Currently viewing the tag: "Unidentified"

Subject:  bug id
Geographic location of the bug:  Santa Cruz Mountains
Date: 08/08/2019
Time: 08:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found these bugs in my spring water filter, and a few in my tank.  Any ideas?
How you want your letter signed:  lesley obermayer

Freshwater Crustacean

Dear Lesley,
We cannot provide you with a species identification, but this is some type of Freshwater Crustacean, probably an Amphipod or Isopod.  Most Amphipods are found in saltwater, but they can also be found in freshwater, including in caves.  According to BugGuide:  “A clear view of the antennae is needed to identify freshwater amphipods beyond order level.”  The only freshwater species pictured on the Natural History of Orange County is
Gammarus, and we would eliminate that as a possibility.  California Fish and Game has an online paper entitled Checklist of inland aquatic Isopoda (Crustacea: Malacostraca) of California, but there are no images.  BugGuide has an image of an Isopod in the family Asellidae and the genus Lirceolus that looks very similar to your individual, and we would attempt additional research by searching for members of the family Asellidae found in California.  The previously noted paper by California Fish and Game includes many family members, but again, there are no images.  This could be a rare endemic species, or it might be an exotic introduction.   Though we cannot provide you with anything more specific, we do feel confident that their presence will not adversely affect the quality of your spring water.

Freshwater Crustaceans

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much. You appear to have identified our bugs.
Now we have to figure out how to eliminate them. Appreciate you taking the time and trouble to help us out.
Enjoy your days,
Lesley Obermayer

Freshwater Crustaceans

You are welcome.  You might want to check with your local natural history museum for a more definitive identification.

Subject:  Green caterpillar with reddish/brown markings along the back
Geographic location of the bug:  Benzie Michigan
Date: 08/02/2019
Time: 07:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Is this a harmless caterpillar or one that can kill trees?
I looked at 100s of green caterpillar photos to identify it and none look like this one
I’ve been having some tree problems and he was found in the area but I’m thinking not the culprit.  Maybe, maybe not.  Trying to decide if I should relocate him, as the gypsy moth virus/fungus is helping remove those caterpillars and it might be contagious
How you want your letter signed:  C

Linden Prominent Caterpillar

Dear C,
For the most part, native caterpillars are rarely a threat to native plants.  Introduced species like the Gypsy Moth have no natural enemies when they are introduced, which is why exotic imported species often threaten sensitive ecosystems.  We do not recognize your striking Caterpillar, and our initial internet investigation did not produce anything worth citing, so we are posting it as Unidentified and we are hoping our readers help us identify what we suspect is a Noctuoid Caterpillar.

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we are confident this is a Linden Prominent Moth Caterpillar, Ellida caniplaga, which is pictured on BugGuideBugGuide notes “The larvae feed on the leaves of basswood (=linden)” and “The larvae are rarely seen (for many years the description of the caterpillar was not known) because they usually feed high in the canopy of basswood trees; they are most likely to be observed descending the trunk of the tree enroute to their pupation site in the soil.”

Thanks so much.  I do have a very tall linden tree nearby and this bug must’ve dropped from the top onto my deck.    Never seen one like it before

Subject:  Unidentifiable Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  South Central PA
Date: 06/29/2019
Time: 08:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  No one seems to know what this bug is.
How you want your letter signed:  Mary Brady

Unknown Robber Fly

Dear Mary,
This is a predatory Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, and we thought it would be much easier to provide you with a species identification, but we are still uncertain regarding its identity.  It reminds us very much of  
Microstylum morosum which is pictured on BugGuide, but that species is only reported as far east as Missouri on BugGuide.  We will continue to research this matter.  How large was this individual?

Eric Eaton responds after we ask his input.
I got nothin’, sorry.  I would agree with your initial diagnosis, though.  I wonder if there is more to the story?

