Pretty Moth
March 11, 2010
I’ve seen this moth twice before, where I go to school. It’s about the size of a cupped palm, slightly smaller, and is very pretty to look at. I’ve been trying to find out what they’re called for ages. I let one crawl onto my hand and it was really docile, plus the fluff is very puffy and soft. ^_^ I only managed to get one decent picture. Help to identify it would be very much appreciated!
Idyllwild, California

Pandora Pine Moth

Hi Nikolaus,
This beauty is a Pandora Pine Moth, Coloradia pandora, a species endemic to the west coast.  According to BugGuide:  “Two years are required to complete development. Second- or third-stage caterpillars overwinter the first year in tight clusters, resume feeding in the spring, pupate in June or July, and spend the second winter in underground pupation chambers lined with silk and plant litter. Some can remain in the pupal stage for up to 5 years before emerging as adults.
The caterpillars are eaten by the Paiute Indians.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Alien Grub Thingy
March 10, 2010
I was out at about 2am this morning and couldn’t sleep.As I was walking along the sidewalk I heard a pop and looked down to see that there were about 5-7 of these things squirming on the concrete, and I unknowingly stepped on one. I decided to get a closer look so I shined my flashlight on it and it was a very pale caterpillar looking life form, I did not see any visible eyes or mouth on it, but what I did see once I attempted to pick it up was what struck me as being very alien. No sooner than i grabbed one up from the sidewalk a long almost lizard like tail popped out of what I guess is the back of the grub, the tail would move around and it wrapped itself around my finger, sparking my curiosity even further.So I brought it inside and took pictures and a small video of it.What I want to know is, could this possibly be a cicada larvae, or a small scale alien invasion?
Josh Hamblin
Springfield, MO

Rat Tailed Maggot

Hi Josh,
This is the larva of a Drone Fly and it is commonly called a Rat Tailed Maggot.

Afghanistan, fast moving blue/gray beetle with large hind legs
March 10, 2010
First, I just want to say I’ve been a huge fan of your site for neigh on 4 years now. I suppose my wife and I are odd for laying in bed at 03:00 in the morning, drinking wine and reading the backlog of “What’s That Bug” for entertainment, but then I never claimed to be normal.
So, on to my request! I am in southern Zabul Province, Afghanistan… I found the little guy pictured below scurrying around VERY rapidly in broad daylight and quite unafraid. The terrain is mostly sparse, high desert scrubland. What struck me were his enlarged hind legs and the gorgeous blue/gray mottled exoskeleton. To be honest, he appeared to be hunting. These photos were taken today, March 10, 2010.
In any event, thanks again for everything you’re doing, you’ve at least helped me to appreciate the insect world far more than I would have without you. I look forward to your book.
Devon in Afghanistan
Southern Zabul Province, Afghanistan

Darkling Beetle

Hi Devon,
Thanks so much for your very kind letter.  We believe your beetle is a Darkling Beetle in the family Tenebrionidae, though we will contact Eric Eaton to verify that.  We suspect it might not be a quick or easy matter to identify the species.  Meanwhile, you may read a bit about the North American members of the Darkling Beetle family on BugGuide.  Though the coloration of your specimen is quite different, there are basic anatomical similarities to the members of the tribe Amphidorini which includes the Acrobat Beetles in the genus Eleodes.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better success with finding some online information and a species identification.

Darkling Beetle

Hi Daniel and Devon:
I agree that it is a Darkling Beetle and I believe the genus is probably Adesmia. As far as I can tell there are three species in Afghanistan (A. karelini, A. jugalis and A. servillei). I was only able to find online photos of A. karelini, but it looks very close. On a personal note, I want to thank you Daniel and WTB? for getting me through yet another long winter. Next week I am off to Costa Rica (!!!) for a ‘bug’ vacation with my new macro lens, and with a bit of luck it may be spring when I get back! Regards.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

small cricket of n.e. thailand sometimes seen in numbers
March 10, 2010
this attractive cricket is often found on leaves , i dont ever recall finding one on the ground.
gary heiden, chiang khan, thailand
loei prov. thailand. about 5km from mekong river.

Unknown Katydid Nymph

Hi Gary,
This is not a cricket, but rather an immature Katydid.  Crickets and Katydids are both in the same insect order, Orthoptera, which also includes grasshoppers.  Immature Orthopterans are known as nymphs, and they often differ physically from adults in terms of markings and coloration, which can make them difficult to identify.  We will contact Piotr Naskrecki, an expert in Katydids, to see if he recognizes the species or genus.

Piotr Naskrecki Responds
Hi Daniel,
The katydid from Thailand is a nymph of Phaneropterinae, but impossible to
tell the genus. Nymphs in this group of katydids are often dramatically
different from the adults.

Is this a tick?
March 7, 2010
I found this on the front sidewalk. It moves slow and you can hardly see its legs. It is the color of dirty khaki. It looks like a tick, but is nearly as big as a dime. The usual ticks we see here in Colorado are much smaller and darker in color. The pictures with a small piece of bark are of the belly and the other of its back.
Boulder CO


Hi Nancy,
You are correct.  This is a Tick and it appears to be engorged with blood.  According to BugGuide:  “Hard ticks have three distinct life stages. Larvae emerge from the egg having six legs. After obtaining a blood meal from a vertebrate host, they molt to the nymphal stage and acquire eight legs. Nymphs feed and molt to the next and final stage (the adult), which also has eight legs. After feeding once more, the adult female hard tick lays one batch of thousands of eggs and then dies. Only one blood meal is taken during each of the three life stages. The time to completion of the entire life cycle may vary from less than a year in tropical regions to over three years in cold climates, where certain stages may enter diapause until hosts are again available. Many hard ticks can go for several months without feeding if not unduly duressed by environmental conditions.

worm or snake
March 7, 2010
Hey found this “thing” in my house, on my carpet. Any idea what it is? Has two black eyes, behaved defensive when we tried to touch it. After placing it in the restroom sink to better observe, it died withing a minute. I have small children, is this something we should be worried about?
Thanks, Roxy
ranch in south texas

Blind Snake

Hi Roxy,
We believe this is a harmless Legless Lizard, though we would defer to any reptile experts that care to comment.

I saw that you posted a picture of what you thought was a legless lizard. I’m pretty sure it is actually a blind snake, possibly Leptotyphlops humilis, the western blind snake. According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, they live throughout the southwestern U.S., including Texas. It could also be Leptotyphlops dulcis, the Texas slender blind snake, which lives throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, and central Texas. Although I’m not an expert, I have been around reptiles all my life. I actually found one of these little guys several years ago and that is why I immediately recognized it as a blind snake.
Josh Kouri