From the monthly archives: "March 2013"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beetle With Ribbons on Back
Location: Austin, TX
March 27, 2013 11:22 am
This bug was near a live oak tree, March 2013 in Austin, TX
Signature: Steven Landry

Identified. Yellow Crescent Blister Beetle. Thanks :)

Yellow Crescent Blister Beetle

Yellow Crescent Blister Beetle

Hi Steven,
We were browsing through the Blister Beetle pages on BugGuide before stumbling upon the Yellow Crescent Blister Beetle,
Pyrota insulata, because we didn’t realize you had already identified it.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults feed on nectar, mostly Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) though also observed on Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccafolium) and probably others” and “Attracted to lights, occasionally in large numbers.”  Greg Lasley Nature PHotography has a nice series of photos of a Yellow Crescent Blister Beetle on Lupine.  We find your cropping odd, but vaguely amusing.  Since we will be away from the office for several days, we are postdating your submission to go live in our absence. 

Lol! Thanks. I cropped it that way to try to get google image search to match the bug and not the wood planks!

We hope it will give our readers a laugh or at least a smile on April Fool’s Day.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hanging out on my living room wall.
Location: Austin, TX
March 25, 2013 9:21 pm
I’ve been trying to identify this really pretty bug. It’s iridescent and looks like a piece of jewelry. I thought it might be a dobsonfly, but the abdomen is too long and seems to have pincers on the end. I’m in Austin, TX.
Signature: Samoq

Antlion

Antlion

Dear Samoq,
This is an Antlion, and it does look like a piece of jewelry.  In preparation for a trip away from the offices, we are postdating your submission to go live later in the week.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cryptocheilus bicolor and …
Location: Perth, Western Australia
March 28, 2013 2:42 am
Dear Bugman
Recently captured few images and recognised the wasp from your site as Cryptocheilus bicolor (I think). Was interested to know what kind of spider it was. The picture were taken in Perth, Western Australia.

Spider Wasp battles with Wolf Spider

Spider Wasp battles with Wolf Spider

At first the wasp was the victim, and being dragged by the spider (yesterday). Wasp managed to get a sting in to ”seemingly” paralyse the spider, as it was still alive the following day (today).

Spider Wasp paralyzes Wolf Spider

Spider Wasp paralyzes Wolf Spider

The wasp has been dragging the spider around and attempted to get it to it’s nest in the roof… was a bit of a struggle and continually dropped it as it reached ceiling height, only to pick it up and drag it up the wall again! It now lies abandoned on the ground… seems to still have a little bit of life left in it! I think the wasp will be back for it… (?)
Signature: Marlise Nel

Wolf Spider Eyes

Wolf Spider Eyes

Hi Marlise,
Thank you for sending us your wonderful photos and your detailed observations of this Food Chain drama.  The Orange Spider Wasp, Cryptocheilus bicolor, feeds on both Huntsman Spiders and Wolf Spiders according to the Brisbane Insect Website.  We typically get photos of them feeding on Huntsman Spider and we believe this is the first example we have received of a Wolf Spider as the prey.  In your second photo, the face of the spider is perfectly facing the camera, so it was easy to make out the eye arrangement and match it to the eye arrangement of the Wolf Spiders.  Spider Eye Arrangements are posted to BugGuide.  One correction we would like to make on your observations is your mention of a rooftop nest.  Spider Wasps burrow underground, and this spider was intended not as food for the female wasp that hunted it, but rather for her brood.  Since it would be nearly impossible for the Spider Wasp to gain altitude from the ground while transporting such a large spider, it is common to see the wasps climb to a height and glide to the nest with the prey in tow.  Since we will be away from the office during the holiday, we are postdating your submission to go live early next week.

Spider Wasp dragging Wolf Spider up a wall

Spider Wasp dragging Wolf Spider up a wall

Dear Daniel
Delighted to hear from you!  Thank you so much for going to the trouble of replying with such detailed information.
Have since seen the videos of her dragging her prey underground :-)  Horribly cruel, yet resourceful execution…
Best
Marlise

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Ottawa Canada
March 27, 2013 6:11 pm
I started to see these bugs last year. They start out as tiny pin head size bugs that are totally red. There are thousands in a nest which looks like a moving bunch of red dots. As they grow they start to become black untill they are mostly black with a little red. They also can fly. They were everywhere in the fall. Thousands of them all over my house and I saw a lot of nests on my property. They seem to be harmless as they will walk on you and not bite. The only bother is the sheer number and now that spring has come, they seem to be coming from nowhere. I am just curious as I have never seen this bug in my life. They seem to be about 1/2” full grown, six legs and two antenna. Thanks.
Signature: Harry Van Hofwegen

Our Automated Response
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can.

Hello:
Thanks for your email.  Crazy thing, but I have looked for a long time and I just stumbled on an image of this bug so I just figured it out.  It is a Boxelder bug.  I have never seen them around my home ever until last year and now I have thousands of them.  I appreciate you guys and the work you do for people.  I hope they will leave soon because they are annoying.
Cheers,
Harry

Eastern Boxelder Bug

Eastern Boxelder Bug

Hi Harry,
We are happy to hear you quickly identified your Eastern Boxelder Bug once you discovered our site.  We have numerous postings of the aggregations the Eastern Boxelder Bugs form, especially in late summer and autumn.  They feed on the seeds of boxelder trees and other maples, so we assume you have a large maple tree or trees near your home.  Boxelder Bugs also enter homes in the fall to hibernate.  Boxelder Bugs often have isolated populations that are very numerous, but several hundred feet away, they are noticeable absent.  Their populations might also fluctuate greatly from year to year.  We suspect if the conditions are right for them in your yard, they are most likely there to stay.  We will be away from the office for a few days for the holidays, so we are postdating your submission to go live later in the week.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

March 30, 2013
We are on holiday, visiting family out of town.  We have postdated some interesting submissions so that new posts will go live each day of our absence, however, we will not be checking nor responding to any emails, which means we expect to have a huge backlog when we return.

Update:  April 4, 2013
We’ve returned to the office to a slew of identification requests and comments.  We will do our best to catch up, but other responsibilities also demand our attention.  Please be patient with our tiny staff.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Luckily we were using a pitchfork instead of a shovel!!!
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
March 29, 2013

California Legless Lizard

California Legless Lizard


We needed to dig in the garden today to remove a dead kumquat tree, when we noticed a shimmery, slithering creature in the freshly turned dirt.  We thought at first it was a salamander, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a California Legless Lizard.  The last one we found in Mount Washington was released in Elyria Canyon Park in June of 2008.  We didn’t have much time, but we snapped a few photos to document this relatively rare sighting in our lovely rustic neighborhood.

California Legless Lizard

California Legless Lizard

Update:  September 22, 2013
It seems there is more diversity among Legless Lizards in California than was originally believe.  Read about the four new species of Legless Lizards in California on Popular Science and Yahoo News.

Julian Donahue provides information on the Legless Lizard diversity:  September 19, 2013
Just discovered a new paper that splits four species of legless lizards from the one species, California Legless Lizard, making five in all in California.
Ours is now Anniella stebbinsi, the Southern California Legless Lizard. I have just posted this info on the Alliance Facebook page, updated the Mt. Washington herptile list, and attach a PDF of the full article for your files.  Anniella-4 n spp
Julian

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination