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

Subject: House Centipede food chain
Location: near Madison, WI
September 2, 2012 2:39 am
Something slithery and oddly shaped caught my eye this evening. It turned out to be a large house centipede dragging a moth across our shed wall. I thought you might want a photo for your food chain section.
Signature: Sherrán

House Centipede eats Moth

Dear Sherrán,
Your Food Chain image of a House Centipede eating a Moth is an excellent addition to our website.  We are always happy to receive photos of living House Centipedes as they are so frequently the subject of Unnecessary Carnage images.  We also like to lobby for the preservation of the somewhat frightening House Centipede within homes as they help to eliminate unwanted nocturnal foraging insects like cockroaches.  We have discovered that House Centipedes will often come to a light source at night to feast on the other insects that are attracted to the lights.

Thanks very much.   I’m delighted to be able to contribute to such a great website.
I have a strict no-kill policy at my house, so you may rest assured that no house centipedes (or other bugs) have been harmed here.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Food chain: cicada killer in action
Location: Takoma Park MD
August 24, 2012 4:41 pm
Hello WTB,
This cicada killer startled me somewhat as I was out weeding the garden. I initially thought it had deposited a bit of trash. When I realized the ”trash” was an annual cicada, I dashed in to fetch the camera and thought you’d like to see the outcome.
Signature: Takoma Park animal lover

Cicada Killer with Annual Cicada

Dear Takoma Park animal lover,
Wow, what a marvelous series of photos. 

Cicada Killer with food for her brood.

The female Cicada Killer is really a powerfully built wasp to drag and glide back to her burrow with a paralyzed Cicada for each egg she lays.

Female Cicada Killer provides for her offspring


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Monarch Caterpillar under Attack
location:  St. Augusta, Minnesota
August 20, 2012
Hi Daniel.
I’m editting photos now, and just came across something interesting.  This fifth instar monarch caterpillar may be under attack by a fly.
Although the photo isn’t as clear as I’d like, if you look near the caterpillar’s head you can see what appears to be a small fly.  I assume it was attracted to the droppings left from the caterpillar’s overnight binge.  I wish I’d noticed it when I was doing the photo.  This seems to be a smaller species than the one I previously noted (August 14th).
This has been a very difficult year for the monarchs and other butterflies here; many many predators and parasites and now, drought.  The spring was spectacular for bug nuts like me, seeing species not usually seem this far north and large numbers of monarchs on our milkweeds.  But it quickly dropped off as we got into the more normal summer season.
Cheers.  And thanks again for your incredible service!
Don J. Dinndorf
St. Augusta (central), Minnesota

Monarch Caterpillar preyed upon by Tachinid Fly

Hi Don,
While we cannot make out details, we can be relatively certain that this Monarch Caterpillar is being preyed upon by a Tachinid Fly, perhaps even the same species of Tachinid Fly from your August 14 submission.  What a marvelous addition to our Food Chain tag despite the sorrow of you losing one on your Monarch Caterpillars to predation, or rather, parasitization.

Thanks, Daniel.  Next time, maybe I’ll get a clearer shot.
The flies have just been murder here.  I lost four metamorphosing caterpillars just today.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Another reason to hate Asian Lady Beetles
Location: Central MN
August 14, 2012 8:21 am
Hello bug nuts!
I found this (presumed) native lady beetle larva in our garden last night, and then another on a different milkweed. But the second was being consumed by a much larger lady beetle larva, (presumably) of the Asian Lady Beetle variety.
Our milkweeds are being bombarded by another exotic species, the Oleander Aphid, so this ladybug on ladybug violence just seems unnecessary.
Thanks again for your exceptional site! I visit it everyday.
Signature: Don J. Dinndorf

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle Larva eats Native Lady Beetle Larva

Hi Don,
Thank you for submitting this heartbreaking documentation.  We doubt there is little that can be done regarding the invasion of the exotic Asian Multicolored Lady Beetles as they have already become established coast to coast in North America.  It has long been known that native Lady Beetles are becoming scarcer, but the reasons are not fully understood.  The Agricultural Landscape Ecology Lab at Ohio State University is conducting a study.  We don’t know if this cannibalism is documented elsewhere, but we will try to find out additional information.  We did locate this article entitled Predation and cannibalism of lady beetle eggs by adult lady beetles by Ted E. Cottrell.  We have long thought that the Oleander Aphids are seriously compromising our native Indian Milkweed here in Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA.  When the Oleander Aphids are plentiful, the milkweed gets a type of mildew.  The problem is further exacerbated because the Argentine Ants protect and disperse the Aphids because they want the honeydew.  Plants with dense Aphid populations are not producing seeds.  We will try to figure out what species your native Lady Beetle Larva belongs to.  Here is information from the USDA fact sheet on the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle:  “Multicolored Asian lady beetles have become a problem in some regions of the United States. It is probable that their introduction into new habitats in the United States freed these lady beetles from some natural population checks and balances that occur within their native Asian range. It is likely that these natural controls will catch up to the lady beetles in time and curtail their booming population. Additionally, a period of time may be required for checks and balances of our native lady beetles to adapt to this newcomer.”  The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle is still considered to be a beneficial insect and it is expected that its population will eventually stabilize and it is unknown if its presence is responsible for the decline of native species.

Lady Beetle Larva


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider from Serbia
Location: Serbia, Tara mountain.
August 13, 2012 2:34 pm
these pictures of spider were taken in Serbia, Tara mountain ( ) near Lake Zaovine.
Signature: Milosh

Harvestman scavenges dead Millipede

Hi Milosh,
You did not provide much background on this photograph, so we will speculate.  This is not a Spider.  It is a Harvestman or Daddy-Long-Legs in the Arachnid order Opiliones.  Harvestmen are scavengers that will eat dead creatures as well as plant material.  It appears the Millipede in this photo was a casualty of some accident and the Harvestman appears to be feeding upon the corpse.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a baby praying mantis?
Location: Kingston, New York
August 10, 2012 5:01 pm
HI- My father found a whole bunch of these bugs nesting in his 2nd story windows. They are in 3 different windows always on the north side. IF they are baby praying Mantis– what should we do with them? Thank you!
Signature: Maria Juliano

Tree Cricket found in a Nest

Hi Maria,
This is a Tree Cricket, not a young Preying Mantis, and it is an adult.  Neither Tree Crickets nor Preying Mantids make a nest for their young.  We suspect your father discovered the nest of a Grass Carrying Wasp.  A female Grass Carrying Wasp makes a nest of grass, often in the tracks of windows, and she provisions the nest with Tree Crickets or other Orthopterans so her brood of larvae that cannot catch food for themselves will have a fresh food supply.  Many wasps provide for young in this manner, and the sting of these wasps has evolved to deliver just enough venom to paralyze the species that the wasp preys upon.  Paralyzing rather than killing the prey ensures that the prey will remain a fresh food source for the larvae instead of drying out.   See BugGuide for additional information on Grass Carrying Wasps.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination