Mosquito Larva?
Hello Bugman,
I am wondering if this is a mosquito larva. I found it (and many other interesting things) in the water on the cover of our pool prior to us opening the pool for the season. There were also many tiny wiggly worms and even some red water mites. We had our own little swamp going in our backyard! The water doesn’t usually get so swampish, but we’ve had cooler than usual temperatures here, and the opening of our pool happened about 3 weeks later than usual. I have pictures of all of them, but will stick with just the mosquito larva (if that’s what it is) for now, for I know you are very busy. Thanks!
Barrie , Ontario

Hi Yvonne,
You have been such a loyal contributor for so many years, we try to answer your letters whenever possible. Mosquito Larvae are known as Wrigglers, and this is a Tumbler, a Mosquito Pupa. The name Wrigglers and Tumblers refers to their methods of locomotion through the water. BugGuide has a great photo of a Tumbler, ane we located another website with photos of the other stages of Mosquito Metamorphosis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Are these caterpillars EATING the aphids on our milkweed?
Hi, What’s That Bug!
We (my son and I) have our first butterfly garden this year, so we’ve learned about the tiny orange aphids that are crawling all over our milkweed. Today I found about 8 of these small caterpillars (?) on the milkweed near the aphids. This morning there were TONS of aphids, but this evening, most of the aphids on this one milkweed plant are gone. Are these caterpillars and are the eating the aphids? Also, in the zoomed picture (third one), I can see lots of tine white bugs that I couldn’t see with my naked eye. Kind of gives me the creeps! :) You never know what is "out there" I guess!

Hi Bridget,
They are eating Aphids, and they do look like caterpillars, but they are actually Syrphid Fly Larvae. Syrphid Flies are also known as Hover Flies. They look like bees, but are actually flies.

What is this?
Hi there:
I was wandering through the forest and found this. I looked through your photos and did not notice an exact match. I do suspect it is some sort of hummingbird moth. It was about the size of a wild honeybee. There were others in the area much larger and more colourful but too quick to photograph. The picture was taken in Nova Scotia. Thanks for your time. A very interesting website you have.

Hi Tom,
This is a Bee Fly in the genus Bombylius. We are not certain, but we believe it is Bombylius pygmaeus as evidenced by images posted to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Help Identify this beetle, pretty please!!
Dear Bugman,
As an avid buglover since birth, I have captured and played with my fair share of creepy-crawlies. But I have never encountered such a bloodthirsy, savage critter such as this! I found him in Eastern Kentucky. He’s all black, with a purpleish blue outline around his body (one of the pictures shows this very well). I had a cage with 2 Bess Bugs (patent leather beetles) and a rather large Millipede in it, and the three seemed to be getting along fine. Then, I found this fella under a log (where I found he others) and was impressed. Since I found them all in the same place, I figured they could co-habitate. Unfortuantely, this guy must have been hunting when I found him, because the day after I put him in with the others, I went to check on them, and to my horror, BOTH Bess Bugs AND the Millipede had been cut into pieces. I swear, this sucker ate more than 4 times his own weight overnight, (each of the Bess Bugs were slightly larger than him, and the Millipede was almost 3 times his length) then proceded to bury himself in the dirt I had in the cage. From now on, I’ll be much more careful about who I room together, but please help me in identifying this little monster.. I was NOT happy that he ate my buddies! Thanks a bunch,

hi Sam,
This is some species of Ground Beetle, and we believe it is in the tribe Carabini, but we are not convinced it matches specimens posted to BugGuide in the genera Carabus nor Calosoma. It seems similar to the European Ground Beetle, Carabus nemoralis, but the elytra are different. We will contact Eric Eaton to see if her recognizes this spectacular specimen.

Update: (06/18/2008)
Hi, Daniel:
The big, fierce ground beetle is in the genus Pasimachus, and is probably Pasimachus punctulatus. They are highly beneficial predators of cutworms and other pest insects. We would love to have this image over at Bugguide, where the guide page for this species is currently without any images at all.

Tropidacris grasshopper
Hello there,
I managed to take a picture today of what looks like the "Mexican grasshopper" identified as a member of the genus Tropidacris here: /grasshoppers.html I don’t know if my picture is of any use, since the insect has already been identified. But, in case it is, each tile on the wall measures 10x10cm, and the shot was taken in Fortaleza, Brazil. Cheers, (love the site!)

Dear Thaïs,
Thanks for sending your photo of Tropidacris dux, sometimes called a Giant Brown Cricket despite being a grasshopper.

Butt thumper
Dear Bugman,
Last evening after a very good downpour, I was in our backyard in Central PA and noticed this ? thumping his or her butt on the soft ground. It would thump and fly and thump and fly and then thump and wait. I believe it is depositing eggs but am not sure. I also am not sure what it is. Any help would be appreciated. Sincerely
Larry Lochner
Hollidaysburg, PA

Hi Larry,
Your insect is a Crane Fly in the family Tipulidae, and the behavior you describe is that of a female Crane Fly laying eggs. Female Crane Flies often oviposit in the ground, and the larvae, known as Leatherbacks, feed on detritus. For more on the life cycle of a Crane Fly, visit the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania website. We are not sure of the species but we will try to contact Dr. Chen Young to see if he can assist.

Update: (06/18/2008)
Hello Daniel,
The image showed up okay this time and it looks like a female of Nephrotoma virescens to me. This species usually when freshly emerged are greenish in color and gradually turning greenish yellow as in this image. There is another species Nephrotoma alterna which also has nice patterns on the top of the thorax. But I believe yours is a N. virescens. Thanks,