LARGE PREHISTORIC BUG WITH SAWBLADE HEAD!!!!!
Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 2:29 PM
Hello!! I live in Western PA, right outside of Pittsburgh and I happened to look out of my window and saw this HUGE bug walking acrossed my fiance’s roof of his truck. So we ran outside to get a closer look and he was able to snap the attached photos. It is brown, but marked like a leaf, and its backside actually curved up on the sides like an old Cadillac!! But the most interesting part was the top of his head actually resembled a tiny circular sawblade sticking out of it!! It is 5 days before Halloween and that was just too freaky for me!! lol…..can you please help us identify this? We have checked all over the internet!
Spooked in PGH
Pittsburgh PA
Hi, I’m sorry….I recently wrote to you regarding a large bug on our truck roof. i forgot to tell you that this thing was close to 2 inches long. It was not small bug!!! Thanks! Didn’t know if that would help you or not!!

Wheel Bug

Wheel Bug

Hi Spooked,
Prehistoric is a word that is frequently used by our readers to describe a Wheel Bug. Your letter is so delightful and descriptive. The Wheel Bug, Arilus cristatus, is one of the largest and most distinctive looking of the Assassin Bugs. They are predators and they are beneficial in the garden, but like all Assassin Bugs, they are capable of biting a hapless human and the bite is painful. You can read more about the Wheel Bug on BugGuide. It is the time of the month to select our Bug of the Month for November, and since we will be leaving town for a few days before the first, we have decided to select our winner from the pool of likely candidates early. Congratulations, your image of a Wheel Bug will be prominently featured at the top of our homepage for the entire month of November. Speaking of candidates, it seems we can’t rip our eyes from the news coverage lately, and your state has been so prominently featured. We can’t help but wonder if you have been cheering and waving signs behind one of the presidential or vice presidential hopefuls.

No idea
Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM
about 2 inches long found in Peru Indiana on oct 25
t martin
Indiana , USA

Wheel Bug

Wheel Bug

Dear T,
Your letter doesn’t have much information, but we are adding your photo to our Bug of the Month for November 2008, the Wheel Bug.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Orange Furry Moth
Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 7:35 PM
I saw this moth on my kitchen window at night in Jocotepec, JAL, Mexico. He was about one inch long. The first photo is him on a piece of white paper and the second photo is him on a piece of glass, shot from the other side.
David Brownell
Jocotepec, JAL, Mexico

Unknown Mexican Moth

Unknown Mexican Moth

Hi David,
Your photos are spectacular. We don’t know what this moth is and we don’t have time to research at the moment as we must dash off to work, but we are posting and hope someone can provide an answer. Here is what Julian Donahue, our neighbor the lepidopterist had to say: “It’s in the family Dalceridae. The expert on the group is Dr. Scott Miller at the Smithsonian Institution. You might want to send him the photo to get a species name. Julian”
With that information, we located a mounted specimen of Acraga coa that looks promising, but the mounted specimen lacks all the charm of David’s photographs.

Unknown Mexican Moth

Unknown Mexican Moth

Spectacular picture!  It is a Dalceridae, and the species is Acraga coa.
Dr. Scott Miller
The Smithsonian Institution

big ant in line among smaller ants?
Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 10:03 PM
Hi,
Every summer ants find their way into my house, and I’ve noticed for the past couple of years that there’s often a single larger/longer ant among the line of regular smaller ones. Always just one though. Who is this guy & what does he do? Usually the bigger ant is about 2-3 times the size of the others with an extra long abdomen, and moves slower; the one in the pictures from this year has a shorter/more proportional abdomen than others I’ve seen, moved faster, and behaved differently than other “big brother” ants in the past — instead of lumbering along in line with the others back and forth, this year’s walked for a bit then stayed in one spot, where the smaller ants congregated around it every so often.
In the past, the bigger ant hasn’t behaved any differently than the others, except for moving slower.
I couldn’t find any information on the internet about this (maybe because I wasn’t sure what to search for!) so any info would be appreciated. I just want to know why it’s so huge!
thanks!
michele.
los angeles, ca

Argentine Ants

Argentine Ants

Hi Michele,
We have always called these Argentine Sugar Ants, but Charles Hogue calls them simply Argentine Ants in his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin. We have been meaning to photograph our own home invasions, but never seem to have a camera ready when 100s of ants discover bits of food in the sink or the cat food. We can honestly say that no species of insect annoys us more than the Argentine Ant, Iridomyrmex humilis or Linepithema humile according to BugGuide, and may one day post some of our anecdotes about various funny home invasions in years past. Here is what Hogue writes about this species. “This is our most common ant, the little blackish species (its length is 1/8 in., or 3 mm) that invades our homes and yards in search of food and water. Abundant in urban areas, it develops to prodigious numbers, and single colonies may harbor thousands of workers. It often becomes particularly noxious at the onset of cool weather in the fall, when colonies converge and move to sheltered, warmer quarters under homes, and foraging columns begin to seek food indoors. The Argentine Ant is, as its name suggests, native to South America (Argentina and Brazil), and it is an undesirable alien in our country. It was apparently introduced into New Orleans before 1891 in coffee shipments from Brazil, and it has since spread rapidly over much of the United States. The species is one of the most presistent and troublesome of all our house-infesting ants. Argentine Ant workers seek out and feed on almost every type of food, although they are especially fond of sweets. Making themselves most objectionable, the ants invade the house through minute crevices and cracks — filing along baseboards, across sinks, and over walls and tables in endless trails. they also have another undesirable habit: by protecting and tending scale insects and aphids, worker ants foster these injurious garden pests. Shallow nests are made in the ground, often under rocks or wood; the galleries extend only to depths of 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 cm) below the surface. there may be a number of queens in a single colony. The Argentine Ant is a highly competitive species and is quick to exterminate other species of ants, including natives, in territory that it has just invaded this ant has no sting; its bite is feeble but can be felt.” Many ants have a caste system with soldier ants. We are uncertain if the Argentine Ant has soldier ants. Perhaps a reader can provide that information. We suspect, as this is the onset of cooler weather, your larger ant may be a queen in search of a new home. We have noticed a similar situation with a single larger ant in our own home invasions. BugGuide supports that with this information: “Winged queens mate once with a winged male, after which they can continuously produce fertile eggs for as long as 10 years- until death. Unlike most ants, several productive queens of this species can share the same colony, with one or more leaving with some of the workers to form a new colony when it gets crowded (this is known as ‘budding’).”

Argentine Ants

Argentine Ants

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant Water Bug
Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 12:34 AM
Hi, love this site. I have one here I found in a small local pond, among other water insects. It appears to be a giant water bug. I have looked throughout the site and seen several varieties. It still has no wings, and surfaces to attach a bubble to its sternum before diving back down to the bottom of the aquarium. I am feeding it moths and flies, observed it and other beetles feeding on floating bee remains. Will it eventually crawl out and scare the fiber out of my girlfriend?
thank you
Lanz
Soledad, CA

immature Giant Water Bug

immature Giant Water Bug

Hi Lanz,
There are three genera of Giant Water Bugs and all three grow wings as adults and can fly.  When it matures, your specimen may decide your aquarium doesn’t suit its needs and it may try to fly away.  Your specimen is either Abedus or Belostoma.  We will try to get some assistance on which genus your specimen belongs to.

immature Giant Water Bug

immature Giant Water Bug

Whip Spider
Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM
My friends came over for breakfast the other day and while I was talking I noticed a little spider hanging off the side of a plant pot. I told my friends but as soon as they turned around the spider coiled up its legs and looked exactly like a small stick. They thought I was mad! But eventually they saw it move and became very interested in the little fellow.
It’s about 2 to 3 cm long and I think it looks a little bit like a miniature face-hugger form the film Alien!
Today I searched online and discovered that it is a whip spider. I know that the pictures I took of it aren’t too amazing, but it was so difficult to get a picture of it with its legs spread out that I thought images of them un-camouflaged would be quite rare.
Bonnie
Melbourne, Australia

Whip Spider

Whip Spider

Hi Bonnie,
Thanks for contributing photos of the fascinating Whip Spider, Argyrodes colubrinus, to our website archives.  We are linking to the Australian Museum Online website that states:  “Whip Spiders get their name from their elongate, worm-like body shape – up to about 20 mm long but only about 1 mm wide. They are common in forest habitats and can readily be seen in gardens on summer nights, suspended on delicate silk lines in spaces among shrubbery.
They specialise in feeding on wandering spiders, usually juveniles. The Whip Spider sits at the top of a few long silk threads that run downs below it among foliage. When a wandering spider walks up one of these handy silk `bridges’ it gets a nasty surprise. The waiting Whip Spider uses toothed bristles on the end segment of the last leg to comb out swathes of entangling sticky silk from its spinnerets. These rapidly entangle the struggling victim so that it cannot escape. “

Whip Spider

Whip Spider

Butterfly ID?
Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 4:03 PM
I photographed this butterfly sunning on the deck by the pool in early Sept. At first it looks quite plain, but some of the detail is stunning! I guess I am going to have to invest in some good insect id books to go with my new camera!
Sara Edwards
NW Tennessee

Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye

Hi Sara,
This beautiful butterfly is known as the Common Buckeye.  We hope its human namesakes, all those Ohio voters in the Buckeye Swing State, get out to vote.