Currently viewing the tag: "food chain"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identification of a bug / insect
Location: HMAS Cerberus, Hastings, Victoria
January 22, 2014 12:59 pm
Hi,
Hoping you can help me please.
I was at HMAS Cerberus earlier this week. I had asked my son to stand next to a monument for a photo. He spotted a bee and said “I’m not standing there, I don’t want to get stung” .. then out of nowhere, this huge bug / insect came flying past me, picked the bee out of the air and landed on the monument …. I told Jordan he didn’t have to worry about the bee anymore! hahaha
But taking photos of the insect, I have never seen one before and would like to find out what it is if possible. It’s an amazing looking bug. The feet on it look like hooves! Please see attached photos.
Thanks and kind regards,
Jen.
Melbourne, Australia
Signature: Jen – Jen’s Freelance Photography

Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Common Brown Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Hi Jen,
What an amusing anecdote you have provided.  Did Jordan worry about this considerably larger, predatory Robber Fly in the family Asilidae?  Based on photos on the Brisbane Insect website, we believe this might be a Common Brown Robber Fly in the genus
Zosteria.  Robber Flies are very adept hunters and they often take large prey, including bees and wasps, while on the wing, just as you witnessed.

Common Brown Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Common Brown Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for your reply.
Funnily enough, Jordan wasn’t as worried about the much larger “Robber Fly”.  It looked somewhat like a dragon fly and didn’t have a stinger on it’s tail so we were both thinking at the time that it was relatively harmless (until I read up on them!).  Seeing it take the bee mid flight, hearing an almost “thud” as it landed and then watching it devour it’s prey should have been a hint, in heinsight, that this was not a particularly friendly creature …. hahahaha.
I had sent an email to yourselves and also Pestworld.org   …  the people at Pestworld.org loved my images so much that they will now be using them on their website for identification purposes, which is fantastic.
Thanks so much for taking the time to get back to me.  Should I encounter any further strange little creatures in my travels, I will forward them on.
Thanks and kind regards,
Jen.
Jeannie Van Den Boogaard
Jen’s Freelance Photography

Hi again Jen,
For the record, Robber Flies do not prey upon people and we have never gotten a report from a person who was bitten by a Robber Fly.  We suspect that if a Robber Fly is captured in one’s hands, a bite might result.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Wasp and Spider
Location: Malaysia
January 22, 2014 2:45 pm
Dear Mr Marlos,
This is the stream in which that spider was found. Incidentally just for your interest as i was standing on one of these boulders this blue winged insect (perhaps a wasp?) the size of my big toe landed, when if flew off it left this carcass of a large spider it had been carrying about underneath.
N.Sathesh

Wasp

Wasp

Hi again N. Sathesh,
Your new images have us very intrigued and we are creating a brand new posting.  This blue winged creature is most definitely a wasp, but we are not certain if it is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompillidae.  The situation with the spider is very interesting.  We believe the Wasp bit the legs off the Spider to make it easier to transport.  In situations like this where a Wasp preys on a Spider or other insect, the prey is generally paralyzed to provide a food source for a larva.  We will try to identify this fascinating Wasp.  It resembles this Spider Wasp from Borneo on Alex Hyde’s website.

Spider with legs Amputated

Spider with legs Amputated

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Happy New Year
What’s That Bug? has been appearing as an online column since 1998 (originally on the now defunct American Homebody website) and then as a unique website since 2002.  If we consider the development of the website to be our true date of birth, we are beginning our thirteenth year online.  Our first Bug of the Month was the Dobsonfly in June 2006, and each month since then, we featured some bug that is representative of the season or relevant for some other reason.  Since the beginning of the new year is always a kind of rebirth, we thought you might enjoy this positively gorgeous set of images of the Metamorphosis of the Ladybird Beetle that were shot on Barbados.

