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

Subject: Carpenter Bee Robber Fly
Location: Johannesburg South Africa
November 21, 2013 2:47 am
I took these yesterday in my drive way.
Signature: Tiaan

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Hi Tiaan,
Thanks for sending us your photos of a Carpenter Bee Robber Fly,
Hyperechia marshalli, feeding on a Honey Bee.  They are a nice addition to our Food Chain tag.

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: mantis eating fly in tijuana
Location: south of the border
October 20, 2013 2:41 pm
Hello Bugman,
I was out watering my plants and this little brown mantis caught my eye. The last time I saw a mantis in TJ was about 30 years ago. This one was posing above one of my carrion flowers waiting for the stench of the flower to attract a bug. Two minutes later it was munching on a fly. Don’t really know the specific name for this mantis. Thanks for your time.
Signature: baja by foot

Possibly female California Mantis

Possibly female California Mantis

Dear baja by foot,
With the surge in popularity of organic gardening, more and more people are employing means other than pesticides to help control problematic insects, and that includes using predators like Preying Mantids, Lacewings and Lady Beetles.  While this is admirable, in some cases the widespread use of predators can have negative consequences at the local level.  The Preying Mantid ootheca that are sold are most commonly those of non-native species, and the Chinese Mantis and European Mantis are larger and more aggressive than our native species.  They not only compete for food, but they often make meals of our smaller native species.  We believe your mantis is a female California Mantis, Stagmomantis californica, and you can try comparing your image to this photo on BugGuide.

Possibly female California Mantis

Possibly female California Mantis

We hope your individual is fertile and that she will produce a future generation so that you can encounter the species year after year, instead of just once in three decades.

Mantis eats a Fly

Mantis eats a Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s happening here?
Location: Houston area, Texas
September 28, 2013 1:00 pm
I walked around these bugs in our river birch sapling for 10 minutes, trying to get my camera to focus on the right thing and also to figure out what was going on — if they were mating, or if one was getting eaten.
They were both about an inch and a half long. One appeared solid black with very hairy legs. The other, looking at the photo now, appears to be black and yellow.
Is the black one squeezing the other so hard it’s innards have come out?
They stayed where they were for about 5 minutes until I ventured too close, at which time the black one flew off, carrying the other one with it.
Signature: Jayne

Robber Fly eats Prey

Robber Fly eats Prey

Hi Jayne,
This is a nice photo for our Food Chain tag.  The predator is a Robber Fly, most likely a Bee Killer in the genus
Mallophora, possibly a Belzebul Bee Eater.  We cannot identify the prey from your photo, but it does not appear to be a bee or wasp which frequently fall prey to large Robber Flies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Parasites On Tomato Hornworm
Location: Tampa, Florida
September 22, 2013 5:17 pm
Dear What’s That Bug,
We are HUGE fans, for many years. Here is a great shot we though you’d enjoy! We sure enjoyed watching the bug show!
Signature: Bug Love, Ana & Cory

Parasitized Hornworm

Parasitized Hornworm:  Rustic Sphinx, we believe

Hi Ana & Cory,
This is definitely a parasited Hornworm, and the parasites are Braconids, however, we do not believe this is either a Tomato Hornworm or a Tobacco Hornworm.  The caudal horn does not resemble either species and the caterpillar appears to be feeding on some plant other than a member of the family Solanacea.  Compare your caterpillar to the images of a Tomato Hornworm or Five Spotted Hakmoth on Sphingidae of the Americas, and to the photos of a Tobacco Hornworm or Carolina Sphinx also on Sphingidae of the Americas.  Can you provide the name of the plant for us?  That might help assist in the species identification for your caterpillar.  Our best guess is that this might be the caterpillar of a Rustic Sphinx.  Compare the texture on the caudal horn and the head of your individual to the images posted to Sphingidae of the Americas and to BugGuide.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for responding!  I have to admit, that since I’m such a huge fan, I was on cloud nine all day from your nice response. Years ago, when I began college, I was curious about insects, and your site really inspired me to learn more. I learned so much from you. Now I’m a science teacher, and we play with bugs every chance we get, and my students are encouraged to catch them and display them (alive) in the classroom for a few days. You’ve never taught a lesson, until a giant katydid crawled on your (and your students’) arms! Cory is an environmental scientist and a lover of all “bugs” as well. He was also the photographer of this stunning shot.
After your help, we concur that it is a Rustic Sphinx Caterpillar. He/she was on a Beauty Berry, callicarpa americana, that is in my front yard. After research, the beauty berry is a rustic sphinx moth host plant. I can’t wait to share this with my students tomorrow. Unfortunately for the caterpillar (and the Braconids), it was eaten by a bird :(
Thanks again for your reply. We absolutely love what you do!
Ana & Cory
Tampa, FL

Hi again Ana & Cory,
Thank you for your inspirational email.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Help! Totally stumped with this insect!
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
September 16, 2013 5:37 pm
Hi there! I’m writing from Newfoundland, Canada. Today, sept 16, 2013 I came across an insect I have never seen before. I’m usually good with bugs – but this one has me stumped!
While walking through an alder bed with goldenrod I first observed the insect flying around and then landing on goldenrod. It looked a d behaved wasp like, pumping up and down. I never seen anything like it. Then I found a group of them ! They were attracted to a group of flies that had landed on something small and deceased. The flies were landing and walking on the carcass and the insects in question were skulking around – and then I watched one sneak up and grab a fly! Then I realized they were all doing this.
I had considered Robber Fly – but the antenna look totally wrong, so does everything else! But the behaviour is very similar! It’s predatory. I’d estimate the insect to be almost an inch in length.
Sorry for the long letter but I hope the details will help! Thank you so very much!!!
Signature: Jenny in Newfoundland

Brown and Gold Rove Beetle eats Blow Fly

Gold and Brown Rove Beetle eats Blow Fly

Dear Jenny,
This is one of the most exciting letters we have received in a very long time, and we are featuring it because of your thrilling personal observations and the gorgeous photos you have taken as proof of your observations.  In our untrained minds, you have made a significant scientific observation.  This is a Gold and Brown Rove Beetle,
Ontholestes cingulatus, and it appears to be preying on a Blow Fly.  According to BugGuide, the Gold and Brown Rove Beetle can be identified because it is “Large for a rove beetle. Dark brown and hairy. Clumps of hair forms dark spots on much of body. Yellow hair forms “belt” under thorax, covers parts of last abdominal segments. Head wider than pronotum. Eyes large, prominently placed on sides of head. Found on carrion and fungi. Often turns yellow tip of abdomen upward when walking.”  BugGuide also states its habitat is:  “on carrion wherever found” and “Eggs are laid near carrion or fungi,” but this is a rare BugGuide Information Page that does not discuss what the adult Gold and Brown Rove Beetle eats.  The large eyes are mentioned, and large eyes placed on the sides of the head would make a good hunter.  We suspect that the reason the Gold and Brown Rove Beetles are attracted to the Carrion is to prey upon flies as well as to lay eggs.  The developing Fly Maggots would compete with the larval Gold and Brown Rove Beetles’ food source, so eating the flies before they can breed on the carrion probably helps more Rove Beetles to survive to the adult stage.  Thanks again for your exciting submission.  We are going to feature it on our scrolling header as well.

Brown and Gold Rove Beetle preys upon Blow Fly

Gold and Brown Rove Beetle preys upon Blow Fly

Oh that’s so fascinating! Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!
It was just the most incredible thing watching those beetles hunt the flies. It took me by surprise at first! So I grabbed my camera and decided to photograph them grabbing and eating the flies. They moved so swiftly. They actually snuck up on the fly and then just grabbed them! There were about 7 of them around the carcass, and each one had a fly in it’s legs! So interesting! Especially since I never seen one before! I could have watched them for hours. Thank you so much for identifying this insect for me! I couldn’t figure out what it was and was going crazy! I’m so happy!
Many thanks!
Jennifer

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A botfly in the far North?
Location: Far North, Ont., Can.
September 15, 2013 9:23 am
I caught a mouse one night and found that there were four huge bumps on its back. I looked closer and saw what appeared to be botfly larvae in holes on each bump. I froze it and gave it to our local science teacher who dissected it with her class. Here’s a picture of what they dissected. Sure looks like a botfly to me!
I live in Fort Albany First Nation, Ontario, Canada, and I am surprised that there are botflys this far North! But is it really a botfly?
Signature: FAFN Resident

Rodent Bot Fly Larva removed from Dissected Mouse

Rodent Bot Fly Larva removed from Dissected Mouse

Dear FAFN Resident,
We concur that this is a Rodent Bot Fly Larva.  According to BugGuide Data, Bot Flies are found in Canada.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination