Question and photo…
In our garage we have lots of these small, grey, oval-shaped things hanging from the ceiling. There appears to be something like a small worm protruding from the top. Sometimes, I see these little guys climbing up walls – then you can see the worm/caterpillar-like bug doing its thing. Any idea what they are? Also, please find attached a photo I took of a wasp dragging a very large Huntsman spider across our back yard here in Sydney, up over the fence, and then away in our neighbour’s yard. Best regards,
Ian Nicholson

Hi Ian,
Your mysterious things sound like Case Bearing Moth Larvae. We get letters concerning them from many parts of the globe. Your Spider Wasp and Huntsman Spider photo is positively gorgeous.

Further Query: (01/03/2008)
Hi Daniel,
In the wasp and huntsman photo I sent you, can you please tell me the type of wasp? I had the photo published in a local paper and someone wrote in to say that this wasp is not a chalcidoidea, but of the symphyta suborder. Can you please clarify? Also, I watched this wasp drag that spider 15 metres across my lawn and then haul it up over the fence and into the neighbour’s garden. I presume this is to take the spider to a prepared burrow in order to lay an egg with it. The writer in the newspaper says our wasps in Australia do no such thing, but there’s the photo. Again, can you expand upon the behaviour of the wasp in the photo? Best regards,

Hi Ian,
Between 17 December 2006 and 22 January 2007, we received four letters from Australia of Spider Wasps with Huntsman Spider prey. They can be found in several places on our website, but they are grouped together on the Wasp 3 page. None of those photos are anywhere near as gorgeous as the one you sent. At that time, we correctly identified the Wasp as Cryptocheilus bicolor, a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae. The Australia Museum Online site has a photo and information including: “Spider wasps are often seen digging in soft sandy soil, dragging huntsman spiders along. The wasps you are most likely to see and hear are female wasps preparing nest chambers for their larvae. They dig a burrow using long spines on their front legs, then search rapidly around tree trunks and on the ground for a spider. The wasp stings the spider to paralyse it, and drags it back to the burrow. She then lays an egg on the spider’s body, and seals it in a chamber or cell at the end of the burrow. The larva hatches and feeds on the body of the spider before pupating in a thin silky cocoon in the cell.” If the Australia Museum site isn’t enough evidence for you to dispell the misinformation supplied by the person who wrote to the newspaper, you can also turn to the Brisbane Insect website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi Bugman
I discovered this spider on the steps at work in Kill Devil Hills N.C. two days before Christmas at around midnight. I thought she was absolutely gorgeous so I took a couple pictures and returned her to the wild. I believe from your site that it is a female Trapdoor spider. I just love the blue abdomen. Can you confirm my supposition and any further information would be appreciated!

We agree that this is a Trapdoor Spider. It is in the genus Ummidia. We are not convinced it is a female. Females rarely leave their burrow and it is the males that wander in search of a mate. The legs on your specimen seem short (could be camera angle) like those of a female, but the pedipalps are rather large, indicating a male spider. Perhaps someone with more knowlege will write in to clarify.

weird spider in NZ
Hello from New Zealand,
You may not be able to help, but if you can that would be wonderful. My husband and I discovered this spider in our garden today and captured it to take a photo. I just couldn’t get a very good photo. The white spots are actually points – like tiny volcanos, and are black on the back, outlined in red. Eyes, perhaps? The back half of the body is bright yellow. It has 8 legs, but appears to have 2 extra tiny legs when it walks that are on a very tiny body at the base as in Spider 2. The legs seem to mainly go to the front of the body as in Spider 1. Have you any clue about what it is? Thanks a lot for your thoughts.
Nancy and Hugh Mills

Hi Nancy and Hugh,
Back in December of 2005, we got our first image of this species, and with the assistance of a reader in January of 2007 when we received another image, it was properly identified as a Two Spined Spider, Poecilopachys australasiae. We also have a link with additional information that indicates the species is native to Australia but was introduced to New Zealand in the 1970s. This spider is often found on citrus trees.

Broken Links Fixed
Broken links on your site
December 28, 2010 4:53 pm
You have a couple of links to Te Papa’s website on your website, thanks heaps for that! I have recently noticed in our logs that some of these are broken, so I thought I’d report them to you to enable you to fix them.
These broken links came from a data migration when we upgraded our website. We are really sorry about it.
These are the 3 pages with broken links:

The new address of the two-spine spider on our website is the following:
Thanks a lot for linking to us again!
Kind regards,
Florence Liger, webmaster at Te Papa
Signature: Florence Liger

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

originally sent 12/23/2007) Strange Looking Bug
Hello Bugman,
I live in St Vincent and the Grenadines, on an island called Mustique. I was cleaning up outside when I saw this strange looking bug. At first I thought it was two bugs fighting with each other but on a closer look I think the bug was actually climbing out of its shell. Am I right? Is this a cockroach? Thank you for such a great site.
Tanya Clarijs

Hi Tanya,
Sorry we were unable to answer or post your letter originally. You are correct. This is a newly molted Cockroach. Its color will darken as its new exoskeleton hardens.

We saw this with a nest in the ground and eating this other insect. This was taken at a nearby park in Shelby Twp., Michigan. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks,

Hi Kelley,
This is a Cicada Killer wasp and a paralyzed Cicada. Most of our letters with images of Cicada Killers arrive in July and August, and we are guessing that this photo was not taken recently in Michigan, but probably during the summer. Cicada Killer wasps feed on pollen and nectar, but larval wasps feed on Cicadas. This female Cicada Killer has paralyzed a Cicada with her sting and is dragging it back to her burrow where she will bury it and lay an egg. The developing wasp larva will then feed on the paralyzed Cicada. Being that the Cicada is paralyzed and still alive, it does not harden and dry out so the larval wasp has living fresh meat.

Bug on Pine Tree
I have at least four of these on my pine tree about four feet up the trunk. They are at least an inch long. The tree also is infested with what I believe to be Southern Pine Beetles. I live in Florida. Is this bug related to the beetle infestation in any way? Is it beneficial, pest, or neutral? Thank you,

Hi Susan,
There are many beetles that feed on pine trees, and this is one. It is the Sculptured Pine Borer or Virginia Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis. The adults feed on pine needles, but it is the larvae that are most damaging to the trees. According to BugGuide: “Female lays eggs on scars in bark of living pines. Also sometimes feeds on downed logs. Larvae feed under bark over several years before maturing, may reduce much of tree to sawdust. Life cycle is two or more years.”