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

Mantis
Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:15 PM
Greetings, this perfect little creature was encountered in Southeast Az in September.
Crowfriend
Chiricahua Mountains

Mexican Unicorn Mantis

Mexican Unicorn Mantis

Dear Crowfriend,
This positively delightful mantis is a Mexican Unicorn Mantis, Phyllovates chlorophaea.  According to BugGuide, it is a rare native species.  BugGuide reports sightings from Arizona and Texas.  BugGuide also indicates:  “This species is becoming popular among captive breeding enthusiasts, not only for its distinctive appearance and large size, but also because its preference for smaller prey means that cannibalism is much rarer than in most other mantid species. Captives have been reported using a defensive posture in which they raise the forelimbs, spread the wings, and expose the brightly marked abdomen.”  This represents a new species for our site, which always excites us.  We are also quite impressed with the quality of your photograph, the details of the specimen that are visible, and the wonderful facial expression you have captured.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this thing?
Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 7:26 AM
Found this bug by the open overhead door at the metal shop I was working in. It was September I believe. I kept it alive and scooped him up with a piece of paper and took it outside, however the owners son proceeded to smash it repeatedly with a 5 lb dead blow hammer, of course I was wroth with him for it. He smashes all the weird bugs that seem to show up in large numbers around the shop also. Found a luna moth that had been knocked down by a robin, and I saved a praying mantis that was over 4 inches long this fall! Don’t know what this thing is, had small hooks on the end of it’s strange mantis like front legs. Some damage to it in the picture, probably as a result of flying into the stockroom of a metal shop! if you could identify it, I would be grateful.
Matt
Western NY state, USA

Water Scorpion smashed to death

Water Scorpion smashed to death

Hi Matt,
We are very sorry to hear that this unfortunate Water Scorpion has been pummelled to death by an insensitive insect hater.  The Water Scorpion in the genus Ranatra is a predatory aquatic insect that can fly and is sometimes attracted to lights.  Water Scorpions get their name from the painful bite they will deliver if they are mishandled, but the species does not aggressively bite humans.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

slug-like creature
Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 3:02 PM
Hi,
I found this little guy under a log at my aunt’s house in central Oklahoma this summer. I see these guys pretty often, but have no idea what they are. They leave a trail of slime like a slug, but don’t have any eye-stalks, and they make little “webs” out of their slime. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated. Thanks for the great site, and happy holidays.
Josh Kouri,
Oklahoma City , Ok.

Big Mystery

Big Mystery

Hi Josh,
We are not certain how to classify your mystery organism. We don’t believe it is a mollusc, so would rule out that it is a slug. We also don’t believe it is an insect, though some larval insects are very uninsectlike, including many larval flies, commonly called maggots. This might be a fly larva. It also doesn’t seem very wormlike or leechlike to us. For now, we would say perhaps this is some type of fly larva, but we are far from certain. Perhaps our readership will come to our rescue. Meanwhile, is it possible for you to tell us how large this organism is?

The ones I’ve seen range in size from about 1/4 inch to one inch. The one
pictured was about 3/4 of an inch. Hope this helps. I’ll see if I have any
other pics.

Identification: December 31, 2008
Daniel:
Well, the description of the behavior is more helpful than the image in this case. You are quite right about it being a fly larva, most likely that of a fungus gnat in the family Mycetophilidae. Some species are known to build mucous “webs,” most notably the bioluminescent ones in Waitomo Caves in New Zealand. This one sure ‘looks’ like a slug….
Eric Eaton

Update:
January 1, 2009
Hi,
I was looking at some of my older pictures today and realized that the slug-like creature is not what makes the “webs”, and the one pictured is the only one I have seen. The creatures that make the “webs” are more worm-like, and the lengths I gave you are for the worms, as I have only seen one of the slug-creatures. I still don’t know what either of the creatures is, and I hope you guys can help. Sorry for the mistakes. Thanks for the awesome site, and happy New Year.
Josh Kouri

Fungus Gnat Larvae

Fungus Gnat Larvae

Hi Josh,
Eric Eaton wrote in to say that based on your written description, your creature was a Fungus Gnat larva in the family Mycetophilidae. That would mean that your original image is still a mystery and the new photo which shows the webs would be the Fungus Gnat larva.

fungus gnat larvae update
Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 11:31 AM
Hi,
When I saw that you guys identified the “worms” as fungus gnat larvae I decided to look for better pictures on the internet.
The pictures I found looked a lot different from what I have been seeing. Is it possible the “worms” are some other type of fly or gnat larvae, or even something completely different? Thanks again for all you do.
Josh Kouri

Update: January 5, 2009
Daniel:
Saw the update that the image is not what is making the mucous webs. Well, I would say that the image is that of a slug, then, and it shouldn’t be that hard to ID. It is probably an introduced European species that has spread via commerce, ship’s ballast, etc.
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

spider
Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 6:24 PM
I send this photo in during a very busy time for you, so I am not surprised
that it received no attention.  Now that it is the middle of the winter,  you
might have less e-mail, so I thought I would try again.   I am still very
curious whether I have correctly identified the  (very scary to me) spider.
I took the photo in early September, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
The black dots are spaced 1in apart, so the critter is about 2 inches.
Brief research has led me to believe it’s a Giant House Spider,
as described on this website:
http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Glade
You will be glad to know that despite of frightening me nearly to death when
it suddenly appeared on a floor next to me, it has been left alone.  We never
saw it again; I am guessing our small apartment is not a very spider-friendly
place, having no dark undisturbed corners to build a spider web.
What do you think?
Joanna

Giant House Spider

Giant House Spider

Hi Joanna,
We  believe this might be a male Giant House Spider, Tegenaria duellica, based on some images posted to BugGuide.  We are sorry you had to wait so long for a reply, but summer is a very busy time for us.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Identifyi a bug
Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 4:20 AM
We have this bug in our garden and sometimes in our house.
It is about 2 cm long, has 6 legs, 2 tails and 2 front antenas.
It is brown/black in color and has 4 yellow spots/dots on its back.
I have seen it lays many white eggs.
What is its name and is this bug dangerous?
Sorry the pictures are not that focused.
Actually, I think this is the bug you have illustrated on your site.
Thank you
Israel

Earwig

Earwig

Your insect is an Earwig in the order Dermaptera.  Earwigs are harmless to people but they are not completely benign in the garden.  They generally hide during the day in leaf litter and other places, and by night they feed on plants, organic material and small insects.  We often find several inside the blossoms of roses in our own garden and they chew holes in the petals of the flowers.  Though they damage some blossoms, we tolerate them in the garden and do not consider them to be a pest insect.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large, wasp-like insect
Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 2:46 AM
I’ve worked at a summer camp near the Cascade Mountains in Washington for the last three years, and I’ve only seen this kind of insect once. There were two of them on the rocks near the pool, and neither moved at all, even when I went in for a close-up. I was particularly interested because of their size – if I remember right they were about twice the size of the European paper wasps we normally see around here.
Vector
Central Washington

Raspberry Crown Borer

Raspberry Crown Borer

Hi Vector,
This is one of the Wasp Mimic Clearwing Moths in the family Sesiidae.  We believe it is the Raspberry Crown Borer, Pennisetia marginata, also called the Blackberry Crown Borer since it feeds on both plants.  According to BugGuide: “larvae bore inside roots (stock and crown) of blackberry/raspberry (Rubus spp.) “

Raspberry Crown Borers

Raspberry Crown Borers

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination