Orb Weaver with Skink Pt2
July 24, 2009
I sent two images earlier today and got one more of the same unknown orb weaver with her skink. By now he’s collapsing on himself from her nonstop feast. As my son said, “Cool. Spiders are like vampires!”
Resa in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

Uknown Spider Feasting on Lizard
July 24, 2009
Saw this unknown spider had caught a baby skink it its web last night. I tried to get a decent night shot as the spider was biting the skink’s tail. The poor little lizard was twisitng fruitlessly. This morning the spider had turned the now dead skink and was working on it’s face. My kids enjoyed seeing the circle of life in action. I hope you enjoy the shots as well.
Resa in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

Hi Resa,
We are thrilled to be able to post your awesome documentation, though we have a certain fondness for lizards.  We do really hate those television commercials with the animated gecko though.   Your spider is not an Orbweaver, but rather a Cobweb Spider.  We believe it is the highly variable Common House Spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum, based on images posted to BugGuide.  Spiders are able to incapacitate much larger prey when the prey becomes entangled in the web.  We have photos in our archive of a Golden Orb Weaver feeding on a Hummingbird and we have linked to an image of a Golden Silk Spider eating a Finch.

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Can you identify this moth?
July 24, 2009
Dear Bugman,
My Mother who lives in Barnum, MN (located in-between Duluth and Hinckley on I-35) sent me this photo Thursday night. She lives in a very small town of about 300 people she lives on a private lake in a wooded area. The moth was hanging out on the garage at about 9:30 at night. I have spent all day Friday trying to identify it. I am having no luck. My children and I walked up to our library located a block away and got 4 butterfly/moth identification books…but this moth is still a mystery to us. I have looked in your postings of moths and can’t seem to find one that looks like it. I am now obsessed in trying to identify this moth. Can you please help me out? Thanks so much for your time,
Heidi and Family
Central Minnesota

Harris's Three Spot

Harris's Three Spot

Dear Heidi and Family,
We were very concerned that you might be neglecting your family or job or both in an attempt to identify your Harris’s Three Spot, so we spared no amount of time trying to research the subject ourselves.  We located your Owlet Moth, the Harris’s Three Spot, Harrisimemna trisignata, on BugGuide, but there was not much information on the species which is found over much of the Eastern part of North America according to the data map on BugGuideLynne Scott’s Lepidoptera site has some information on the species including that the caterpillars “have been reported to feed on a variety of trees and shrubs, including viburnum, lilac, ash, willow, winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and blueberry.

Hi,
Thanks so much for the reply.  The kids (ages 9 and 5) and I have enjoyed trying to find the Harris’s Three Spot (we’ll never forget it).  Actually we are having lots of fun identifying bugs in our yard this summer.  We live in Des Moines, IA and have watched several Cicada’s emerge and have also watched Monarch butterflies during metamorphism and have tagged them for the migration unfortunately none of our butterflies have been recovered.  We also have preying mantis and have fun finding out about them…we have lots of egg sacks on our chain link fence; of course they are all hatched now.  So this was a fun dayJ  I’m so glad you were able to identify it for us, hope it wasn’t too easy!  We love your web site and I have also shared it with their teachers at school (they go to a parochial school).  I’ll be sure to buy 3 copies of your book; one for our family, one for my parents and one for the library at school when it is published.
Thanks again so much for your time
Heidi, kids and Mom

Thanks for your kind response Heidi,
Since getting our new computer, we have been posting so many letters we have been neglecting the book, but we expect to delve into that full bore soon.

