Caterpillar (6 legs?), Brown, Spikey, Gum forest, Australia
Sun, May 3, 2009 at 5:07 AM
Hi There, we found this squad of unknown bugs when walking in a Gum (Eucalyptus) forest (Dandenong Ranges National Park) at Fern Tree Gully in Victoria, Australia. They were moving uphill as a unit, flicking their tails up when approached. They were on a gravel path and are about 60mm long. We’d love to know what they were. Thanks!
Nick and Kathryn
Fern Tree Gully, Victoria , Australia

Sawfly Larvae

Sawfly Larvae

Hi Nick and Kathryn,
Though they look like caterpillars, these are actually the larvae of Sawflies. Sawflies are Hymenopterans, the order that includes ants, bees and wasps. Often Sawfly Larvae feed in groups. We are uncertain of your exact species, and perhaps a reader will provide that answer. We are linking to the Brisbane Insect Sawfly page as well.

Sawfly Larvae

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for your prompt reply.  We’ll keep checking back in case someone can identify their exact species so we could find what the adult would look like.  In the mean time, once we knew they were sawflies we were able to find other references, and the alternative name of ‘spitfires’.  This site has what looks to be the same/similar species:  http://australian-insects.com/lepidoptera/none/sawfly.html
Thanks again for running the site,
Nick and Kathryn

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant Hornet
Sun, May 3, 2009 at 6:15 AM
Hello again,
Thanks to your wonderful site and also to Jeff & Helen West of Winchester, VA (9/24/06), this beauty was easily identified as a Giant Hornet, Vespa crabro germana.  Maybe these photos will help the next person looking to identify a specimen.
It flew in the house last night, upset a guest, but didn’t make it to morning…found in this condition on the floor.
Many thanks Daniel,
R.G. Marion
Great Smoky Mountains, TN

Giant Hornet

Giant Hornet

Hi R.G.,
Thanks for sending us your photos of the Giant Hornet or European Hornet.  We recently posted a photo of a living specimen, and the inclusion of the ruler for scale should be quite helpful to our readership.

primitive looking spider
Sat, May 2, 2009 at 10:58 PM
I live in the middle of a woodland forest in Mendocino County, northern California. All types of bugs find their way in my house. I promptly put them in a jar and take them back into the woods, mostly beautiful wolf spiders. But this certain spider I’ve never seen before (please see photo). It looks primitive to me, almost crab-like. Can you identify it? That would be amazing! I’d love to know what it is.
nat
Mendocino County, CA, woodlands

Crab Spider

Crab Spider

Hi Nat,
This is most certainly a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae, and we believe it is a Bark Crab Spider in the genus Bassaniana based on a photo posted to BugGuide.  BugGuide does not list this genus in California, but the range is quite great, from coast to coast.  Like Wolf Spiders, Crab Spiders do not build snare webs.  Rather they are hunting spiders.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Harpaphe millipede?
Sat, May 2, 2009 at 12:02 PM
Dear Identifiers of Insects,
This time I’m writing about a huge millipede that keeps attempting to cross a heavily-trafficked footpath; I’ve rescued him twice, and am wondering what type he is. Sort of looks like a picture I found online of ”black and yellow millipede” or ”Harpaphe” genus, but the legs on that were black, not yellow.
This fella is a good three inches long, and rather hefty as far as bugs go! Certainly the largest millipede I’ve ever seen.
Thanks! Hope you find the photo interesting!
R. Thompson

Yellow Spotted Millipede

Yellow Spotted Millipede

Dear R. Thompson,
Your submission to our website did not use our newly formatted form that requests a location, so we have no idea where this Millipede was found. This also means that you have written to our site before.
We hope you write back with your location. We believe you are correct that your Yellow Spotted Millipede is in the genus Harpaphe, probably Harpaphe haydeniana, The following remarks are according to BugGuide: “this particular millipede secretes a dark fluid that has an odor similar to the almond extract used in cooking. Apparently this is a defensive manuveur. Millipedes also curl up in tight coils when threatened. (1)  Caution: Many millipedes with bright color patterns secrete a compound containing cyanide. Wash your hands after handling them and do not allow children to pick them up.  ‘Millipedes are entirely non-toxic to humans and can be picked up by hand. Some secretions discolor the skin, but this wears away in a few days without lasting effect. Some large, cylindrical, tropical species squirt their defensive secretions up to a half meter (2-3 feet) and can blind chickens and dogs. Their fluids are painful if they get into the eyes, and persons working with tropical millipedes should be suitably cautious.’ ~Rowland Shelley  Harpaphe is in the tribe Xystodesmini.”

Sorry about that – the location of the millipede is Chapel Hill, NC.
I didn’t pick him up with my hands, but let him crawl onto a stick.
Thanks for the info!

Excellent.  An eastern species is Sigmoria trimaculata, and it has yellow legs.  You can also see photos of this species posted to BugGuide and there are reports of representatives of the genus from North Carolina.



 

black flying heart-shaped bugs everywhere!
Sat, May 2, 2009 at 5:13 AM
I live in Northwest Ohio. I have had a black heart-shaped bug flying around my house for about 2 or 3 months. I can’t figure out where they are coming from. They seem to like water. They hang around in our bathrooms a lot. I have pictures of them on a recently wet towel. When you kill them, they leave a black residue almost like black dust on your wall. I have not had them bite but they will fly close to people. They also like lamps and light bulbs when it gets dark out. They are about half the size of a common house fly. Please help, I need to get rid of them!!!
Maranda
Northwest Ohio

Bathroom Fly

Bathroom Fly

Hi Maranda,
You have Bathroom Flies. The larvae of the Bathroom Fly live in the sludge of your sink and tub drains. If you want to get rid of them, you need to have the pipes cleaned.

Bug found on Lemon Tree in AZ
May 2, 2009 at 12:57 PM
We found this bug on a leaf of our Lemon Tree. What is it? Is it harmful to humans? Is it harmful to the tree or other vegetation? Do we need to spray the tree or other plants?
Stan
SW – Scottsdale, AZ

Orange Dog

Orange Dog

Hi Stan,
This is the caterpillar of a beautiful butterfly, the Giant Swallowtail.  The caterpillar is commonly called an Orange Dog and it mimics bird droppings to avoid getting eaten.  The caterpillar will eat some leaves, but will do no lasting harm to your tree.  You should not spray your tree because of the Orange Dog.  The Orange Dog is not harmful to humans, but if you provoke it, you will be treated to seeing the osmetrium emerge.  The osmetrium is a scent organ resembling two orange horns and it gives off an odor to repel its attacker.