Looks like a pill bug but doesn’t seem to be
April 13, 2010
Dear What’s That Bug!,
Today I found the bug in the attached photo when I was pulling a weed against my foundation. They seemed to be going into the brick wall, where my bedroom is. The bugs are about a quarter to a half inch long and very shy.
I wouldn’t normally be concerned, but a few days ago I found one dead in the other side of the house (not near a wall), on carpet that has only been installed for two weeks.
I thought it was a pill bug, but it doesn’t seem to match the pictures of other pill bugs very well.
The one picture shows some tiny ants just above it (going into my house too…) there may be a symbiosis there to help with identification.
Thanks very much!
WBTtheFROG (we eat what bugs us)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

European Sowbug

Dear WBTtheFROG,
We will attempt to go from general to specific with our response.  In a most general sense, this is a Woodlouse in the suborder Oniscidea, of the Isopod order Isopoda, which is classified as the subphylum Crustacea in the phylum Arthropoda, which contains insects and their relatives.  The suborder Oniscidea (which is represented on BugGuide) contains several families, including the Pillbugs in the family Armadillidiidae which can roll into balls.  Also in that suborder are several other families with members that cannot roll into balls.  BugGuide says this of the family Sowbug Oniscidae:  “Sowbugs all have tails (uropods) that extend beyond their last abdominal segment. Most cannot roll into a ball. This family has three segments in the small, segmented end of the long antennae, while the Porcellionidae Family has only two segments.
”  Your critter has uropods, and it appears to have three segments at the end of the antennae.  The only member of the family illustrated on BugGuide is the European Sowbug, and it is reported to be:  “Not harmful to humans, rather helpful in cleaning up plant waste etc. Occasionally reported to eat garden plants, but generally considered beneficial.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Mating Crane Flies
April 13, 2010
Hi, WTB,
Congratulations on the progress of your book.  Looking forward to it.
If you think that Crane Flies are ridiculously poor flyers at best, you should see them trying to aviate as a pair while locked in the embrace of bug love.  Southern Arizona, attracted to a light in a community at the edge of the Sonoran Desert; about 2,900′.  Mid-April.
Best,
Denny

Crane Flies Mating

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Manitoba Blue Spotted Salamander
April 13, 2010
Finally I got some photos of our house guest – one of many who live in our sub-basement (covered in root cellar that they stay in during the winter because they do not truly hibernate). This is a rare/uncommon and shy (well okay supposedly!) salamander that not much is known about.  We have seen a few, rescued a couple, this last one from some fresh redicrete.  She is pretty friendly and likes her house – when it’s time for a new meal worm she comes out and stands up and looks at anyone coming in the room she stays in as if to say, “Hey servant food time for the beautiful Salamander over here”.  Like all Sally’s she only eats live food and no you cannot fool her either.
Thought you’d enjoy another lovely critter for your AWESOME GREAT SUPER page!
Take care,
Shanyn Silinski
SE Manitoba
“The most important things in life are NOT things!”

Manitoba Blue Spotted Salamander

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Mating Leaffooted Bugs on Thistle
April 13, 2010
I love your site and it has really helped me learn more about identifying bugs. I spotted this pair of Leptoglossus phyllopus (leaffooted bugs) on a dense thistle plant in central Florida just this past week. All the ‘webbing’ in the photo is just fibers from the thistle plant, which according to your site is the favorite haunt for this particular bug.
Karen H.
Belleview, FL

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

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Massive swarm
April 13, 2010
We were hiking the highest ridge in Friedrich Wilderness Park, just northwest of San Antonio, when we encountered a large swarm of small black insects covering the limestone rocks. This is the video I took of their swarming behavior: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALFe1ul5Qa4
This was in early January, but the weather was unseasonably warm, probably near 70 degrees F. It was late afternoon, and the trails were very muddy from recent rains. The altitude there is about 1200′.
The insects themselves were very small, maybe 1/8″ long. I couldn’t get any idea of their appearance until I zoomed in on the digital pictures I took–it should be Image 2 here.
I sent this same information to a local entomologist, but never got a reply :-(
John
Northwest of San Antonio, TX

Springtails

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Interesting Costa Rican Wasp Moths – Part 2
April 13, 2010
The Ctenuchid moths (Arctiidae: Ctenuchinae, if you ignore recent taxonomic revisions) are often referred to as Wasp Moths for their tendency to mimic wasps. This mimicry is not always obvious, but it certainly is in the case of Isanthrene crabroniformis. In fact, this female had me completely fooled when a photographed it and it was not until I was reviewing my photos that evening that I realized it was actually a moth. This individual was one of several I spotted at the Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. They were quite large, with an estimated wingspan of about 40-50 mm. The species does not appear to be well documented, not unusual for a tropical species, and the published range is given as Panama and Colombia. I suppose Costa Rica could be added to that list, and I suspect that its actual range may extend to other countries as well. Regards.
Karl

Isanthrene crabroniformis

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