Shiny Olive-green 3-inch…Beetle?
July 23, 2009
I did not kill this bug!! He was lying on our bumper when we got out of our car at the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, New York (right by the water on Coney Island). We had driven up from the Washington, DC, area that day and I’m not sure how long he was on board. He was about three inches long and a shiny olive color. If you could just get me started I’m sure I could find him, but all my searches turn up metallic looking bugs, which he was not. Thanks you!!
Hawke
Brooklyn, NY, USA

Giant Black Water Beetle

Giant Black Water Beetle

Hi Hawke,
This is some species of Water Beetle, either a Water Scavenger in the family Hydrophilidae, or a Predaceous Diving Beetle in the family Dytiscidae.
According to BugGuide:  “Water scavengers have keeled sternum, come up for air head first. Diving beetles have unkeeled sternum, come up for air tail first.”  We are inclined to ID this as the Water Scavenger, Hydrophilus triangularis, which BugGuide describes as:  “Large, shiny black with olive tinge. Underside with prominent spine (prosternal process). Similar to the usually smaller H. (Dibolocelus) ovatus. H. triangluaris is more oblong, H. ovatus more oval. H. ovatus is more common southward.”  The common name is the Giant Black Water Beetle.

Confirmation from Eric Eaton
Daniel:
The giant black water beetle is indeed Hydrophilus triangularis.
Eric

Found this picture http://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/showimage/5301/ which sure looks like him.
Thanks!  I was stumped.
My husband says he saved him to put by the computer…  if he is intact I’ll try to take a better picture.  He was quite an impressive creature and I didn’t see any others on What’s That Bug.
Thanks!
Hawke

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Six legged reddish orange & black insect
July 23, 2009
I live in Southwest Louisiana. I have a small garden with cantaloupes in it. I have a bunch of nickle sized reddish orange & black six legged insects on the leaves. They don’t seem to be eating the leaves, but often are grouped together. I don’t know if they are doing good or harm, so I have not taken any action as far as pest control. I’ve looked all over the internet with no luck. Thank you for your help!
Amateur Gardner in LA
Southwest Louisiana

Leaf Bug Nymphs

Leaf Bug Nymphs

Dear Amateur Gardener,
After our initial short response (please don’t put us on blast for not giving you a complete response) we found a matching photo on BugGuide while researching information on Leptoglossus phyllopus, one of the Leaf Footed Bugs.  You live within the range map, so we believe you may have this species or a member of the genus.  Immature nymphs are often nearly impossible to properly identify unless they can be associated with the adults.
In quantities, these may damage some of your produce, especially if they begin to attack ripening tomatoes since they secrete a saliva that could damage the fruit.

Please I.D. this one
July 23, 2009
There are ten or more on my tomato plants.
Dear Noah
Aiken, SC USA

Leaf Footed Bug

Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Dear Noah,
This is a Leaf Footed Bug in the genus Leptoglossus.  The Western Conifer Seed Bug is a common ID request from this genus, but your species is, we believe, Leptoglossus phyllopus, based on images posted to BugGuide and the distribution map.
According to BugGuide: “Nymphs and adults suck juices from a variety of plants. This bug is particularly noted as a pest on citrus, on which it causes premature fruit drop, but also known to damage many other crops and ornamental plants. Apparently most common on thistle in FL, and on Yucca in KS.”

Worms wanted
July 23, 2009
bhanelt@unm.edu
http://www.nematomorpha.net
Hi. I am studying hairworms, Gordian worms, or nematomorphs at the University of New Mexico. Several other biologists and I have started a study of the biodiversity and distribution of these critters in the New World. I noticed that some of your readers have noted Gordian worms, and I would very much appreciate if you would spread the word that we would love for people to collect and send us these worms. As you know, not much is known about this animal phylum, and we would like to change that with your help.
Thanks for your time, consideration, and great website!
Cheers…Ben
Ben Hanelt

Hi Ben,
Normally, we do not print email addresses, but in this case, we suspect you would like our readership to contact you directly.

Daniel:
Thanks for your quick reply, and thanks again for your awesome website.  I think your site probably saves us biologists a lot of time identifying strange creatures- fantastic!
If you would put up a post of my e-mail or even just my website address, that would be great.  I will also work on linking to your site from ours, as I think it will be very useful for people who end up at our site.
Thanks again, and feel free to pick my brain anytime you get a posting that leaves you puzzled (I get those once in a while, and I am still not sure about some: is it animal, plant, or alien?).
Cheers…Ben