Red Fuzzy Bug of Southern Arizona
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 11:06 AM
Dear WTB: I live in Cochise County of southern Arizona. We had our first real rain of the monsoon yesterday. This morning I went to feed my horses and found these little red bugs everywhere. They seem to be burrowing out of the ground. They are small, but some bigger than others. Some have white spots and some are all red. I watched one help another burrow out!!!! So what are they and do they bite!
Deni
Saint David, Arizona

Velvet Mite

Velvet Mite

Hi Deni,
These are Velvet Mites in the family Trombidiidae.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are parasitic on insects.  Adults eat insect eggs.”  BugGuide also indicates that there are thousands of species.  The one with the white markings matches some images on BugGuide from the genus Dinothrombium which is reported from Texas and Arizona.  According to Charles Hogue in his landmark book Insects of the Los Angeles Basis, our local representatives from the family are called Angelitos.  Hogue writes:  “There is probably more than one species of giant red velvet mite in the deserts of southern California.  But at least one occasionally emerges in the dry eastern margins of the basin in large numbers, usually following a rain.  These creatures never fail to attract attention because of their large size (the body length of adults is about 1/4 to 5/8 in., or 5 to 8 mm) and brilliant crimson furry bodies.  The larvae are parasites of grasshoppers, and the adults are predators on subterranean termites.  The adults remain in the soil most of the year and spend only a few hours above grouns, probably to feast on their prey, which also respond to rains by emerging in numbers.  Little else is known of their biology.”  From what Hogue writes, it would seem that the rain triggered the emergence in Arizona as well.velvet_mite_dinothrombium_deni

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

western manitoba – beetles mating on columbine
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 9:03 PM
Hello there. Could you help me identify these lovely bugs mating on some columbine in our Riding Mountain National Park official gardens. I took the photo just today – it’s July 1st.
Their lower backs seem to be silver or transparent.
Thank you so much for your time.
M.M.
Clear Lake, Manitoba – Riding Mountain National Park

Mating Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs

Mating Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs

Dear M.M.,
These are not mating beetles, but mating Twice-Stabbed Stink Bugs, Cosmopepla lintneriana.  According to BugGuide, it is “Formerly Cosmopepla bimaculata , and still listed that way by most guides.”  BugGuide also indicates:  “Adults suck plant juices from many different plants: thistles, mints, goldenrods, ragweeds, columbines.”
The Columbine is our favorite flower, and we want to post your photo uncropped, but we are also cropping in closer to better showcase the Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs.

Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs Mating

Update:  No Broken Promise
Subject: I was asked to be in your book, was it ever printed?
November 14, 2014 1:37 am
Hi there.  Several years ago I submitted a photo of two shield bugs mating on a clematis (in Manitoba), and in your id response you requested my photo for your book.  I provided you with my photo credit info.  I was never notified when it came out, and I’m wondering what happened?  Do the people featured get a free copy of the book at least, since we weren’t paid to be featured?
Thank you.
Signature: Maggie Mandarano

Subject: Sorry they were stink bugs, not shield bugs, and on columbine
November 14, 2014 1:49 am
Sorry, just found the original question I sent – got the bug and flower wrong, duh…
It was stink bugs, on a columbine.  Here’s the original header from the question.
western manitoba – beetles mating on columbine
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 9:03 PM
I hope I didnt come across as rude – that wasn’t my intention – just curious if my photo ever got printed.  Thank you kindly.
Signature: Maggie Mandarano

Dear Maggie,
Daniel’s book, The Curious World of Bugs, was indeed published in 2010, but a decision was made to opt out of using photographic illustrations like those in numerous guide books that are sold for identification purposes, and instead to use Nineteenth Century illustrations to give a more Victorian look to the book.  Our standard release on our submission form does indicate that WTB? can publish letters and submitted images on our site and any associated publications, and we did post your image of mating Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs, but the posting was online and not in print.

Larger than normal for Berkeley
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 4:39 PM
I’ve found the insects here in Berkeley to be generally fewer and less varied than where I grew up in rural Wisconsin. But a few weeks before I move back to the midwest this one turned up on my bedroom ceiling two nights ago. I’ve never before seen one in Berkeley. The body is 1 inch long and 0.25″ inch wide, and each antenna is 1.25″. I kept her occupied with a raisin during the photoshoot, which she seemed to appreciate. What is it?
Finally something large and not a crane fly
Berkeley, CA

Eucalyptus Borer

Eucalyptus Borer

Hi Finally,
This is a Eucalyptus Borer in the genus Phoracantha. There are two species with the same common name. Phoracantha recurva and Phoracantha semipunctata were both accidentally introduced from Australia. The two species are quite similar and we don’t feel qualified to determine which of the species you have found. The larvae bore in the wood of eucalyptus trees.

Update:
Thank you for the response!  Between those two, it seems to be clearly a Phoracantha semipunctata, based on the description and P. semipunctata photo here…
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7425.html
…and the P. recurva photo here…
http://www.barkbeetles.org/browse/subject.cfm?SUB=12355
— Finally

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

unknown insect spotted in the flower bed
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM
I snapped this photo of a strange insect in my flower bed. I have no idea what it is. This was the one and only time I’ve seen it. The paddle like front legs are interesting. You may have to zoom in a bit on the photo.
Mr. Rob
Eastern NC nearFayetteville

Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

Dear Mr. Rob,
You have photographed a Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus Phymata.  Ambush Bugs were originally  in their own family, but they have recently been reclassified as Assassin Bugs in the family Reduviidae, and the Ambush Bugs subfamily Phymatinae.  Ambush Bugs often wait on flowers in order to ambush and eat pollinating insects.

Water Bug from Mendocino
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 8:09 AM
Hi WTB. I am easily freaked out by bugs but have a strange obsession with your site, as I came across it trying to identify a beetle. I live in Mendocino and was excited to see that you came here, I even joked to my boyfriend I was going to track you down and make you look at my pictures! Anyway the bug I want identified today was found in the Noyo River last week. I’ve posted two different pictures- It seemed to me it was the same bug, but at different stages in it’s life…? The first pic. is when we put it on land. It was narrow at the butt, wider at the head, with a big whole that it “went into” when it was bugged with. They both had little stones all over their body. The second picture looked the same, but it had things shooting from its backside. It loo ked like its defense would be to look like some kind of tree fallings. They were found in shallow water on the rocks and once we started looking for them they were everywhere!
P.S. I see easily 25 banana slugs a day if you decide that you would in fact like a pic. of one!
katebell
Northern California- on the Coast

Caddisfly Larva

Caddisfly Larva

Dear katebell,
These are Caddisfly Larvae. Caddisflies are in the order Trichoptera. Caddisfly Larvae create homes for themselves by cementing stones, twigs, shells and other debris. The larvae are called Caseworms. According to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin: “The shape and method of construction of the case is characteristic for a species or group of species, and the variety in these ‘mobile homes’ is extensive: they may be purse-shaped, tubular, curved, snail-shaped, or rectangular, and there are even types with sticks set in an ascending square framework that mimics a little log cabin.” There is a picture in Hogue’s book that looks very similar to your examples and it is listed as being in the genus Hesperophylax.  We were in the Mendocino Woodlands campground near Fort Bragg and we are sad you did not try to find us.  We would love a Banana Slug image.  Please title the letter Banana Slug.

Caddisfly Larva

Caddisfly Larva

Lefty's hatchlings;  30 June 2009

Lefty's hatchlings; 30 June 2009

Wednesday, 1 July 2009, 9:33AM
Upon returning from Mendocino Sunday night, I quickly noticed that Lefty and Digitalis had spawned in my absence and the eggs had hatched. The spawning was no surprise. Digitalis was filling with eggs and both fish had breeding tubes extended when I left on Friday morning. Wrigglers were attached to the Amazon Sword leaf near the window on the left side of the aquarium. The next day, the fry were moved across the aquarium and then back again. Tuesday morning, I shot some photos through the water surface and Tuesday evening, the fry were still on the leaf, though on both sides of the surface. This morning, at first light, the fry were still there, but now, three hours later, with camera in hand, I cannot find them. The parents have moved them again. I expect they will be free swimming in a day or two.

Update: Friday, 3 July 2009, 7:58 PM
Today the fry became free swimming and the parents are quite defensive.  Yesterday was a busy day for the parents.  The fry were moved several times, and eventually were returned to the first leaf I photographed them on.  The eyes on the hatchling wrigglers are much more pronounced now.

Wrigglers 2 July 2009

Wrigglers 2 July 2009

Both parents are very protective, splashing me whenever I get close with the camera or with food.

Digitalis gets defensive

Digitalis gets defensive