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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large beetle – central Ontario
Location: Parry Sound, ON
August 31, 2015 3:40 am
Trying to ID this beauty. Spotted in a well-treed residential area adjacent to a forest. Thanks!
Signature: Jason

Odor of Leather Beetle

Odor of Leather Beetle

Dear Jason,
We verified the identity of your Scarab Beetle as a Hermit Beetle or Odor of Leather Beetle,
Osmoderma eremicola, thanks to the images posted on BugGuide where it states the habitat is:  “rotten logs in woodlands and orchards; adults nocturnal, come to lights.”

Cool. It’s so big. Thanks!

It is the time of the month to select a Bug of the Month for September 2015, and because we are intrigued that BugGuide indicates that the Hermit Beetle gets its other common name “for strong odor of ‘Russian Leather,'” it is a worthy subject to feature next month.  The Backyard Arthropod Project notes:  ” The thing is, the way people talk about it, the odor is supposed to be really strong and noticeable, but with this one it is practically nonexistent.”

Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Though it is nowhere near as virulent as other nasty emails we have received, we have decided this posting needs to be tagged with our Nasty Reader Award nonetheless.  Perhaps we are being overly sensitive, but the followup communication from M R just rubbed us the wrong way by implying that our personal (and originally unposted) response was not sufficient.  First, the original email we received did not even include a question, and by all appearances, including the use of abbreviations, this was a hasty submission.  We are a free internet service and we do not have the time to do extensive research on every request we receive.  The image is out of focus, and it is not attractive.  We choose requests with catchy subject lines, attractive images, interesting anecdotes or rare sightings for posting purposes because we find them more interesting, and we believe our readership will also find them more interesting.  We responded to MR the same day the submission was made, and it took MR more than a day to put a species name to the Cicada.  Exact species identifications are frequently time consuming, as MR learned, and we had no clue from the information we received that a species name was even desired.  Granted, our identification was general, but it was correct.  Getting what seems to be a snotty reply that “I figured that a bug id ‘What’s That Bug’ would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada” seemed totally unnecessary and crafted to demean our site.  So, after a hiatus of more than three years, we are finally awarding our Ninth Nasty Reader Award.  We are also linking to BugGuide for information on Neotibicen dorsatus, the Bush Cicada.  

Subject: Bug
Location: TX
August 18, 2015 1:53 am
Don’t know what this bug is called
Signature: M R


Bush Cicada

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, wrote:

August 20, 10:02 PM
It’s a Cicada ( Tibicen Dorsatus) Took some time but I was able to locate it.
I figured that a bug id “What’s That Bug” would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mystery Fishing Spider
Location: North Plainfield, New Jersey
July 23, 2015 7:53 am
This guy has been hanging out on my pool these past few days. It’s clearly some kind of fishing spider but I can’t figure out what species. From the markings, it doesn’t look quite like any of the more common local species. Any guesses?
Signature: LaSalamander

Grass Spider Walks on Water!!!

Grass Spider Walks on Water!!!

Dear LaSalamander,
Though it is walking on water, this is not a Fishing Spider, which explains why its markings look different.  Among Spiders, walking on water is not miraculous and species other than Fishing Spiders, including Wolf Spiders are able to walk on water because the spread of their legs helps to distribute the weight of the body.  The pronounced spinnerets at the tip of the abdomen are a factor in identifying this as a Grass Spider, possibly
 Agelenopsis pennsylvanica, one of the Funnel Weavers, which is pictured on BugGuide.

Grass Spider

Grass Spider

Thanks so much, Daniel! I wish I had something witty or something more meaningful to say, but that’s all I got. I’m happy to be schooled on the subject of Fishing and Not-So-Fishing Spiders. Hurray!

John LaSala, Amelia Gajary, Karin Weidman, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Ann Levitsky, Sue Dougherty liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Gentle Readers,
The editorial staff of What’s That Bug? will be on holiday for the next two weeks.  We will not be responding to your numerous identification requests until the end of June, but because we do not want our loyal readership to go through any withdrawals, or to suffer separation anxiety, we have prepared postings to go live to our site daily during our absence.  We anticipate that upon our return, our mailbox will be stuffed with hundreds if not thousands of identification requests, and we are certain we will not be able to respond to more than a tiny fraction.  Meanwhile, please use our search engine to attempt to self identify any sightings that pique your curiosity.  We hope we will get to see Fireflies in Northeast Ohio this June.



Update:  June 27, 2015
We’re Back, and the Fireflies were spectacular.

Carmen Thompson liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: New Logo
August 5, 2014 10:06 pm
I am a graphic designer trying to build up a portfolio. I’ve been enjoying your site for years; you even once posted a pic of a Luna moth I took. I’d like to offer my services free of charge, to make a new header graphic for your site. If you’d be interested, please let me know!
Signature: Elizabeth Goldberg

Bugman Daniel Marlos on What's That Bug? quilt

Bugman Daniel Marlos on What’s That Bug? quilt

Thanks for the offer Elizabeth, but the scrawly What’s That Bug? logo is actually derived from the embroidered name on a quilt made by Daniel, and it has sentimental value.  If we have a chance, we will take an image of that embroidered design to post.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: educational link request
June 19, 2014 5:54 pm
I am a middle school science teacher at St Francis Xavier Prep in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and I stumbled onto your website today while doing some research for a science book that I am putting together for my sixth grade students. The new trend  in schools is to get textbooks on iPads which I dislike intensely, however, I had one thrust upon me along with an Apple laptop which I also dislike intensely but that’s beside the point. The newest iPad version textbook I have used with my sixth graders is terrible. It was dumbed down so much I gave up and decided to write my own for my classroom use only. Although I can’t say I really love arthropods, I do love science and living things. From the browsing that I have done on your site, I think you enjoy what you do, as well. I like to get my students enthused about what they are learning even if it can be icky. Would you be interested in being a link in my classroom book for my students’ questions when we get to the arthropod section
? I have about 50 – 60 students in grade six. They may ask nothing or something depending on how motivated I can get them.
Signature: Jackie Battles

Dear Jackie,
We are flattered with our assessment of our site and we are also intrigued with your request.  We need to come clean and inform you that the most popular posting on our site continues to be What’s That Bug? will not do your child’s homework, but with that said, we would be honored to try to assist your students.  PLease have them include the name of your school, St Francis Xavier Prep, in the subject line if they write to us with a request and the best link is our Ask What’s That Bug? link if they have images.  They can try our Comments and Questions link if they have no images.  We will try to the best of our ability to direct them to the best postings on our site to answer their questions.

Thanks for your reply. I teach about the whole kingdom of life in the sixth grade so I don’t get to animals until late spring, but I download my book for my students in September so they would have access to the links that are included in it. As of right now, I don’t have any schoolwork questions where the children would have to need you  to help them with their homework  so don’t worry about cheating. Hopefully it  would be purely for curiosity and  fun. I do manage to get my students excited about things from bacteria to fungus to arthropods sometimes. If anyone in the building finds a “bug” it usually is trapped and then escorted by an entourage down to my room. (I’m not sure what they think I’m going to do with it, but nonetheless it is given to me.) So as you can see, the kids will find a bug and maybe ask you what it is instead of me and do some browsing on your site and learn something.
If you are nosey – the school website is
Jackie Battles

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination