Surprised while on a tadpole rescue!
Wed, May 20, 2009 at 3:35 PM
My children, husband and I are avid nature lovers. One May night at the local ballpark my children showed my husband a drying up “creek” bed with hundreds of tadpoles and frog eggs in it. My daughter and I had already been performing tadpole rescue on a water catch next to our drvieway that day. Needless to say the next day the kids and I went to rescue those tadpoles. While driving my son said the worm in his container was freaking him out. I thought he was talking about the tadpoles. When I began pouring them into their new home this worm took off chewing through the eggs. I quickly scooped it out. We watched it and noticed that it has six legs, large pincers, and appears to breathe through an orifice in its tail. I thought it might be a juvenile dragonfly, I checked your site (which we use frequently) and have found noth ing like it. Thanks for your help.
Jodie
Atlanta, TX

Water Tiger

Water Tiger

Dear Jodie,
It was in our budding fascination with aquaria in our youth that we first heard the name Water Tiger to describe the larvae of the Predacious Water Beetles in the genus Dytiscus, though according to BugGuide, Predacious Water Beetle and Water Tiger apply to the entire family Dytiscidae.  Here is what William T. Innes wrote in 1935 in Exotic Aquarium Fishes:  “Water Tiger  This sleek, spindle-shaped creature is the larval form of a large Water Beetle (Dytiscus), which itself is also a powerful enemy of fishes.  There are several species, but in effect, as far as the aquarist is concerned, they are all one.  … The pincers, or mandibles, are hollow, and through these they rapidly suck the blood of their victims.  Growth is rapid and they soon attain a size where they attack tadpoles, fishes or any living thing into which they can bury their strong bloodsuckers.  Theirs is one of those appetites which ‘grows by what it feeds upon,’ and they move steadily from victim to victim.  …  What helps make these larvae so deadly is that they are good swimmers. … The Water Tiger breathes air through its rear end and, therefore, must occasionally come to the surface.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Crimson bug love!
Tue, May 19, 2009 at 10:50 PM
I was tempted to put “Beetle porn” in the subject. Here’s why:
I saw this guy (I know this is a male, for sure) during my hike last weekend in the Upper Galilee. At first I thought “Cool, beautiful beetle I can identify later”, but then, with no thought to his surroundings, and completely at ease with my camera, he found a mate. You could almost hear the lousy dialog and the cheap porn-clip music in the background! The ants peeking in on the action didn’t bother the amorous couple either.
I did identify them later as Purpuricenus desfontainei. It’s Hebrew name, loosely translated, is the Crimson Longhorn. Apt, don’t you think?
BenS
Upper Galilee, Israel

Crimson Longhorn

Crimson Longhorn

Dear BenS,
Thank you so much for contributing your wonderful images of mating Israeli Longicorns to our website.  We are even more thrilled that you have identified them as Purpuricenus desfontainei.

Crimson Longhorns Mating

Crimson Longhorns Mating

Critter by the River
Tue, May 19, 2009 at 2:46 AM
Hey I sent this in earlier this month and realized it may not have gone through as I didn’t receive an email confirmation. I found this critter by a stagnant pond near the bank of the Verde River in Cottonwood, Arizona at 5/5. I was taking photos of tadpoles when it wandered into my view. This is the only clear photo I got of him, sadly; the rest came out blurry. I haven’t seen another like it before or since, and I’ve been back out there twice since that date.
It is less than a centimeter long, with an up-curved abdomen that ends in a point. It otherwise resembled an ant. If the photo is not good enough shoot me an email and I will attempt to sketch it for you as accurately as I can remember. Curiosity is burning me up, let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help!
Justen, Cottonwood, Arizona
Cottonwood, Arizona

Rove Beetle

Rove Beetle

Hi Justen,
This is a Rove Beetle in the genus Paederus.  We first got letters regarding this genus from Cameroon and other parts of Africa where it is known as a Creechie Bug.  The Paederus Rove Beetles, according to BugGuide:  “contain a toxic chemical (pederin) in their hemolymph which causes contact dermatitis in humans, usually as a result of slapping the beetle and crushing it against exposed skin. The affected area becomes red, swollen, and itchy, causing the skin to peel when scratched. Outbreaks of Paederus dermatitis have occurred in Africa, Asia, and South America.
Historically, extracts of Paederus beetles have been used by the Chinese since at least the year 739 in the medicinal treatment of boils, nasal polyps, and ringworm.”  They are found throughout North America.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Beetle found on an agave plant
Sun, May 17, 2009 at 11:59 AM
Would like to know the identity of this beetle. Found near Sedona, AZ on 5/17/09 on the stem of an agave (century plant) starting to bloom. Body about 4 cm long. Two different beetles are shown, one with spot at end of body, one without. They are assumed to be the same species – perhaps male and female?
Many thanks
Dale
Northern AZ

Giant Agave Bug

Giant Agave Bug

Hi Dale,
Your insect is not a beetle, but rather a true bug.  It is a Giant Agave Bug, Acanthocephala thomasi.  Unlike beetles which have chewing mouthparts, the true bugs have piercing and sucking mouthparts.  The Giant Agave Bug feeds on the juices of the agave plant.  Look at BugGuide for more photos on the Giant Agave Bug which is found in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Caterpillar on poplar leaves
Sun, May 17, 2009 at 1:49 PM
I found these caterpillars on poplar leaves in our field in WNY. I rescued them from the hard freeze we are going to have tonight. I have been unable (yet) to identify them and for curiosity sake I wondered what they may be>
Mark
Western New York

White Admiral Caterpillar

White Admiral Caterpillar

Hi Mark,
Your caterpillars belong to a butterfly in the genus Limenitis, most likely the White Admiral, Limenitis arthemis arthemis.  The species, Limenitis arthemis has three subspecies, and the White Admiral is the northern subspecies in the east.  Further south the most common subspecies is the Red Spotted Purple and in the western U.S. the dominant subspecies is the Western White Admiral.  The three subspecies will interbreed where their ranges overlap, giving way to subspecies intergrades.  BugGuide has a wonderful information page on this species.  The caterpillars also feed on the leaves of cherry, willow and birch.

Is this a Six-spotted Tiger Beetle?
Mon, May 18, 2009 at 1:30 PM
Hello,
I was digging in by backyard today when I came across this beautiful beetle. After looking through some Field Guides I guess it may be a Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, but on of them said that they usually don’t occur in Michigan. I was hoping you could shed some light on what I found. It seemed to have been underground next to a nest of larvae feeding on a mouse or rat i dug out.
O. Keller
Port Sanilac, MI

Six Spotted Tiger Beetle

Six Spotted Tiger Beetle

Dear O. Keller,
We believe you have correctly identified your Six Spotted Tiger Beetle. According to the data on BugGuide, Michigan is firmly part of the range of the species.