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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hundreds of American Carrion Beetles freed!
Location: Beaver Bay, MN
September 6, 2014 7:40 pm
Hi, guys! I know it’s been years since I’ve submitted anything but I’ve never forgotten you. I now live in Minnesota and yesterday got to visit Beaver Bay, way north of Duluth. I came across a geodetic marker that was open, and the pipe was full of American Carrion Beetles that had fallen in and got stuck. I put a stick in there and it did not take long for them to find their way out. They all stopped for a quick romantic moment…really, they were. It sure looked like it anyway. Within I’d say, 15 minutes, they had all flown away and all that was left were a few ground beetles.
I’m sending an image of them on the stick, and will also send one of them in the pipe as there is I think, a rare Burying Beetle in there, too.
Much love!
Signature: Joanne, now living in Minnesota (previously Darien and Romeoville, Illinois)

American Carrion Beetles and a Burying Beetle in Geocache

American Carrion Beetles and a Burying Beetle in Geodetic Marker

Subject: A possible American Burrying Beetle
Location: Beaver Bay, MN
September 6, 2014 7:55 pm
As far as I can tell, what I’ve found online shows this beetle to be rare up here. It is lacking the distinctive orange or red dot on the pronotum so it might just be a regular burying beetle.
It is in an open geodetic marker with a billion carrion beetles. I helped them all get out. Will send a note to your comments section and tell you the story.
Signature: Joanne, now living in Minnesota (previously Darien and Romeoville, Illinois)

Carrion Beetles freed from Geodetic Marker

Carrion Beetles freed from Geodetic Marker

Subject: Intersting Carrion Beetle story
September 6, 2014 8:15 pm
Hi Dan and Lisa!  I hope you guys are doing well!  It’s been a few years since I’ve posted here, I know, but I’ve never forgotten about you and still check in on occasion.
Here’s my story of the great American Carrion Beetle Rescue.
Yesterday I was in Beaver Bay, MN (north of Duluth) and in my wanderings I found this geodetic marker that was open. As I peered into it my first thought was “Oh, S***, bees.  I’m gonna die now.”  I slowly backed away and went and got a friend to show her cuz I figured if I’m gonna die she’s going with.  She looked in there and said “No! It’s beetles!”  And so they were.  Hundreds of beetles stuck in this hole in the ground.  They were all crawling on each other.  It was just this constant boiling movement of these poor things.  So I went and found a stick and put it in there.  It took maybe 10 seconds before they started climbing out and maybe 15 seconds before the newly freed beetles started to have what looked like celebratory sex.  They one by one, they flew away.  Within about 15 minutes they were gone, save for a few ground beetles.  It was a truly amazing sight.  I couldn’t get back to close the lid once everyone was free, but the stick is stuck in there pretty good so if any future wandering  bugs should fall in they can still get out.
I also saw a ton of grasshoppers but thankfully I have no chiggers.  Or ticks.  Gah.  Ticks.
Take care and thanks for providing this awesome service for all these years!
Joanne Pleskovich
Anoka, MN
Signature: Joanne Pleskovich

American Burying Beetle (from our archives)

American Burying Beetle (from our archives)

Dear Joanne,
How nice to hear from you after all these years.  The Burying Beetle found amongst all the American Carrion Beetles is NOT an American Burying Beetle, but it is another Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus
Nicrophorus.  To the best of our knowledge, the American Burying Beetle is the only rare and endangered species in the genus.  The American Burying Beetle can be distinguished from other members of the genus, according to BugGuide, because the “orange/red pronotal disc is distinctive.”  We only have a single image of an American Burying Beetle in our archives, and we located that image to add to this posting.  Your story is fascinating, and because of your kindness toward all those trapped American Carrion Beetles and the single Burying Beetle, we are awarding you the Bug Humanitarian Award and featuring this posting.  Additionally, we have combined your three submissions into a single posting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: So unusual
Location: Central PA
August 30, 2014 11:04 am
I have never seen this before but such unusual color and pattern. Quite lovely.
Taken 8-29-14 in Central, PA not far from a lake in early afternoon.
It was about 3 inches long.
Signature: Abby

