Currently viewing the tag: "bug of the month"
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Subject: Fly?…
Location: Houston
April 30, 2015 10:58 am
Hello bugman,
I noticed a large cluster of flying bugs of some sort on my tree today. 2 groups. From a distance they appear black, like large gnats? Up close they’ve got 6 legs it appears, long antennae, and wings. The wings are a very detailed combination of black and gray colors, outlined in white with a white solitary spot. Very beautiful looking up close. Just not sure if these are invasive /destructive to my tree/garden and wanted to check what they were. The closest thing I’ve been able to find is a picture winged fly but there are so many I wasn’t sure. I have a video as well if you’d like it. You’re help is truly appreciated!
Signature: Alma

Barklice

Barklice

Dear Alma,
These benign Barklice,
Cerastipsocus venosus, might appear alarming when they are seen clustering on a prized tree in the yard, but gardeners have no cause for alarm.  Barklice feed on lichens, and they will not harm your tree.  Barklice are sometimes called Tree Cattle.  Your image is of winged adults.  Wingless Barklice nymphs are boldly striped.  We just realized it is the first of May and we need to select a new Bug of the Month, so we have selected your excellent image of Tree Cattle as the featured posting of the month.

You guys are AWESOME! I can’t thank you enough for your help and information!!!  I’m a huge science fan so I love exploring and trying to figure out what things are. I also know how busy you guys must get, so I will definitely be helping with a donation. I also let people know about your site when they are trying to figure out bugs. If you ever need help for rebranding/redesigning let me know (I’m a professional graphic designer). I’m happy to help if you need it!
You have a great weekend!
Alma Soto

Thanks for the offer Alma.  We got our start many years ago on the now defunct American Homebody site, and we still prefer our homey look to the more high tech sites.

I can most certainly understand and respect that!
For what you guys do… It actually works.
Again thank you guys so much for your help, and prompt response. i’ve made sure to tell all my friends about you guys, and have already tweeted you out. :) you guys have helped me before I remembered for a bug I experienced when we lived on job assignment on Venezuelan Penninsula that they call pachaco – it was I found out thanks do you guys a Solifugae (all I could remember was that their body looked like a cross between an ant, spider and an earwigi- they were fierce looking, fast, and scared the living daylights out of me). so again, thank you guys for all you do!
Alma

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Subject: Star Trek brain eater
Location: Mississippi River, central Louisiana
March 28, 2015 5:14 pm
Don’t go near the water! Found this thing in the Bayou of central Louisiana at the end of March. My research has turned up some similar creepy crawlies but nothing quite the same. What is it?
Signature: Boatswain

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler

Giant Water Scavenger Beetle Larva and Mosquito Tumbler

Dear Boatswain,
We absolutely love your colorful description of what we originally thought was a Water Tiger, the aquatic larva of a Predaceous Diving Beetle in the family Dytiscidae, but once we searched BugGuide and compared your individual to images of larvae of Giant Water Scavenger Beetles in the family Hydrophilidae, we determined that was the correct identification for your creature.  According to BugGuide contributor Andrew Tluczek:  “I have a masters in Entomology and have worked with aquatic insects. It is a Hydrophilidae. The mandibles have ‘teeth’ which Dytiscidae larvae do not have.”  Your individual has “teeth” on the mandibles, and other research turned up additional physical similarities.
  According to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Field Station site:  “WSB [Water Scavenger Beetles] larvae are described as ‘sluggish’ and are found crawling on the pond floor or climbing on underwater vegetation. The larvae is a ‘couch-potato’ version of the sleek PDB [Predaceous Diving Beetle] larvae/ water tigers (pictured) (they sometimes share the ‘water tiger’ moniker). WSB larvae often have paired, gill-like structures protruding from the sides of their abdomens. Their feeding category is ‘engulfer-predator;’ they use their hollow jaws to suck out the juices of their prey. Their food-list includes their brethren; they love mosquito larvae but will go after mini-fish and so are an unwelcome addition to a koi pond. Larvae back their abdomen up to the water’s surface and take in air through spiracles (pores) at its tip. They spend a month underwater as larvae and about 12 days pupating in a cell in moist soil.”  That information thrilled us as we can now safely use the term Water Tiger to describe the larvae of aquatic beetles in both families.  According to Bugwood:  “Larvae, which occur in water, have an elongate body and large dark head with prominent curved jaws. Elongated spiracles through which they acquire oxygen arise from the end of the abdomen. … The immature stage is a predator, working by ambush to lie in wait, seizing and crushing prey that comes within reach. Most of their diet is made up of small insects and other aquatic invertebrates. However, their jaws are quite powerful allowing them to consume snails whole as well as catch large prey such as tadpoles and small fish.”  A Mosquito Tumbler, the pupa of a Mosquito, is visible in two of your images.  We have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for April 2015.

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler (front and center)

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler (front and center)

Water Tiger

Giant Water Scavenger Beetle Larva

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Subject: Migrating Painted Ladies
Location: Elyria Canyon Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
February 14, 2015 10:00 AM
Though we have received many images recently from our readers, we made a decision to select our Bug of the Month for March 2015 from our own images because of the significant seasonal migration of Painted Ladies this year.  According to Julian Donahue, the Painted Ladies are: “particularly active on the wing now, and most appear to be migrating, pausing to nectar on their way farther north.” The Painted Lady,
Vanessa cardui, is a medium sized orange butterfly with a mottled wing pattern and distinctive “eye spots” on the underwings. Painted Ladies were seen taking nectar from the pictured Mule Fat or Baccharis salicifolia, Coastal Bush Sunflower and Manroot. Caterpillars feed on both native and non-native leaves, and the Arroyo Lupine, that is currently blooming, is one native host plant.

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

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Subject: UNKNOWN GRASSHOPPER
Location: Botriver Western Cape
January 30, 2015 6:24 am
Hi Bugman,
My hubby and I were in Botriver over the past two weeks ie. 14 to 25 Jan 2015.
We captured this stunning picture of what we believe is a grasshopper of sorts. Absolutely beautiful, never seen anything like it in my life.
Thought you might like to have a look at it and maybe identify it for me?
thanks so much.
kind regards
Signature: Judy

Green Milkweed Locust

Green Milkweed Locust

Hi Judy,
Your images are stunning and this Grasshopper is gorgeous.  It is a member of the family Pyrgomorphidae, commonly called the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers.  They feed on milkweed, and many species are ably to synthesize and store compounds from the plants that render the grasshoppers toxic.  They also have aposomatic or warning coloration to ward off predators.  Your individual is a Green Milkweed Locust,
Phymateus leprosus, and you can verify our identification on iSpot.

Green Milkweed Locust

Green Milkweed Locust

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Subject: ID Bug. please?
Location: Ventura County, CA
December 28, 2014 11:14 am
Hello. Happy New Year.
Can you ID this bug for us. They seem to be increasingly multiplying on our property in the
north end of the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. We grow some organic
fruits and want to make sure they are not a plant eating insect, or what we would have to do
in an organic way to handle them.
Thank you.
Clay
Signature: email

Mediterranean Red Bug

Mediterranean Red Bug

Dear Clay,
Though it is lacking an recognized common name on BugGuide, we have been calling the invasive exotic species
 Scantius aegyptius by the descriptive name Mediterranean Red Bug based on its site or origin and its common family name.  According to the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside:  “Recently, another brightly colored, mostly seed feeding bug belonging to the family Pyrrhocoridae or “Red Bugs” has become established in southern California and is drawing attention due to large aggregations of the bright red and black nymphs and adults feeding on annual broadleaf weeds in open space areas.  Scantius aegyptius, an old world pyrrhocorid bug, native to the eastern Mediterranean region, was documented for the first time in North America in Orange County during June of 2009.  Reports of this insect from other southern California locations (i.e., Riverside County) suggest that this insect has been established for a year or more prior to these Orange County collections.”  We suspect sightings of this Mediterranean Red Bug will be increasing in Southern California this winter, which makes your submission a very appropriate Bug of the Month for January 2015.

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Subject: Unknown Spider
Location: Malawi, Africa
December 25, 2014 10:52 pm
I live in Malawi, Africa. Recently I have moved to a more rural part of the country than what I have been previously acquainted with. There are many unknown bugs to me here. Although I do not have a particular fondness of these creatures, my curiosity has got the better of me. Attached is a picture of a large spider. I believe it is typically nocturnal. It moves very fast and has dangerous fangs. The largest one I know of was three inches. The people here do not have a name for it in English, in the native tongue it is called “Chichotsa Mfumu”. Which being translated means, “The Thing That Drives the Chief From His Chair”. Like I said earlier, I am curious and would like to know if it has an English name.
Thank you for your time,
Signature: Sarah – Malawi, Africa

Solifugid:  The Thing that Drives the Chief from His Chair

Solifugid: The Thing that Drives the Chief from His Chair

Dear Sarah,
We love your exotic letter with its colorful, local vocabulary.  This Arachnid is a Solifugid in order Solifugae, and though the members are commonly called Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions in North America, they are neither spiders nor scorpions with which they are classed in Arachnida.  In the Middle East they are called Camel Spiders and there is much internet hysteria surrounding their alleged traits.  Solifugids, including your local Things that Drive the Chief from His Chair, are formidable predators, and though they lack venom, we would not welcome a bite from a large individual.  We are featuring your submission and dubbing it our favorite end of the year posting.

Thank you for your prompt reply and for your assistance in helping me identify this creature. I am so pleased with your services I may call on them again. Thank you very much.
Sarah Sjoblom

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination