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

Assassin Bug follow up
A couple of days ago I sent a photo of an Assassin Bug, I think its in the Nymph stage. I’m keeping a close eye on the plant that has the Assassins on it. I went to the pet shop to buy some small crickets to stage an assassination. When I went to the plant, one of the nymphs had just taken another unknown bug. I took several pictures of the carnage. After a while I took off the back jumping legs of a small cricket, just pinch the upper part of the jumper and it falls off. I fed the prey to the aggressive hunter who took it immediately. While photographing the action, another Nymph joined in. It was quite the tug of war. They seemed to settle down after a few minutes and proceeded in what would be one of my worst nightmares. I hope you can tell me what kind of Assassin this is and what it may turn into. I have attached three new photos, 1 is what you consider carnage of the predators natural prey. 2 is a staged assassination of a store bought cricket. 3 A colossal battle of two creatures that may or may not be from another planet.Thanks

Hi Danny,
Thanks for sending your exciting letter and wonderful photographs. We pondered the merits of the natural predation versus the feeding intervention, and opted for the sensationalism of the “tug of war” between two Pselliopus Assassin Bug Nymphs and the store bought Cricket. Assassin Bugs in this genus are known as Sycamore Assassin Bugs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

ahhh!!! Praying mantis eating a Mouse!!! ICE!!!
Praying mantis eating Mice!!!
hey hey Bugman,
saw your carnage section of, and wanted to add some carnage in favor of our insectoid friends. Attached is some pictures of yes, a Mantis eating a Mice; it looks like a common green mantis, found here near DC, European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) and it had a ferocious appetite!!!

Did you take this photo?

yes, they were taking fall 2007, I have a few more pictures and a short video I believe. I live in the northern VA area, near DC.

Hi again TopheR,
Thanks for verifying that you are the author of this photo. When we first received it, we were reluctant to post without that confirmation because the image might have come from another website specializing in internet sensationalization. Now that you have been established as the author, we have additional questions and are ready to take the dialog online. There is still something about this image that doesn’t quite sit right with us. The mouse looks like a domestic mouse. No one will contest that Preying Mantids will eat what they can catch. We have seen photos of Mantids eating hummingbirds and lizards. Is this a captive Preying Mantis that was fed a pet store mouse?, or was it an actual documentary image of nature in action? The plant looks like a potted plant shot indoors, leading us to believe it is a staged photograph. We also want to clarify the difference between our Carnage pages and our Food Chain pages. Nature in action does not constitute carnage. Human intervention constitutes carnage. Insects eating one another and other life forms is the balance of nature, and those images find their way to our Food Chain section. Until we get a response from you regarding our latest queries, we will post your image to both Unnecessary Carnage (if the mouse was fed by you to the mantis for a sensational photo and video) and Food Chain (since the mantis did actually eat the mouse).

Update: Documentation of weird nature.
I had some pinkies I was feeding to my savannah monitor one at a time; I put them at the base of that ficus tree while I went to feed the lizard. The mantis was drawn to the movement of them, possibly the faint squeaking if they hear that good, and grabbed him one. I was suprised that the mantis could actually grab and hold onto it and climb because the pinkie mouse felt heavier than the mantis itself. The mantis ate enough of the mouse it kill it, but didnt finish all of it; it dined on the neck region of the mouse and then I assume after it was full, dropped the pinkie and proceeded to clean its claws and “fingers”.

Thanks for the clarification TopheR,
We will officially remove this entry from the Unnecessary Carnage page, and keep it on the Food Chain page where it belongs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What was that bug?
Hi Bugman !
I was recently visiting my folks in Maine, this cocoon(?) was in a maple tree in the yard. It is probably about 5 inches long. What do you think? Pondering in Portland,

Hi Jim,
This is a Cecropia Moth Cocoon. The small hole in the second photograph indicates that it may have been parasitized since it seems to small for the adult moth to have emerged.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hairy caterpillar waiting to be eaten by hatching ?wasps
Dear Daniel,
On several gum trees in our yard there are these batches of white eggs, each batch bearing a paralysed hairy caterpillar. I don’t know what the insects in the eggs are, but am assuming some type of wasp will hatch out. In the first photo there are two batches of eggs, with a crane fly that just happened to be resting there. Kind regards,

Hi Grev,
It is nice to get an image from one of our most consistant identifiers of Australian mysteries. You are correct about the wasps, but some of the details are wrong. These are pupae of Braconid Wasps, not eggs. The eggs were oviposited inside the caterpillar, and the larval wasps fed on the internal organs, sparing the vital organs for last to keep the caterpillar alive as long as possible. Then the pupae form on the outside. There is no paralysis with Braconids. The caterpillars are dead.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is going on here?
This creature landed on my window long enough for me to take the picture and then flew off for parts unknown. What captured the wasp? I overexposed the print for more detail.
Lauren Birthisel
Fort Worth, Texas

Hi Lauren,
We do not have the necessary skills to count wing veins nor antennae segments to exactly identify the insects in your photo, and the angle is an unusual one for comparison to usual photographs. We would wager this is a Robber Fly, but are not confident enough to take the ID any further. We will try to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion on both the fly and wasp.

Update: (03/26/2008)
Hi, Daniel:
The fly is a robber fly in the genus Mallophora. The victim is a paper wasp in the genus Polistes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

spider fight
I love your site, and frequently recommend it. I have several pictures I want to send you, but I guess I should start with these since I don’t know what one of the spiders is. The Wooodlose/Sowbug killer I know from seeing it on your site. The big black one looks a little bit like a trapdoor spider, but not enough for me to think it is one. I have seen several of them in my basement apartment, living in the walls or under the toilet. I have seen them making their rapid way across the floor in my bedroom and bathroom. They are quite large for this area, at least as big as a large Garden spider. Any ideas? I live in Toronto, Ontario. These pictures depict an exciting and epic battle between a sickly Woodlouse spider and a huge dude who came out of my wall. The outcome was never really in doubt. The Woodlouse spider, with his misshapen abdomen and lethargic movements, was no match for the black spider. Even on a good day he would have been outmatched. Red got bitten in the legs a few times and dragged back into the wall. My sister describes this encounter as her ‘worst nightmare.’ I have a lot more photos of this battle. Thanks for any help you might be able to give. Through your site I have identified most of the critters I have found in my apartment.
Tara Murphy

Hi Tara,
Sorry about the delay. Since we knew we would have difficulty with a correct identification, we posted some easier responses ahead of you, but the rivotting imagery you provided stayed in the back of our minds waiting to post this letter. So, we have no answer for you, but are thrilled to post your images in the hopes that someone out there can identify the victor.

Update: (03/26/2008)
Hi, Daniel:
The male sowbug killer is being attacked by a hacklemesh weaver in the family Amaurobiidae, not sure which genus. Wicked fangs on both!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination