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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth
Location: Brisbane
November 30, 2016 3:46 am
Huge moth dog was trying to get. Was wondering what it is?
Signature: Shaun

Giant Wood Moth we believe

Giant Wood Moth we believe

Dear Shaun,
We believe this is a Giant Wood Moth in the family Cossidae, possibly Endoxyla macleayi which is pictured on Butterfly House, though there are other similar looking species in the same genus.  We would not rule out that it might be a Ghost Moth in the family Hepialidae, a very similar looking family that is well represented on Butterfly House, and we should also point out that other members of the family Cossidae are represented on Butterfly House.  We have difficulty distinguishing between the two families.  Caterpillars of Wood Moths are known as Witchety Grubs.  Because of your timely submission, we have selected this posting as our Bug of the Month for December 2016.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: grasshoppers
Location: Madera Canyon, AZ
November 4, 2016 2:18 pm
Many different species of grasshopper in the multible biomes of this southeastern part of Arizona near the Sky Islands and in Madera Canyon. A mix of oak woodlands, succulents and pines in the upper region. I’ve tried to ID them online, but nothing looks quite what I photographed. One naturalist said one was a differential grasshopper, but again I didn’t see the resemblance.
Signature: Thank you, Leanne Grossman

Female Katydid

Female Mexican Bush Katydid

Dear Leanne,
Anyone who uses the term “biomes” in a request is worth corresponding with in our estimation.  While all of your submitted images depict members of the order Orthoptera which includes Grasshoppers, not all of your Orthopterans are Grasshoppers.  The green individual with the long antennae is a Katydid, and the antennae distinguish Longhorned Orthopterans from the suborder Ensifera from the Grasshoppers which are classified in the suborder Caelifera.  The upturned, sickle-like ovipositor identifies your Katydid as a female, and the shape of the ovipositor is often a factor in species identification.  Alas, we have not the necessary skills to identify your species without research, but we wanted to begin the posting nonetheless.  Since Katydids are categorized separately from Grasshoppers on our site, we will finish addressing this identification as well as your other images in the near future.

Update:  Hello again Leanne,
Based on this BugGuide image, we believe your female Katydid is a Mexican Bush Katydid,
Scudderia mexicana, and despite its name, its natural range includes both the Southwestern States and Mexico.  Insects have no respect for international borders.  The fun site Arizona:  Beetles Bugs Birds and more has a December 13, 2011 posting that includes an awesome image of a female from the genus using her ovipositor to create a repository for her eggs on their proper food plant.

Thank you again, Daniel. Best regards,
Leanne

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Costa Rican tarantula – grey and black with red eyes
Location: Costa Rica
October 30, 2016 7:00 pm
Hi,
My husband and I live in Costa Rica, We have a large black tarantula that lives in a hole outside our front door. (2nd attached photo ) We’ve named her Harriet. 🙂 But we came across a very strange looking tarantula the other day – it is grey and black with red eyes (1st attached photo) I could not find anything online that looked similar so figured I would run it by you guys! Let me know what you think – thanks! We also found a 3rd tarantula at our house I also attached a photo of. It is hard to identify them online.
Signature: Kari Pinkerton Silcox

Huntsman Spider from Costa Rica

Huntsman Spider from Costa Rica

Dear Kari,
After opening three of your four email submissions, we feel confident stating that we expect you to thwart our ability to identify exotic species online before long.  This positively gorgeous spider is not a Tarantula, but rather a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider in the family Sparassidae.  They are easily confused with Tarantulas.  They are large, and they hunt nocturnally without building a web, and some tropical species are rumored to be quite venomous.  The first hint we had, other than starting with a known family and a location, was an image identified as “A huntsman spider, formerly
Olios now being reclassified” on Minibeast Wildlife on a page devoted to the attraction that “The spider fauna on the Osa Peninsula is rich and diverse.”  We found this image of a Huntsman posted to SpiderzRule/BadgeHuntsman page that is described as:  “About 3 to 3 1/2 inches across the legs. Found at night under a heliconia leaf along a rainforest stream at about 200 Meters elevation near Drake’s Bay, Costa Rica. No web seen.”  In this gorgeous WeHeartIt image, you can clearly see the eye pattern of the six eyes, and you can also discern that what you mistook for eyes are actually red ocelli or false eyes on the chelicerae.  Because of several reasons, beginning with the enthusiasm you have written to us with such lovely Costa Rican species, and because it is the First of the Month, we are tagging this submission as the Bug of The Month for November 2016.  Since we do not like to combine different taxonomical categories on our site, we will post your Tarantula images independently.  You are also making us want to start a Costa Rica tag. 

Huntsman Eye Pattern

Huntsman Eye Pattern

Thank you so much Daniel, I really appreciate your time. The interesting bugs in Costa Rica are mind blowing, we have endless photos of cool critters and I didn’t want to overwhelm your inbox too much with all my photos, although it was tempting, haha. But if you do a Costa Rica tag or section please let me know and I am happy to submit some more interesting insect photos!
I shared your Bug of the Month on my Costa Rica travel blog facebook page (Happy Coconuts Travel Blog), that is exciting to be featured. Thanks for doing what you do! 🙂
Here is a photo blog I published a while back on all the interesting creatures outside our door on the edge of the Osa Peninsula of Costa rica if you’re interested in checking out some more cool insect/bug/critter photos:
http://www.happycoconutstravelblog.com/blog/welcome-to-the-jungle
Pura Vida!
Kari Silcox
www.happycoconutstravelblog.com

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  October 13, 2016
We are also finding Painted Tiger Moths at our porch light in Mount Washington, Los Angeles, so it is fair to say they are currently flying in Southern California.

Subject: Strange creature
Location: Soquel Ca
October 11, 2016 7:07 pm
What the heck is it??? 2 heads!!!
Signature: Eve

Mating Painted Tiger Moths

Mating Painted Tiger Moths

Dear Eve,
The reason there are two heads is that one head belongs to the larger female on the right and the other to the male.  This is a mating pair of Painted Tiger Moths, a relatively common California species that is most common in winter months.

wow you are awesome to get back to me thank you! , I just figured it out!!!! how embarrassing!!!!!  as one has left and eggs are in the place, so funny I really thought it was a 2 headed thing  and not a couple!!!! jeez are they good for the garden?  Thanks again

The larva of the Painted Tiger Moth is a Woolly Bear that is a general feeder that is quite fond of weeds, so one could argue that though the adults do not eat and do not pollinate plants, the caterpillars can help keep back weeds.  The diet of the caterpillars is described on BugGuide as:  “Larvae are generalists of low herbacious plants.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Update:  June 17, 2016
We’re Back.

Subject:  We’re posting this image of a dead Ten Lined June Beetle being devoured by Argentine Ants and leaving town
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California

June 8, 2016 1:08 AM
Upon leaving the house this afternoon, we moved the garbage to the curb and discovered this dead Ten Lined June Beetle under the recycle bin.  We placed it on the fence so we could take an image upon returning.  Since it was dark, we needed to use the flash.  The beetle is being devoured by invasive Argentine Ants.  This is only the second Ten Lined June Beetle we have found in Mount Washington, and it is just shy of a year ago that we had the first Ten Lined June Beetle visit our office.  This is most likely our last posting prior to taking a week long holiday, during which time we will not be answering any identification requests.  We have postdated numerous submissions to go live during our absence.  We will return in mid-June, so kindly hold your requests until after June 17.

Ten Lined June Beetle devoured by Argentine Ants

Ten Lined June Beetle devoured by Argentine Ants

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Comment:  After reading the first three comments that arrived, we decided to upgrade this posting to the Nasty Reader tag.

Subject: Comments, Responses, & Sad Backpedaling
January 24, 2016 4:35 am
Hello,
I am a biologist and I work for the Government. I mention this only to reveal my familiarity with reading disturbing and mysterious things. I have been on your site several times hoping to see something interesting. Tonight I did, though not topically expected.  Areas now perfectly clear are:
1)  Nothing here of more knowledge or with  more information than a public high school text book.
2) That you care.
3)You attempt to deflect this by mockery and  wildly unwarranted superiority.
4) That this site does more than babysit its curator’s undernourished egos.
On reading a post , a  schoolyard comment  from another reader, your curiously condescending and marginalizing reply, the rebuke  .. and wait for it…the transparent cowardice of your denial. Perhaps you overlooked a small detail. Tiny detail really..its just that you  typed words on the page.   Hands in pockets and  think  words really, really hard next time? Just a thought.
It’s not too late for this to morph into a catalyst for positive change. Love yourself a little more and understand that cruelty is a game played in shallow water.  Ultimately you will lose. The rest of us can clearly see your feet.
Peace.
Out.
Signature: Amanda

Dear Amanda,
We do consider this website and our life both to be works in progress and we like to think that we have evolved considerably since we first began writing What’s That Bug? in 1998.  From the very beginning, we have maintained that we have no credentials to provide scientific information and we have always strived for our site to be a pop culture site that is accessible to the average person rather than to be a true scientific endeavor targeting intellectual specialists.  That there is “nothing here of more knowledge or with more information than a public high school text book” is not a problem in our mind because there is no requirement that the web browsing public possesses a college degree.  Many children visit our site and a high school text book would be quite educational.  Out of concern for younger readers, we try our best to keep a clean site, so we do not use vulgar language. 

We always defer to true experts, so we question your allegations of our “wildly unwarranted superiority.”  With that stated, your comment has us a bit confused.  There is some praise there, but it is overshadowed by your criticism of our editorial stance.  We are well aware that once content enters cyberspace, it gains a life of its own and it is nearly impossible to rescind, so we actually do carefully consider our words prior to hitting the publish button.  We are not infallible and we do not apologize for our ego.  It can be argued that anyone who enters public life in any way, be it running a blog or running for public office, has an inflated ego. 

Your comment seems to refer to a specific posting with “a schoolyard comment from another reader” and our “transparent cowardice” and what you perceive as “cruelty” on our part, but without a real citation to correspond to your criticism on how we have chosen to run our own public site, we can neither justify our stance nor clarify or defend the meaning of what we have written.  Clearly your background in biology and your position as a government employee has prepared to to analyze our psyche.  In our opinion, your focus on our use of occasional sarcasm vastly overshadows the public service we provide free of charge.

Elise from Facebook Comments.
January 24 at 6:21pm
Love your page, and appreciate that you tried to interpret that sometimes incoherent comment. The poster seems to lack both a sense of humor and a mastery of basic sentence structure. Keep doing what you do.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination