Dulce de Leche Spider
March 13, 2010
Dear WTB,
Longtime reader, first-time inquiring. Cleaning out the woodpile is always a critter goldmine, so I made sure to have the camera handy. Sure enough, this fellow crawled out. He was VERY adverse to sunlight – scrambled immediately for shade/cover – but I did snap a few off before he vanished into the tall grass. I’ve lived here (SoCal) my whole life and have never seen his equal. He had a quarter-sized circumference (sorry I couldn’t get a coin down for reference) and his back half looked like an acrylic nail painted with dulce de leche. I would love an ID and my wife would like to know if he can bite/is poisonous (she doesn’t want it dead, but just wants to know how afraid she should be). Thank you!
Venice, CA

Sowbug Killer

Hi Greg,
Thanks for the nice letter.  Your spider is a Sowbug Killer or Woodlouse Hunter, Dysdera corcata.  The species is not native and was introduced from the Mediterranean region.  As with many other spiders, the bite is not dangerous, but it might be painful and cause local tenderness.  The Sowbug Killer is not aggressive, but it might bite if it is carelessly handled.

Thank you Daniel!  Your site rules.  I cannot wait for the book.
Because of WTB, I have totally started calling Potato Bugs “Jerusalem Crickets” which puzzles my friends but seems to comfort the wife…who is Israeli (and is anti-bug, particularly the abundance of silverfish living in her psych.books).

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

pls identify this ootheca(?)
March 13, 2010
I’ve been assuming/hoping this is a mantid ootheca, but it doesn’t look like any ootheca I’ve seen on the web. Is it a mantid ootheca or some less desirable creature? Found on a Japanese Maple tree in zip 43206. I want to hatch the mantids indoors to release in my garden…
Thanks! Tony
43206, Central Ohio, Urban micro climate


Hi Tony,
Theoretically, this is the cocoon of a Bagworm, a moth in the family Psychidae.  You may see additional examples and some species identifications on BugGuide.  We wrote theoretically earlier because the female Bagworm is wingless, and she only crawls out of her cocoon to mate.  After mating, she returns to the cocoon and lays her eggs, so the cocoon may become an ootheca of sorts.

Thanks Daniel!  I guess I knew it wasn’t what I wanted or I wouldn’t have asked!?  At least now I know that I really do need to order a mantid ootheca.  You guys offer a great service to us laymen!  Thanks again.

2mm looks like a walking shrimp
March 10, 2010
Hi, this was on my computer monitor, it didnt’ jump or fly, just walked. looks kinda like a shrimp, with a brushy tale. also looks like the monster from The Host (Korean film).
To Daniel, from the bug experts.
Melbourne, Australia

Planthopper Nymph

Dear Daniel,
This is some species of Planthopper nymph and we cannot even be certain of the family.  The Brisbane Insect website has a photo listed as unidentified that is very close to your specimen.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bristle-tailed fly
March 11, 2010
I’ve been hiking in the foothills of Glendora Ca. for many years. Lately, I’ve been taking photos as I walk and today I snapped a picture that made me want to learn more about the insect. It is 3-10-10 and it was viewed at apprx. noon in L.A. county.
North America; Glendora California

Issid Planthopper Nymph

Hi Jason,
You have encountered an immature Issid Planthopper, most likely Dictyobia permutata which feeds on California Buckwheat, a native plant found in the foothills.  You can see additional images on BugGuide.

Beetle ID
March 12, 2010
Trying to get an ID on this beetle from Costa Rica.
I’m not very familiar with my bugs and wouldn’t know where to start looking.
So here I am.
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Longhorned Borer Beetle

Hi Alex,
WE are not certain which of the Longhorned Borer Beetles in the subfamily Prioninae you have submitted.  It may be Callipogon barbatus, though a dorsal view photograph of the entire specimen might be necessary to be certain of the identification.

Thanx Daniel
For taking the time to try and help me ID this beetle. You’ve at least put me on the right track.
I found two more photos which may help you be more certain of your ID.
I see many similarities between the Callipogon barbatus that you suggested but also many differences.
Thank you again

Root Borer from Costa Rica

Hi again Alex,
Thanks for sending additional photos.  This will probably help immensely in identifying this Root Borer, though we need to go to the market to buy dinner before we do any additional research.

Root Borer from Costa Rica

Hi Daniel and Alex:
These are lovely shots of what I believe is a Mallodon spinibarbis (Prioninae:  Mallodontini). It could also be M. molarius, but I think that is less likely. It ranges from Mexico to South America as far down as Argentina. You could also check out the Worldwide Cerambycoidea Photo Gallery, which has several images of this species, as well as several other Mallodon species that occur in Costa Rica.  I will be visiting the Osa Peninsula next week so this helps to get me pumped (as if I needed it). Thanks.

Thanks Karl,
You appear to have nailed it again.

Thank you both.
Karl I just got back from Osa it was fantastic but SO HOT!!!!!
Heres a link to a few photos I took while there.
Have fun. I wish I was headed back!

Long, thin, large, dark mottled fly
March 12, 2010
Dear What’s That Bug,
I’m a big fan and I believe I’ve written to you before. Tonight I found a sadly deceased large dark mottled fly of some sort. I’ve never seen anything like it before, not anything as big as that. It’s just turned Autumn here in South Australia and it hasn’t been raining or especially cold or unpleasant. I have in the last week or so cut back a lot of low branches on my pine trees and disturbed the underlying leaf litter but I didn’t see anything like this under there – mostly slaters, stink beetles and roaches. I suspect this poor critter is a victim of my cats – perhaps indirectly as I don’t think he would have easily fitted back out through the mesh of my enclosed veranda. I would have saved him/her if I could have, he/she is a real beauty.
Coastal South Australia, Eastern Eyre Peninsula

Bark Mimicking Grasshopper

Hi Bronwen,
We believe this is some species of Grasshopper, though the body has been traumatized and appears to be missing some legs.  We hope someone can assist in this identification.

Bark Mimicking Grasshopper

Piotr Naskrecki identifies Bark Mimicking Grasshopper
Hi Daniel,
This is a bark-mimicking grasshopper (Coryphistes sp.), fam. Catantopidae.

I did think it had a face like a grasshopper – but no thick strong jumping legs, and that fooled me; I just checked since I still have it in a jar and yes the back stumps are a bit more robust looking than the remaining legs. A large grasshopper doesn’t surprise me as much as if it was a large fancy winged fly, but still I’ve not seen one anything like that. We have water restrictions here and there isn’t much grass to be had so I’ve seen a lot more yellow and brown grasshoppers.
Thanks for your quick reply!
Cheers, Bronwen,