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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: what’s this bug?
Location: Hastings, Michigan
June 4, 2014 12:44 am
When i found this bug a friend told me about your site. Looks cool!
Signature: this bug jumped up on my lap in Hastings, MO

Stonefly

Stonefly

This is a Stonefly in the order Plectoptera.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange bug.
Location: Deer Park, Washington
May 18, 2014 9:35 pm
I personally have not seen this bug, but I just recently had a friend describe how his family and himself found a ton of these hanging out by their parents house in Clayton Washington. He described it to me, saying that he was actually quite a bit scared about it. While I thought his mysterious bug was interesting, I more or less brushed it off. Then this afternoon, I had several friends talk about some weird bug they saw and one actually posted a picture of it (picture I included). I know absolutely nothing about the bug other than it’s in eastern Washington, was chilling outside, and that it’s freakier than a Parlomont bassline. Help would be much appreciated.
Signature: Eric

What's That Exuvia

Stonefly Exuvia

Hi Eric,
This is the exuvia or cast off exoskeleton of an insect that has undergone metamorphosis.  We believe it is a member of the order Orthoptera.  We will do additional research and attempt to identify the species.

Update
Thanks to several comments, we realize that this is actually a Stonefly Exuvia from the order Plecoptera.  Immature Stoneflies or Naiads are aquatic insects that mature into winged Stoneflies, so the exuvia are generally found in close proximity to bodies of water.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown bug type
Location: Danvile, pA
May 5, 2014 10:54 am
I’m very interested on what type of bug this is. I have never run across one like this… Photo was taken 5/5/14 around 9 am. I’m not sure if it native to the area or possibly an invasive species.
Signature: Douglas E Fessler

Salmonfly

Salmonfly

Hi Douglas,
This is a Giant Stonefly or Salmonfly in the genus
Pteronarcys, and it is a native species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: They’re everywhere!
Location: Central PA
March 28, 2014 12:41 pm
There are at least a dozen of these bugs hanging out on my front porch.. and they love to hitch a ride indoors by falling/jumping onto my clothes as I walk through the door. What are they?
Signature: Randi

Stonefly

Winter Stonefly

Dear Randi,
This is a Stonefly in the order Plecoptera, and it looks very similar to the Winter Stonefly in the genus
Taeniopteryx that is pictured on BugGuide.  The nymphs are aquatic, and according to BugGuide:  “nymphs of most spp. develop in cool, well-oxygenated water and do not tolerate pollution; therefore, their presence is an indicator of good water quality, and their absence in areas where they previously occurred may indicate pollution,” so you must have clean, unpolluted water nearby.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Huh?
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
February 9, 2014 11:48 am
Hi there,
In April 2013, we were sitting under a bridge by the river, when we noticed these guys all over the wall. They were about 5 cm long and didn’t move much (we however found we moved very quickly).
Thanks!
Signature: with love, confusion and the heebie jeebies

Stonefly Exuvia

Stonefly Exuvia

This is the exuvia of a Stonefly, a flying insect that spends its immature development as an aquatic naiad.  When maturity approaches, the naiad leaves the water and molts for the last time, emerging as a winged adult Stonefly.  Here is an image of a similar looking Stonefly Exuvia from BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination