the tylus.  A more dorsal view of this Leaf Footed Bug from above would make our suspicion more definite as the tylus is partially obscured by the antennae.  Though we have already indicated this Western Leaf Footed Bug is not harmful to humans, BugGuide notes:  “Can be a pest in pistacio, almond, plums” and we have also observed them feeding on pomegranates.  They feed by piercing the skin of the fruit with their proboscis and sucking fluids from the plant.  The release of an enzyme at the site of the feeding results in blemishes on the fruit that make parts of it inedible to humans.

Subject: My new roommates!
Location: St. Thomas, USVI
January 30, 2014 6:53 pm
Hi bugman,
As I’ve been traveling around the US for the past year, I’ve been able to identify quite a lot of my “new roommates” through your great web resource here. (Thanks!) It’s been a fun and comforting challenge to observe, document, and identify each diverse creature that I’ve come across. Currently, I’m in the Virgin Islands (so, although it is winter season, the temperatures still range from about 74-84 degrees right now). This little guy appears to be a thread-waisted wasp to me, but just wanted to seek your expert opinion.
I’m new to the area, but I’ve seen a few of them in my apartment over the past couple days, and I definitely didn’t think it was a wasp at first just because they are a much smaller size than I usually associate with wasps. I also have quite a funny group of case-bearing cloth larva living here as well, and I see the signs of termites here, but have yet to spot any individual termites. So, there are lots of friends! 🙂
Signature: Rachel

Ensign Wasp

Ensign Wasp

Hi Rachel,
This Ensign Wasp really is your friend.  The female Ensign Wasp lays her eggs on the ootheca or egg case of a Cockroach, and the larval wasp eats the eggs and developing nymphs of the Cockroach, helping to control the Cockroach populations in homes.  The abdomen of the Ensign Wasp bobs up and down as it moves about, much like the action of signalling with a flag, hence the common name.

Daniel, thank you! Very nice news to hear about the ensign wasp helping to control the cockroach population. I appreciate your help in identifying it! 🙂 Have a great February!

Subject: What’s this winged insect?
Location: Southern Idaho. (Irrigated land)
January 30, 2014 12:52 pm
I snapped a few photos of this insect with upright laced type wings. Then I posted the photo on FB. Of course the first question was, ” What is it?” I searched the internet to no avail other than I believe that it is in the family Neuroptera. Can you help me identify it?
Signature: Puzzlebug



Dear Puzzlebug,
First off, Neuroptera is an order, a broader classification than a family.  Your Mayfly is in the order Ephemeroptera, which  according to BugGuide, originates from the: “Greek ephemeros ‘of/for a day; short-lived’ + pteron ‘wing’ — refers to the short-lived adults [‘ephemeros’ comes from epi ‘upon’ + hemera ‘day’].”  Your individual is in the genus Hexagenia, and the common names are “Burrowing Mayfly, Giant Mayfly, Golden Mayfly”
according to BugGuide.  Mayflies are unique in that the adults or imago undergoes two molts.  The larvae of a Mayfly is aquatic and is known as a nymph or a naiad.  Upon reaching maturity, it leaves the water and molts, emerging as a winged pre-adult or subimago.  Shortly afterward, it molts a second time, emerging as a full adult or imago.  These Giant Mayflies are also prized bait for anglers who fly fish.  According to BugGuide, the anglers even distinguish between the subimago that has “wings cloudy in appearance, body dull and pubescent, with appendages somewhat shorter — but otherwise similar to imago” of a Mayfly which they call a dun and an adult that is called a spinner which has “wings usually transparent but sometimes patterned, held vertically and together above thorax when at rest”.  Since the wings appear cloudy, we believe this is a subimago.  Compare your individual to this image on BugGuide.  The position of the body of your Golden Mayfly conforms to BugGuide’s description:  “front legs often held forward and sometimes upward in front of head when at rest.”  Because of your northern location, we are speculating that this Golden Mayfly is Hexagenia limbata and you might enjoy reading more about it on TroutNut.  We are going to contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide any additional information.

Hi Eric,
This giant mayfly is from southern Idaho, so I am guessing Hexagenia limbata, but BugGuide’s descriptions have me a bit confused.  The wings appear cloudy, so I would guess subimago, but the front legs are held in the position BugGuide indicates is used by the imago.  So, which is it?  Imago or subimago?  I lean subimago

Eric Eaton Responds
I am not an expert on aquatic insects *at all,* so I’m hesitant to make a definitive statement.  I agree with the genus-level ID at the least.
It might be a subimago, especially if there is no shed exoskeleton close by.  Otherwise, it could be a freshly-molted imago.  The subimago emerges from the nymphal exoskeleton right on the water or very close by.  The imago emerges later, usually on vegetation, often some distance from water.

Thanks Eric,
Often we are asked to identify the exuviae of Mayflies, and when they are on the sides of homes, they definitely were left by the subimago after the final molt.

Subject: Spider
Location: Sitka, Alaska
January 24, 2014 11:20 pm
What kind of spider is this? Its kind of big as the newspaper lettering is about 3/4 of an the spider must be about over an inch long… I live in Sitka Alaska and I found this spider in the house around early December of 2013. I caught it using a glass mason jar. I released it outside after I took this pic of it. Thank you.
Signature: Don’t kill any bugs please

Ground Spider

Hackelmesh WeaverSpider

We believe this is a Ground Spider in the family Corinnidae, possibly in the genus Castianeira.  You can see some similar looking spiders on BugGuide.  For your kindness to the lower beasts, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

On Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 9:08 AM, daniel marlos wrote:
Hi Mandy,
Any thoughts on this critter?

Hi Daniel,
That one is a female “hacklemesh weaver” in the genus Callobius, family Amaurobiidae. There are only two species recorded from Alaska: C. nomeus and C. pictus.  Of those two species, C. pictus is the one that usually has faintly banded legs like this Sitka specimen has.  Callobius aren’t your run-of-the-mill house spiders, so this one probably got in accidentally, or was carried in on firewood if the photographer uses a wood stove or fireplace. They are really gorgeous spiders in person, vibrant burgundy or wine-colored!

Wow, thanks Mandy,
I will look for some links.

You’re welcome. =)  Here’s also a link to the Callobius section at BugGuide:  Not every species is represented there yet, but we have some examples of both the Alaskan species (nomeus & pictus).
Geez, I can’t believe we’re already a month into 2014! Time goes too fast. Happy Chinese New Year to you too!