Subject:  Wasp lands on me WITH caterpillar meal
Geographic location of the bug:  Missouri, United States
Date: 06/29/2019
Time: 12:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  so today one of the most cool, weird, and gross things happened to me. I was sitting outside with my bearded dragon and we were under a nice tree. I feel a plop on my arm and I look down to see what it is and my hand is already poised to gently brush off whatever bug has wandered onto me, but I see the black and yellow and my brain registers: THAT is a wasp.
I pulled out my camera as fast as I could because… this is absolutely wild, I’ve never had this happen. and I sit there as I watch this wasp crunch her caterpillar prey WHILE SITTING ON MY ARM… when I moved my arm she got spooked and flew away, leaving her dead caterpillar laying on me… which I brushed off onto the sidewalk.
I have included the caterpillar itself as well, which I’m curious to know the name of, if possible.
How you want your letter signed:  Michael

European Paper Wasp with Caterpillar prey alights on tattooed arm.

Dear Michael,
We applaud your quick reflex “inaction” to the aposomatic or warning coloration on this European Paper Wasp,
Polistes dominula, which we identified thanks to this BugGuide image.  According to the Penn State Department of Entomology: “Before 1981, the European paper wasp was not recorded in North America. In its native region, P. dominulais the most abundant paper wasp in those countries around the Mediterranean. It is also found in southern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and eastward into China.  A highly successful colonizer, this wasp has rapidly increased its distribution in the United States during the past 20 years. Before the introduction of this new species, the northern paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus, was the most frequently encountered species in and around structures in Pennsylvania.”  That site also observes:  “Whenever new species are introduced into an environment (either intentionally or accidentally), there are unpredictable consequences. The increased risk for stings is an obvious concern. Even more troubling, it appears that this new introduction has had an adverse impact on the native species of Polistes. The apparent reduction of indigenous Polistes will undoubtedly result in a change in the faunal balance. It is unclear what the consequences will be. Some entomologists worry that the large numbers of P. dominula will adversely affect the species of desirable insects (i.e., butterflies).”  For that reason, we are tagging your submission as Invasive Exotics as well as Food Chain.  This is also the most frequently encountered Paper Wasp in our our Mount Washington, Los Angeles garden.  We believe this caterpillar is a member of the Owlet Moth family Noctuidae, which includes Cutworms.

Probably Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Subject:  Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  South Korea
Date: 06/27/2019
Time: 04:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello
Please can you tell me what kind of beetle this is?
Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Paul


Dear Paul,
This is a Longicorn or Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae, but we have not had any luck identifying the species.  Larvae of beetles in this family are wood borers.



Subject:  Mystery Bug, Japan
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
Date: 06/22/2019
Time: 07:13 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found the strangest bug out on my run today. We’re in the middle of the rainy season right now (late June), and a massive downpour had just finished. I live in a pretty rural area and I found this guy on the road next to the rice paddies. At first I thought it was a caterpillar of some kind, but the way it was moving was a little off. Instead of the normal perstaltic motion it was kinda flopping around more like “the worm” dance, raising it’s head pretty significantly at the end of each movement. And when it flipped over while crawling I was surprised to see it had six legs! The skin looked pretty soft and covered in silt, and combined with the fact that it wasn’t very elegant moving around on land I guessed it was probably aquatic. When I got home I googled pictures for dragonfly larvae though, they don’t match at all! It was about 10 cms long, with a rather big and fat “tail”, six small legs, and small but noticable mandibles. What kind of bug could this be? I’ve never seen anything like this in the three years I’ve lived here. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Justin

Larva Dorsal View

Dear Justin,
Had you only provided us with a dorsal view, we might have pondered this being a Soldier Fly pupa, but the legs and mandibles rule out that possibility.  We believe this is a Beetle larva.  We will continue to research this identification while having posted it as Unidentified.

Larva Ventral View

Update:  Cesar Crash believes this is a Water Scavenger Beetle larva in the family Hydrophylidae.