Hooded Owlet Caterpillar

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Dear Abby,
This is a Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar in the genus
Cucullia, and after browsing through the species represented on BugGuide, we believe the closest match is to Cucullia omissa, which according to BugGuide goes by the common names Omitted Cucullia or Alberta Falconer.  This image from BugGuide depicts an individual with coloration that matches the Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars in your image, though other examples indicate the coloration of the caterpillar may be variable.  Another strong possibility is the Gray Hooded Owlet, Cucullia florea, and there are several images on BugGuide with a similar color pattern including this one from Maine and this one from New Hampshire.  It might even be a Goldenrod Hooded Owlet, Cucullia asteroides, based on the coloration of this individual from BugGuide.  There are also some individuals pictured on BugGuide that look like your caterpillars that are not identified to the species level.  The genus as a whole is described on BugGuide as:  “Adult: mostly drab gray moths with some fine black streaking; forewing long and narrow; tuft of hairs projecting from thorax forms a large pointed hood over the head, giving adults a streamlined “aerodynamic” appearance (a distinctive feature).  Larva: usually smooth (hairless) and very colorful, with mixed patterns of spots, stripes, and/or patches of mostly yellow, red, green, blue, and black – the range of variation between species is too complex to describe in general terms.”  BugGuide also notes:  “larvae feed on flowers of composite plants (family Asteraceae) and leaves of several trees – varies according to species,” and the individuals in your images appear to be feeding on a plant in the Asteraceae family.  Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars are among the most beautiful caterpillars we have represented on our site, and for that reason we have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for September 2014.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Epic bug battle
Location: Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness, Northeastern Oregon, in a river canyon
August 14, 2014 6:56 pm
Dear bugman,
In late April of 2009, my best friend and I went backpacking in the remote Wenaha-Tucannon wilderness of Northeastern Oregon, along the Wenaha river canyon. It was a spectacular trip made even more spectacular when it ended in near disaster; during a flash flood, my backpack with all of its photographic equipment was swept away and we narrowly escaped the same fate. Remarkably, the backpack was found one month ago by some hikers who pulled out one of the photo memory cards and brought it to the local sheriff, who tracked me down on facebook.
ANYWAYS, during the intervening 5 years, one of our greatest regrets about losing the photos was that we had witnessed an epic struggle between the largest spider I’ve ever seen in Oregon, and an enormous (for Oregon) long, cylindrical fly with a bright orange head that I had never seen before and couldn’t easily identify with online searches. We doubted anyone would ever believe how completely legendary and unbelievable the struggle was as these two titans locked themselves into a dance of death for at least 10 minutes. They did not care that we were there one bit. The battle was too fierce. We were able to get right up next to them with cameras and take photos….. and now we finally have those photos back! Unfortunately, my good camera with a macro lens was permanently lost, so the photos we have are only ‘decent,’ but I think they will work. I’ll be forever grateful if you can help give even more life to this newly revived fabled cha pter of my life by identifying these two mighty contestants.
Thanks so much,
John Felder
P.S. If it helps, I also have a low quality video – no fine details in focus but it give a better sense of the size because of the movement that’s visible.
Signature: John Felder

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Dear John,
If forced to choose which we are more impressed with, your amazing images or your fantastic story, we are going to have to go with the story, which is why we are featuring this posting on our scrolling feature bar.  The fact that you witnessed this “Epic Bug Battle” and then lost the images and then reclaimed the images after five years is truly an amazing story worth relaying.  The spider is a Wolf Spider in the family Lycosidae, and based on the size and eye arrangement (see BugGuide) we believe it is in the genus
Hogna.  The Carolina Wolf Spider, Hogna carolinensis, is found in Oregon, and you can see images of it on BugGuide which states:  “Considered to be the largest wolf spider in North America.” The Carolina Wolf Spider is also represented on the Spiders.Us site which states:  “This species is uncommon in the Pacific Northwest, but we have included those states in our range listing because it is still possible to find them there.”  We are going to check with spider expert Mandy Howe to get her opinion on the species.  The prey is a Giant Stonefly in the genus Pteronarcys, and it is most likely the California SalmonflyPteronarcys californica.  Here is an image from BugGuide.  One interesting note is that this sighting obviously occurred near the river, which is the correct habitat for the California Salmonfly, however, Spiders.Us indicates of the Carolina Wolf Spider:  “This spider is typically found in arid habitats such as deserts, prairies, glades, and open fields and pastures.”  Thanks again for providing your fascinating story for the entertainment and awe of our readership.  On a final note, we really hope we hear back from Mandy regarding the identity of this Wolf Spider because it may represent and new or little documented species as it was observed in such a remote location.

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Hi Eric,
This is a truly amazing story with some wonderful images.  I’m not certain how good you are with Spiders, but since you lived in Oregon, I am hoping you can provide some input.  Can you confirm or correct the identity of this Wolf Spider:  Carolina Wolf Spider or other???  I have also contacted Mandy Howe.
thanks
Daniel

Eric Eaton Disagrees
Hi, Daniel:
Definitely “other.”  I’m not even sure there are any recent records of the Carolina Wolf Spider from Oregon.  Hopefully Mandy can put it to genus.
Eric

Ed. Note:  We are guessing that Eric agrees that this is a Wolf Spider, but not that it is a Carolina Wolf Spider.