Ladybird Beetle Eggs

Ladybird Beetle Eggs

Subject: different stages in a ladybird’s development
Location: Barbados
December 30, 2013 8:39 pm
Hi Daniel,
That is good to know. i will send in some pics occasionally but for now i think this set will make a great addition to your site. It is a set of the different stages in a ladybird’s development. eggs > larvae > pupa > adult and one of an adult with a buffet of aphids.
Regards,
Signature: Niaz

Ladybird Larva

Ladybird Larva

Dear Niaz,
Thank you so much for sending us your beautiful images documenting the metamorphosis of a Lady Beetle on Barbados.  We haven’t had much luck determining the species, however we are thrilled to find it is not the invasive, exotic Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, a species that has gotten a strong hold in North America, and which we fear might be resulting in a drop in the populations of native Lady Beetle species because of the fierce competition as well as aggressive predation.

Lady Beetle Pupa

Lady Beetle Pupa

It is the time of the month for us to select a Bug of the Month for January 2014, and we have selected your submission to run on our scrolling banner for the next month.  We thought metamorphosis would be a lovely subtext for the beginning of the new year.  So Happy New Year to all of our faithful readers as well as to our new visitors.

Lady Beetle from Barbados

Lady Beetle from Barbados

As an aside, the photo of the Lady Beetle feeding on the Aphids allows us to tag this as a Food Chain posting.

Lady Beetle feeds on Aphids

Lady Beetle feeds on Aphids

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug!!!!
Location: Sydney
December 12, 2013 5:54 pm
Howdy,
My wife took a photo of this and after a bit of searching, could it be a Spider Wasp?
I have 2 kids under the age of 2 who love to play outside, are they a pest and should i try to exterminate them?
Signature: Michael

Spider Wasp stalks Spider

Spider Wasp stalks Spider

Dear Michael,
You are correct that this is a Spider Wasp, and it is stalking a Spider in one of your photos.  You do not need to fear this Spider Wasp attacking your children unless they look like spiders, which we highly doubt.  Female Spider Wasps are more concerned about providing food for their broods than they are about stinging innocent children, though we would not entirely discount the possibility of getting stung if the Spider Wasps are handled or stepped on.  Again, we want to stress that they are not aggressive toward humans and we don’t believe there is any need to take the steps to exterminate them, which would probably be nearly impossible anyways.  Social Wasps pose a much greater threat because they try to defend their nests, while solitary wasps like Spider Wasps do not have the same defense instincts.  We will try to identify both the wasp and the spider after we do some yardwork in our own neglected garden.  Alas, you photo does lack critical detail, but the spider appears to be a Wolf Spider.  We have nice photos in our archive of a Spider Wasp preying upon a Wolf Spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Crab Spider with Flesh Fly in Cyprus
Location: Nicosia (Lefkosia), Cyprus
December 6, 2013 2:49 pm
Seems the site submissions might have slowed down a bit so thought I would send you a two-part submission of the same beautiful yellow lady spider on different days back last February (though mistakingly the pictures are titled with 0212 it was 0213).
The first day she had captured what I believe is a flesh fly (which I know because of this site).
What I find amazing is she’s not holding on with her legs.
So, the question is, is there a name for this crab spider?
Part two coming in a moment.
Signature: Curious Girl

Crab Spider Eats Fly

Crab Spider Eats Fly

Subject: Crab Spider with Mate in Cyprus
Location: Nicosia (Lefkoşa), Cyprus
December 6, 2013 2:56 pm
Hi Again Daniel!
This is the second part showing the Beautiful Yellow Crab Spider on her flower in the first picture. But when I looked closely at her I realized she had additional legs encircling her. That’s when I realized she was being courted and I took a lot of pictures (so I have more if you want them). The little guy was all over her, as can be seen in the second picture.
Really amazing the size difference. On the flower next to her too was at least one other gentleman I guess hoping for a chance but not willing to get on the flower yet. I have some pics of him too.
Signature: Curious Girl

Crab Spiders Mating

Crab Spiders Mating

Dear Curious Girl,
Thanks for waiting until our number of submissions declined.  North American winter is our slowest time of the year for identification requests, but that is also the time the Australian, South African and other southern hemisphere submissions peak, but there are not nearly as many as we get during the summer.  Most of our northern hemisphere submissions at this time are for carpet beetles and other household intruders.  Your photos are awesome.  We cannot confirm that the prey is a Flesh Fly, and though your photos say it all, we would love to be able to provide you with a species name for this lovely Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae.  The knobs on the abdomen are quite distinctive, and if this species is like others in the family, color is not an accurate identifying feature as many Crab Spiders are colored so they blend in with their surroundings, which your photos graphically illustrate.  We found a similar looking individual posted to PBase and again her on PBase, but alas, there is no species ID.  There is another unidentified image on TrekNature.  We wonder if this might be the Goldenrod Crab Spider ,
Misumena vatia, which according to Animal Diversity Web, is found in Europe as well as North America.

Crab Spiders Mating

Crab Spiders Mating

Correction Update:  December 8, 2013 7:44 am
I saw the pictures of the yellow Thomisidae spider of which you say it might be Misumena vatia. Of course I am no specialist at all, only generally interested in insects and spiders, but I have seen several Misumena vatia females here in Europe (Germany and other countries) and not one had these two tubercles (if this is the right word). I understand that such tubercles occur in genus Thomisus, and I found a picture of a spider that is similar to those posted by “Curious Girl”, identified as T. onustus:
http://www.treknature.com/gallery/photo155051.htm
Kind regards, Erwin
Signature: Erwin Beyer

Thanks so much for the correction Erwin.  It is greatly appreciated.  Nick’s Spiders of Britain and Europe has some wonderful photos showing various color variations on Thomisus onustus, including a yellow form, and they all have the bumps on the abdomen.  Encyclopedia of Life also pictures a yellow individual that closely resembles the spider photographed by Curious Girl.

Curious Girl Writes Back
Ah well, you snooze you lose :~)
I was going to reply to tell you that I had found the spider name. Of course I needed to be reminded, or prompted by you but, I’ve found if I look up insects of Greece that many of those found on Cyprus will be revealed as they share a similar zoology (?). So, I had found Thomisus onustus as the genus name but the common English name is Heather Spider. Not all that different from Goldenrod.
Ironically, just before I left on my big travel adventure I randomly found a Goldenrod Crab Spider in my bed. An odd place for her I thought. I had seen pictures of them and found them fascinating so hoped to find one someday but really was not expecting one where I found her. That one was white with the pretty pink bands.
Seems the Heather Spider can be yellow (as we see) white, pink, and even partly green.
I wonder though if you noticed that not only does she happened to have what appears to be pollen on her pedipalps but also that her silk seems very yellow as well. She’s also missing a front leg on her right side.
Seems the little ones will eat pollen and nectar if they can’t capture prey. Might help them with their color change miracles.
Good job to Erwin on identifying the spider, and maybe he can find an identification for the wasps from Germany I sent in last year. :~)
Oh, and thank you for the compliments on my pics. When I get the others ready I’ll send a few more to you (if you’d like).

Oh, and the Encyclopedia of Life link has the common Portuguese name for the spider which is “Aranha-florícola-de-tubérculos” which makes me happy because Portugal is my favorite place in the world. This leads to a great picture of a spider guarding her egg-sac.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/luisgaifem/5989104744/

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bug/larvae attaking and eating millipede
Location: Tehachapi CA
November 27, 2013 12:50 pm
Hi there bugman, last night I was out letting my dog go to the bathroom when he started rubbing on the ground. When I checked what he was rubbing against, I found a millipede being attcked or grabbed by some type of larvae. I caught the 2 animals and now the millipede is dead with its head off and the larvae eating away at it. The larvae looks segmented with six legs, black in color with the sides a dark brown. I have never seen this before so I wanted to know what it was. The third picture is showing the bug eating the millipede inside the head.
Signature: Angel

Glowworm (below) will Millipede Prey

Glowworm (below) will Millipede Prey

Dear Angel,
If you checked out this dramatic occurrence in darkness, you might have noticed the predatory larva glowing, because it is a Glowworm.  Glowworms prey upon Millipedes and we have nice documentation on our site of an eastern Glowworm eating a Millipede.  Your species if probably a Western Banded Glowworm
Zarhipis integripennis, and you may verify its identity on BugGuide.

Glowworm Eats Millipede

Glowworm Eats Millipede

Thank you very much, Daniel Marlos. What is interesting is that I checked the bug guide and it says that these bugs are active during Jan-Feb, but it is late November and getting really cold. Well anyway, thanks again for your help.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination