Cannon Beach Ghost Millipede of the Sea?
February 4, 2010
On Sunday, January 31 at about 7:30 in the morning, my friend and I were taking one last stroll along the beautiful shore on Cannon Beach. The beach goes along south until it runs into some black rocks and tide pools. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things there, but this takes the cake.
Washed up on the sand, not caught in a tidepool but instead in a very shallow seabound stream, was a pale ghost of a creature that I admit, freaked me out. I’m pretty sure it was either dead or unaccustomed to surface pressure… it seemed quite limp in either case.
It was off-white, with an almost luminescent-looking greenish tinge. You can sort of see the color in the photo. And I couldn’t discern any eyes, just that rather spectacular pointed oblong of a head. And the spinal column… not that bugs necessarily have spines, but you know… was translucent, not whitish. You can see it in the photo; the translucent part seems to surround the …brain? Brrrr. Wow. Somewhere between 4 and 6 inches of fascinating, nameless wriggle – hard to say for sure with it folded up like that and me afraid to touch it (even with a stick).
I wish I had a better photo for you; the water was washing it back out to the ocean, and my camera is old and beat up. It certainly isn’t pretty enough to make picture of the month. But with any luck, you can tell me what this bizarre encounter was. Have you ever seen anything like it?
I haven’t, save perhaps in unremembered dreams…
Nikki Burns, still a Goonie
Cannon Beach, OR

Unknown Sea Worm

Dear Nikki,
Your letter is wonderful, and this creature is a bit out of our typical request realm, though we have identified marine worms in the past.  We are posting it immediately as unidentified in the hopes that one of our readers will have some clue as to its identity, and we will begin to research ourselves.  Meanwhile, hold tight and we will see what we are able to uncover.  We would strongly suggest that you post a comment to your own letter in the event that sometime far in the future, an identification is provided.  We generally write back if we get an identification in a few days, but eventually, a querant’s email address vanishes into the black hole that our email account becomes after about a week.

Hi again Nikki,
On a lark, we just did a search for sea worm, and found the Wikipedia page on the genus Glycera, Blood Worms, and it sure looks like your critter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Grasshopper, large, very unsuaul
February 4, 2010
We found this grasshopper? bug – looks like it just hatched or is not well. It is about 6″, or 12cm long. When we found it, its deep pink corrugated looking wings were open quite wide and the leaf looking bits at the top of the wings were standing up. We bought it home to observe it but it didn’t open its wings again. It was walking around on some bark that we collected for it. In the end, we put it on a tree to see if it would open its wings, but it walked up the tree and we were busy and couldn’t watch it any more. Pics attached. Can’t get the pic showing the whole grasshopper to load. It is the same size as the others.
Jan O’Donnell
South East Queensland, Australia

Pink Winged Stick Insect

Hi Jan,
This is a Goliath Stick Insect, Eurycnema goliath, which we identified on the Brisbane Insect website.  The individuals pictured there have more mottled coloration where your specimen seems to be more evenly green.  The bright pink wings are evident in your specimen and the images posted online.  The Brisbane Insect Website indicates:  “By watching the Goliath, we notice that  it has at least the following defence mechanisms. Of course its primary mechanism is its heavy camouflage. Its appearances and its movement resembles twigs or branches so that it can hide away from predators. It’s second defence mechanism is to scare its predators. When disturbed it will display the bright red colour under its wings and the eyes-patterns between the thorax and rear legs. Together with a swishing sound apparently coming from the wings. It will also kick its spiny legs which will help frighten the predator. We also noticed that the Goliath we found, one of its rear leg is missing, the other rear leg is a little bit shorter than normal (compare with pictures in reference books) and one of the front legs is extremely small. This indicated that it lost parts of its legs at least three times. This could be its last defence mechanism, for when its legs are held by its predator, a bird for example, it loses its leg deliberately and drops to the ground, the bird may not find the Goliath stick for its camouflage.
In many Stick Insects, the female is the larger, and we believe your specimen is a female.  Please try responding to our response and attaching the other photo.  We would love to see the complete insect.

PInk Winged Stick Insect abdomen closeup

The Brisbane Insect Website also states:  “Goliath Stick Insects eat a lot of plants materials and they leave a lot of droppings. To avoid the predators notice them by their droppings, the insect has a very special way to handle it. At the rear end of the insects’ abdomen, they have three large filaments. The middle filament holds the dropping when it comes out. The stick insects will flip their abdomen to throw their droppings a few meters away.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your reply.  It was such an interesting experience finding this insect this morning.  I don’t know if it is the same as the ones in the link to Brisbane Insect website – its body was more substantial and its head was very fine compared to the more obtuse head on the ones on that web page.  Anyhow, I have attached 2 more pics for you to see.
Jan

Pink Winged Stick Insect

Thanks for sending the other image Jan.  We are now confident that this is a Goliath Stick Insect, though the coloration is different from most of the photos we found online.

Correction:  March 28, 2013
Thanks to a comment from Becky, we now know that this is a Pink Winged Stick Insect, Podacanthus typhon, and we located a matching image on OzAnimals which states:  “found in south east Australia in New South Wales and Victoria.”  It is described as:  “The Pink-winged Phasma has striking pink wings with reddish pink veins and green leading edge. The front pair of wings are short and green. The wing covers are pale green and ridged in the centre. The legs are reddish pink and fairly short. The mesothorax is short and narrow with numerous tubercles. The body is long and pink above with last segment green, with two long thin cerci. Both males and females can fly.”

Beautiful Moth
February 4, 2010
I hope that you can respond to my email in time. I don’t know what to do with this moth. I live in Cleveland and it is very cold right now. I found it in the house. I can’t let it outside. It will die I really don’t know what to do with it in the house. I feel so bad for it. I believe it just came out of its cocoon. It must have been in one of the plants that we had outside this summer. What is it? Can I keep it alive until spring, and how? (It’s only February!)
Wendy
Cleveland, Ohio

Polyphemus Moth

Hi Wendy,
Alas, even if the weather was fine, this lovely Polyphemus Moth would only live a few days.  They do not feed as adults, and only live long enough to mate.  Sadly, it will die without mating.

Thank you for responding so soon. How sad.  It is so beautiful.
Wendy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

fat orange bug
February 4, 2010
fat thick body orange bug with eye shaped patterns on its wings. didn’t move around much and was able to expand it’s wings open using a piece of grass
what?
south florida

Io Moth

Dear what?,
This is a female Io Moth.  She can be distinguished from the male of the species because the male has yellow upper wings.

Io Moth

six legged worm thing?
February 2, 2010
Im not sure what this thing is it was found in my back yard and its a little over 2 inches long and fairly thick it has fuzz on it and it must burrow because when i put it in the grass again it starting moving down. when its flipped right side up it roles onto its back and begins to wiggle normally. it has a dark colored head not sure if its dark red but it does have pincers and there’s something inside its tail maybe a sack its black and white. I’m not to fond of insects but i;d like to know what this is because Ive never seen one before.
Luis Martinez
Los Angeles California

Crawly-Back

Hi Luis,
This is the larva of a Green Fruit Beetle, Cotinus mutabilis.  They are often found in compost piles and they are known as Crawly-Backs.  The beautiful green adults fly in August, and because they feed on fruit, they are sometimes called Figeaters.

Crawly-Back

Mystery Bug with Pincers and Long Stinger
February 4, 2010
We’ve found bugs with boxing-glove pincers which unroll into giant jaws. See attached photos. We’re in a house in Jakarta, Java, Indonesia. Have found two of them so far. We’ll keep the lights on until you tell it’s safe. Can you help identify it?
Brits and Red Socks abroad.
Jakarta, Java, Indonesia.

Vinegaroon

Hi Brits and Red Socks abroad,
This is a harmless Whipscorpion in the order Thelyphonida.  They are also called Vinegaroons because they release a weak acetic acid when threatened, and it smells like vinegar.  Since they have no venom, Whipscorpions are perfectly harmless, despite resembling scorpions.  You may read more about Whipscorpions on Wikipedia, and we also found an Indonesian website called Greater White with good photos.  The drawing on Wikipedia resembles your specimen, and it is from the genus Thelyphonus.  There are several Indonesian members of that genus.  The jaws you describe are actually modified legs known as pedipalps.  We are thankful for your awesome images that document the two positions of the pedipalps.  Since Vinegaroons are harmless, and they are nocturnal hunters, it is safe to turn out the lights when you sleep.  The foraging Vinegaroons will help keep the population of cockroaches and spiders to a minimum.

Vinegaroon

Dear Daniel,
Thank you very much for this awesome answer. “Whipscorpion” is such a great name!
The photos I sent to you were very low resolution. If you would like better quality ones for the records, I’d be happy to whisk them over to you this weekend.
Very best wishes to you and the bug team. And thanks for inspiring a sudden fascination for bugs from my housemates and I.
Melanie