Wow!  Thanks so much!!!!
I found the salmonfly online shortly after I submitted the photo and then I felt guilty for potentially wasting your time, so I’m glad you liked it!!!
A couple of things that add up based on what you’ve told me:
1) the habitat for Hogna Carolinensis:  the area around the Wenaha river is usually quite arid in terms of ambient humidity throughout the year and probably rainfall as well.  It’s the type of canyon that’s covered in dry brown grasses, rocks, and pine trees in the gulches but not on the exposed ridges.  In spring, the river swells from the melting snowfall of winter in the mountains, but rain is usually fairly sparse. EXCEPT for the week we were there, when it rained almost nonstop, causing the flood conditions and raising the river to probably historic levels.  So I think that if Hogna Carolinensis likes arid conditions, it probably likes the Wenaha area.
2). From what I’ve read, emergence of salmonfly larvae from the water tends to occur when rivers are at peak or rapid flow, which was definitely the case at the time we were there, further confirming the identity of the salmonfly.
I am going to send you a link to the (shoddy) video I have. Quality is poor but you can see their movements as they battle. Very compelling.
The hikers who found my pack were unable to open the rusted body of my metal dSLR to remove the memory card, so we unfortunately only have the lower quality images that my friend took with his plastic lower-megapixel point and shoot. Otherwise, we would have glorious, high definition, macro lens shots and video, but at least we have something.
Thanks again for the help and for featuring the story. You guys are great. I’ll send a link to the video when I get home.
Best,
John

Here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iQSxBXFy6c
Cheers,
John

Thanks for the update John.  We were under the impression that the images you sent were from the card retrieved from the missing camera.  Your most recent email indicates that you were always in the possession of the images.  Do you by chance have a dorsal view looking down on the top of the spider?

No no, your initial impression was correct.  I only just got the images this week after not having them for 5 years.
What I was attempting to convey is that there were two cameras in the missing backpack and the hikers who found it only retrieved the memory card from one of the cameras, which happened to be the poorer quality one.  If they had been able to get the images out of the other camera (they didn’t because it was rusted shut and they couldn’t get the memory card out and didn’t want to carry out the entire camera), we would have been dealing with better quality images.  That’s all.  The story, as it is posted on your website, is completely accurate.
Here are the closest I have to a dorsal view (focus not great):
John

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Thanks for the clarification.  Bummer:  Too bad they didn’t bust the camera body to get the memory card.  Thanks for providing the dorsal view.  We wanted to be able to show the markings on the carapace.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Very large bee insect
Location: Cumming, ga
August 9, 2014 4:00 pm
Hello,
The attached picture looks like a very large bee, but it has long legs, flies, has a furry ruff around it’s neck and was on my green car side view mirror the other day. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Signature: Marisa

Red Footed Cannibalflies

Red Footed Cannibalflies

Hi Marisa,
This is the fourth image we are posting today of a Red Footed Cannibalfly, a large predatory Robber Fly, including one image of a mating pair of Red Footed Cannibalflies.
  Add to that two images of Hanging Thieves, another type of large Robber Fly, and that makes a total of six Robber Flies posted today.  We are declaring today the Day of the Robber Flies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: They are devouring my figs!
Location: San Diego County, CA
August 5, 2014 12:15 pm
Dear Bugman
My young fig tree was going to have a big crop of figs – until these guys arrived! We live on 3 acres in northern San Diego County, CA, mild weather, etc.
I have spent HOURS looking online, but still haven’t found anything quite like them. I don’t think they are Japanese beetles, but that’s as close as I can come. I believe that they attack fruit that has had a bird peck at it, but once that happens, they are voracious.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for your time,
Signature: Kathy

African Painted Bugs eat Figs!!!

African Painted Bugs eat Figs!!!

Hi Kathy,
When we read your subject line and saw the title of your digital image “BIG beetles”
, we thought for certain we were going to be responding that you have Figeaters, which fly in Southern California in August.  These are not big beetles, but rather, small Stink Bugs, African Painted Bugs, Bagrada hilaris, to be more exact.  We first encounted African Painted Bugs in our own garden in 2009 on kale and collard greens, and we learned at the time that this was a new invasive, exotic species that was just discovered in Southern California.  Several months later we predicted that:  “If there are no known predators, the African Painted Bugs might become a very serious agricultural pest in California.”  Most literature we read indicated that the African Painted Bugs prefer members of the cabbage family, including the kale and collard greens in our garden, but in 2010, we received a report from Arizona that African Painted Bugs were found on figs.  In 2011, the African Painted Bugs made the Los Angeles Times.  You should be able to locate significantly more information on the AFrican Painted Bugs now than we found back in 2009, and we still maintain that this is probably the biggest threat to agriculture in Southern California in recent memory.  African Painted Bugs have also been reported on citrus on the island of Cyprus.  We rid our garden of African Painted Bug by ripping out the kale and collard greens, but sadly, that is not an option with your fig tree.  Good luck with this scourge.

Yikes!
Daniel, I fear that you are dead on in your diagnosis!  My “BIG bugs” tag referred to the size of the photo: I had significantly enlarged it.  Now that I have a name I will do more research.  Thank you soooo much!
Gratefully,
Kathy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination