From the monthly archives: "October 2009"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Moth at the beach
October 30, 2009
Saw this moth at a rental house while at the beach. It hung out a few days so we decided to snap a picture
The Fairchild’s
Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Tersa Sphinx

Tersa Sphinx

Dear Fairchilds,
This is a Tersa Sphinx.  We just posted a few photos of its caterpillar, so it is nice to have the adult moth images as well.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Some sort of Hymenoptera from Tasmania, Aus.
October 31, 2009
On a recent trip to the apple isle (Tasmania) my girlfriend and I snapped this little beauty. I found it crawling around in the sand at the boundary between a beach and dry sclerophyll in Freycinet National park on the east coast. It looks terribly vicious but it didn’t seem to mind being picked up. This was in January which means mid summer in Australia. (although it doesn’t get real hot in Tasmania)
Hope that info is enough to narrow it down.
Thanks guys!
Jish from Newcastle
Freycinet national park, Tasmania, Australia

Wingless Flower Wasp from Tasmania

Wingless Flower Wasp from Tasmania

Hi Jish,
We located some images on the Brisbane Insect Website of wingless female Flower Wasps in the family Tiphiidae, but the patters were nothing like your specimen.  We doubted our research, and requested assistance from Eric Eaton.  He quickly responded.  Seems we overlooked the image when we searched.

Wingless Flower Wasp from Tasmania

Wingless Flower Wasp from Tasmania

Daniel:
It is a wingless female wasp in the family Tiphiidae, possibly genus Catocheilus, as I found on the “Brisbane Insects” website.  Neat find, great image!
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Jumping spider mating display
October 31, 2009
Hi,
I was working in my backyard today when I noticed these two beautiful little jumping spiders. The male was trying to convince the female that he would make a good mate. He would approach the female with his arms raised and vibrate his pedipalps. When he would get close, the female would chase after him like she was going to eat him. Eventually the male decided that it wasn’t worth the risk and ran away. The male was about 1/4 of an inch long, and the female was about 1/2 an inch long. They had gray bodies and brilliant gold hairs covering their legs. Any help you can provide in identifying these little beauties will be very appreciated. Keep up the great work.
Josh Kouri

Jumping Spiders:  Mating of Vying for Dominance???

Jumping Spiders: Mating of Vying for Dominance???

Hi Josh,
We believe your spiders are Phidippus mystaceus based on images posted to BugGuide, but we also suspect this might be two male spiders vying for dominance.  The male spider is a perfect match to an image on BugGuide.  The coloration and pattern of the females posted to BugGuide are significantly different than in your photos.  The images are quite amazing.

Jumping Spider:  Male or Female???

Jumping Spider: Male or Female???

Hi,
After I saw that you identified my spiders I decided to look for more pictures of Phidippus mystaceus/. /I found several sites that showed females with gold on their legs. These all lacked the red markings on top of their heads that the males have. The larger of the spiders I found also lacked these red markings, but the smaller one had them. Could there be another variation or subspecies of P. mystaceus/ /where the females have gold legs too? Thanks for the help with the I.D.
Josh Kouri

Hi,
Here are the links. http://bugguide.net/node/view/231102/bgimage
http://www.canadianarachnology.org/data/spiders/35475
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phidippus_mystaceus
Hope they help.
Josh Kouri

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this?
October 30, 2009
I found this caterpillar on my bricks in my flowerbed. I am having a hard time identifying it. please help. Found 10/30/2009 in Houston TX
Brandy
SE Texas

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Brandy,
This is a Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar.  We get numerous reports of them feeding on Penta.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

We received the following letter in such a timely manner that we thought we would choose it for the Bug of the Month for November.  Sadly, Halloween will have already passed, but adult Florida Predatory Stink Bugs will continue to appear.  We are combining that letter with a previous letter that shows the radically different immature insects that are known to feed in packs.  Curious readers can also turn to BugGuide for more information on the Florida Predatory Stink Bug or Halloween Bug.

Black/orange “jack o’lantern” beetle
October 26, 2009
We spotted this beetle on our trash toter lid on October 23. He was apparently out for a stroll – did not fly while we watched. His markings are striking – a built-in Halloween costume!
Patrice and Allen Sigmon
High Point, NC

Halloween Bug
Halloween Bug

Dear Patrice and Allen,
Though you did not realize it, you actually correctly identified your insect.  The Florida Predatory Stink Bug, Euthyrhunchus floridanus, is frequently called the Halloween Bug because of its coloration and markings as well as its timely appearance.  It is also the time of the month for us to select a Bug of the Month for November 2009, and we plan to use your letter and photo as a point of departure, and include an image of the startlingly different immature insects as well.

Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs communally feeding on a Carpenter Bee

Red and black what I think is a beetle eating a bumble bee
Sat, Jun 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM
I was outside working in my yard when I looked up on my awning and saw what I thought was a bumble bee holding a flower, but then I saw some liquid drop and I decided to look closer. When I did, I saw that it was a bunch of small red and black beetles eating the bumble bee. I was kind of shocked. I just moved to northern North Carolina and have seen some strange bugs, but these ones eating the bumble bee is the strangest. If you could, please tell me what this is.
Angelica
Reidsville, NC

Florida Predatory Stink Bugs eat Bumble Bee
Florida Predatory Stink Bugs eat Bumble Bee

Hi Angelica,
These are immature Florida Predatory Sting Bugs, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, sometimes called Halloween Bugs because of the black and orange coloration of the adults, which are winged. According to BugGuide, they are: “Predatory on other insects, including caterpillars, beetle. Nymphs, and to some extent, adults, are gregarious, and may attack large prey in groups.” Your photo nicely illustrates this. Despite what your photo illustrates, the Florida Predatory Stink Bug is a beneficial insect because of the caterpillars and beetles it consumes. We are guessing Bees, since they can easily fly away, are not commonly eaten.

Update: From Eric Eaton
Sat, 20 Jun 2009 17:12:31 -0700 (PDT)
The predatory stink bugs appear to be scavenging the remains of a dead carpenter bee (it is missing both hind legs, so who can say for certain…). Many hemipterans, even plant-feeders, will scavenge dead insects on occasion.
Eric

Aggregation of Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs

Aggregation of Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Mini Praying Mantis
October 30, 2009
Hi,
My cat first found one of these interesting creatures inside our house (7/6/09), and I made a short video of it before letting it go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoISwh7K8BE
Last night (10/29/09), in my cat’s water dish, I rescued another one (or the same one) from the water. It seems similar to the grass mantis (four spider-like legs), but both the head and body shape are clearly different. What do you think?
Best wishes,
Rich
Rich Smith / RichSmith.com / Los Angeles
West Los Angeles 90066

Thread Legged Bug

Thread Legged Bug

Hi Rich,
This is an Assassin Bug in the subfamily Emesinae, known as the Thread Legged Bugs.  Our best guess is that it is in the genus Empicoris, characterized by “femora, tibiae, and antennae banded black and white; forefemora thickened, elongate; wings slender, extending slightly beyond tip of abdomen
” according to BugGuide.  The front legs that are modified for grasping insects do resemble the front legs of mantids.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination