From the monthly archives: "November 2008"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Identifying Spider Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 12:31 PM
I found this spider when I reached for my soap dispenser in my bathroom! It was in June. The spider was approximately 2″ by 2″. My husband captured the spider on the side of a kleenex box and he “thinks” it made it safely outside. I have not seen it since. By the way, we live in the town where the movie “Arachnophobia” was filmed. Thanks for you help!
Judy
Central Coast of California

Giant Crab Spider:  Foreign Invader or Movie Extra Escapee???

Giant Crab Spider

Hi Judy,
We thought your spider looked like one of the Giant Crab Spiders, but we didn’t recognize it, so we wrote to Eric Eaton. Here is his response: “Daniel: The spider is a male in the family Tengellidae, related to giant crab spiders. I believe it is an introduced species, native to somewhere overseas, but not recognized as dangerously venomous. Might be in the genus Titiotus, but not sure. There should be some online fact sheets about it since it is such a large spider and easiy commands attention. Eric” Eric’s response made us ponder the possibility that perhaps several of Aracnophobia’s extras escaped and found your town to their liking. It would be an example of life imitating art. We were also quite impressed with your bathroom. Since our recent remodel, we have white bathroom tile with white grout, but it seems our grout always looks dingy. We would love to hear your cleaning secret.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cricket-like insect, red and black
Sat, Nov 29, 2008 at 8:18 PM
Hi,
I saw an insect I’ve never seen before while hiking in the San Jacinto Wilderness near Idyllwild, California. I saw the bug this month (November 2008) at an elevation of around 8000 feet. I saw at least five of them scurrying on boulders and through the grass. They normally crawled, but when startled they could jump several times their body length.

Unidentified Shield-Backed Katydid

Shield-Backed Katydid

The insect’s body strongly resembles a cricket, but I’ve never seen crickets with those colors. Also, all the bugs had their tails pointed up in the air. It looked like they could adjust the angle of their tails.
I’d really like to find out what I saw! Thanks for your help.
Thanks, Dan
San Jacinto Mountains, California

Unidentified Shield-Backed Katydid

Shield-Backed Katydid

Hi Dan,
The best we can do for you is to identify your insect as a Shield-Backed Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. Earlier in the week, we got another different species from Mt. San Jacinto, and when we requested assistance from Eric Eaton, he wrote back: “Could be yet another new species, lots of katydids still undescribed from California.” Eric was going to request assistance from an expert in the Subfamily, and your submission may also benefit from the expert opinion. Often high elevation species have very limited habitats because they are unable to travel from one mountain peak to another, much like island species are limited by geographic obstacles. We hope, in time, to be able to provide at least a genus name for your distinctive Shield-Backed Katydid.

Unidentified Shield-Backed Katydid

Shield-Backed Katydid

Update:
Daniel:
Here is what he had to say about the other two katydid posts….
Eric

Sunday, November 30, 2008, 5:25 PM
Hi Eric,
1. I noticed two new posts about katydids at WhatsThatBug.com – the first
one is another report of the new genus from California (Ted Cohn was going
to name it Jacintobates), …
2. Decticinae had been synonymized with Tettigoniinae by Dave Rentz, only to
be resurrected as a tribe Decticini by Storozhenko. There is no question
that this group is a monophletic lineage, and it is rather irrelevant
whether it is given a subfamilial or tribal status. I am inclined to call
them a tribe, but they appear as a subfamily in many papers.
Cheers,
Piotr Naskrecki

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

small brown crustacean in house
Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 10:39 PM
I live in Southern CA and we’ve had heavy rain the last few days. Since this morning we are finding small brown bugs that look like a crustacean and kind of like a maggot. They are in the front rooms of the house and on the front patio. Could they be from the rain and what are they? The picture attached is from the web, but the look almost identical. Thanks
Lauren
in house in Southern CA

Lawn Shrimp

Lawn Shrimp

Hi Lauren,
What a wonderful photo of Arcitalitrus sylvaticus, a Lawn Shrimp, according to BugGuide, or House Hopper, according to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin.  According to BugGuide:  “These are rarely seen except when flooding or lack of moisture forces them to abandon their home in the soil in search for suitable conditions. At such times they often end up dieing on pavement or in homes and become a nuisance. Once they start appearing, there’s not much that can be done except to sweep them up- pesticides are pointless, because by then they’re already dieing or dead. The best solution is to keep the numbers down the rest of the year by keeping the soil from staying too moist- in California, especially, they’re a sign of overwatering. Physical barriers like weather-stripping can also help to keep them out of homes, but their bodies are flat and narrow, allowing them to slip through surprisingly narrow cracks. ”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Paper Wasp Nest – Now What?
Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 12:55 PM
Dear Bugman,
For almost two months now, I’ve been watching and photographing a paper wap nest in my back yard here in Hawthorne, California. It fell Thanksgiving Day from it’s location under a shelf in what we call “The Sanctuary”. Image 1 is of one of the wasps still on the nest at that time. I’m sure it’s in the genus Polistes, but it doesn’t look exactly like the photos of Polistes Dominulus I find posted on your site. Image 2 is what is left of the nest this morning, the day after Thansgiving. What is perplexing me is pictured in the third image I’ve attached. There are a bunch of these wasps congregating at the exact spot where the nest was originally. What are they doing?
Anna
Hawthorne, California

Paper Wasp Nest

Paper Wasp Nest

Hi Anna,
We believe your Paper Wasps are Polistes aurifer, named the Golden Polistes by Charles Hogue who at the time his book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin was reprinted in 1993, still considered this to be a subspecies of Polistes fuscatus.
BugGuide does consider it to be a separate Western species. You didn’t indicate what caused the nest to fall. We suspect it was the recent deluge and winds in Southern California just before Thanksgiving.

Paper Wasp Nest fallen to ground

Paper Wasp Nest fallen to ground

According to Hogue:  “The umbrella-shaped nests, which are made of a peper-like substance similar to that produced by the Yellow Jacket, are composed of a single layer of cells and attached by a short stem to the underside of overhanging surfaces (eaves or fence rails, for example).  Adult wasps gather caterpillars, which they skin and chew before feeding them to the grub-like larvae developing in the cells.”  The reason the wasps have congregated around the nest site is that for the past few months, they have been in the habit if returning to the nest. Much like people who have “lost everything” in a fire or other disaster, if the site is still attractive, your wasps may choose to rebuild in the same location.

Paper Wasps Nestless

Paper Wasps Nestless

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

This bug looks like a green leaf
Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 7:12 AM
My dogs found this green “leaf” bug on my front walk this morning. I live at Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. The bug was moving very slowly. I don’t know if it was injured when one dog pawed in a little but all legs seem to be intact. It opened its “leaf” wings slightly once. What is it and what is its purpose?
Susy
Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico

Unknown Katydid

Mexican Katydid

Hi Susy,
This is some species of Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae, but we cannot provide you with a species name. Most, but not all Katydids are plant feeders. You question this Katydid’s purpose and that is a loaded question. Each creature occupies a specific niche in the balance of nature, and to remove any individual species may ultimately tip the scale, upsetting the equilibrium of the entire planet. Some may question that the balance has already been upset.

Update:
Daniel:
Here is what he had to say about the other two katydid posts….
Eric

Sunday, November 30, 2008, 5:25 PM
Hi Eric,
1. I noticed two new posts about katydids at WhatsThatBug.com … the second is a species of Stilpnochlora(Phaneropterinae) from Mexico (possibly S. azteca, but it is hard to be
certain as females in this genus are very similar to each other.) …
Cheers,
Piotr Naskrecki

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

B52 Bomber?
Sat, Nov 29, 2008 at 2:08 AM
B52 Bomber?
This 10cm long bug flew in on us one night. Very slow and noisy in flight. It seemd to be having trouble staying aloft & its sense of direction was not too good either. I am emailing from Harare in Zimbabwe & we are at the beginning of summer at the moment.
Jenny Harrison
Zimbabwe

Longhorned Borer

Longhorned Borer

Hi Jenny,
While we cannot tell you what species this enormous beetle is, we can tell you that it is one of the Longhorned Borer Beetles in the family Cerambycidae. The larvae of the Longhorned Borer Beetles bore into the wood of trees. The formidable jaws on the beetle enable the newly metamorphosed adult to chew its way out of the tree where the larva has been feeding.

Friends:
WhatsThatBug.com has another interesting post (scroll down the home page) of a lovely, mottled prionid cerambycid from Africa that we’re curious about. In the course of my own cursory research, I stumbled upon some wonderful eye candy at:http://www.beetlesofafrica.com
that you might also find interesting. Thank you in advance for any help with the ID.
Eric R. Eaton

Update December 5, 2008
Daniel:
Mike Thomas says he communicated the genus name to you, but this person provides a species name and more information:-) Keep up the great work.
Eric
Eric’s / Jenny Harrison’s large ‘bycid carries the name Tithoes confinis (Laporte de Castelnau, 1840). It is likely a female, and not as large and fearsome as individuals of this species often are. The species is widespread through most of the continental Afrotropics and in the right habitat they are bound to come to light on a good light-trapping night; they come in around 1-3 hours after sunset. Its pedigree is Cerambycidae: Prioninae: Acanthophorini.
Best fishes,
RiaaN

Hello, Eric – I took the liberty of showing your image to a friend of mine who
is an avid cerambycid enthusiast, and he had the following to say:
“Acanthophorus (Tithoes) maculatus (Fab.)  especially if the third antennal
segment has a sulcus on it.”
Hope this helps,
Ed Saugstad
Sinks Grove, WV

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination