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

Subject: Some bug love
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
April 1, 2016 7:51 pm
Thought you might get a kick out of a very odd pairing discovered where I work. A male common Morpho (Morpho peleides) mating with a female atlas moth (Attacus atlas). Photographed at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale, Arizona. I know it’s April Fools day but the pictures are not “photo shopped”. (For some reason the Commodors song “She’s a Brick House” keeps running through my head). Of course they are not genetically compatible but it’s fun to imagine what offspring would look like……
Signature: Butterfly wrangler

Morpho mating with Atlas Moth!!!

Morpho mating with Atlas Moth!!!

Dear Butterfly Wrangler,
We cannot imagine what would have spawned this Unnatural Selection.  Though it is not photoshopped, can you also state there was no human intervention involved?  Forgive us for being suspicious, but we are frequently targeted with pranks and hoaxes.

Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection

Lepidopterist Julian Donahue comments
Spring is in the air!

Interoffice Communication
Hey Max, I sent a couple of photos of the moth/Morpho pairing to “what’s that bug?” Web site . Their response is below.
If this wasn’t an elaborate April Fools joke would you like to respond to the email below to assure them the pairing was not manipulated?  (If this was a joke it was a good one!) If you would rather be anonymous and not email them I’ll understand. If you don’t mind answering them, I think you mentioned seeing a different pair of inter-species breeding on the same Palm. They may be interested in what those species were as well.
Let me know. 😊
Paula Swanson
Assistant Curator
Butterfly Wonderland

A second substantiation
Dear Daniel,
There was no manipulation in the Atlas-Morpho mating. It is actually the second time I have seen this. See attached photo from May 2015( which also has a second morpho trying to squeeze in). The only thing I did, was after the photos were taken I used my tweezers to gently move the wings to see if the genitals were actually in union, which they were. I have another photo of an Atlas mating with a Mormon, but I can’t find it. I will look for it when I get to work later.
Sincerely,
Max B. Shure
Butterfly Curator
Butterfly Wonderland

Documentation of another Morpho Butterfly and Atlas Moth pairing

Documentation of another Morpho Butterfly and Atlas Moth pairing

Thanks so much for the follow-up Max.  This is so fascinating.  We wonder if perhaps there is some similarity in the pheromones released by the two species.  Since they occur naturally on different continents, they would not normally interact with one another, but captivity in the Butterfly Wonderland has brought together two species that would never naturally interact with one another.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Packing the Garage
Location: Arizona
October 27, 2015 10:27 pm
I was packing the garage and saw this on the ground I was kinda scared of it and assumed it was a bad bug like a cockroach sac or something and squished it and was very confused to have green liquid come out. I don’t think there was anything in it so I am worried about what it was.
Signature: Scared of these things

Moth Pupa

Moth Pupa

This is a squashed Moth pupa.

Thank you for responding. So that is common for them to have green liquid on the inside?

When a caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis and enters the pupal stage, the interior organs break down into what scientists refer to as “soup” and here is the explanation from Scientific American:  “But what does that radical transformation entail? How does a caterpillar rearrange itself into a butterfly? What happens inside a chrysalis or cocoon?  First, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out. But the contents of the pupa are not entirely an amorphous mess. Certain highly organized groups of cells known as imaginal discs survive the digestive process. ”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Velvet Ant, Wingless Butterfly?
Location: Central Nebraska
September 8, 2015 7:08 am
A colleague of mine snapped this photo in a Central Nebraska field – not sure what it is. Shows some similarities to velvet ants – but I have never seen this species if it is one and I have never seen one this “hairy”. Someone else suggested that it may be a butterfly without wings – not sure how that would happen.
Signature: T. J. Walker

Wingless Male Bumblebee

Wingless Male Bumble Bee

Dear T.J.,
We didn’t have enough time to do any research this morning, and even posting took too much time.  We did manage to write the following to Eric Eaton:  “Hi Eric,  This looks like a wingless Hymenopteran, but it doesn’t look like any Velvet Ant I have seen.  Except for the antennae, it looks vaguely moth like.  Thoughts?  It is from Nebraska.  Daniel”

Wingless Male Bumbleb  Bee
Daniel:
It is a male bumble bee that may not have developed wings during the pupa stage.  Been getting a few reports of this in paper wasps, first one I’ve seen for a bumble bee.
Eric

So T.J., an identification isn’t enough for us.  We want to know how to tell a male Bumble Bee from a female, and we suspect the antennae play a big part.  We are curious if not having wings will prevent this male from mating because we know Bees mate in the air.  We believe, like the Luna Moth image we just posted, that your Bumble Bee will not produce progeny.  We want to know if the winglessness is a genetic mutation, the result of some trauma to the developing Bee, or something entirely unexpected.

Daniel, thanks.
Would not have gotten to that identification.  Don’t know if I have seen a gray and white bumblebee.
I have CC’d the photographer, Ben Wheeler.
Ben, see below.
T. J. Walker

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Creepy bug in my house
Location: Ontario , Canada
July 17, 2015 10:18 am
Hi . Found this bug in my apartment and it freaked me out .. Kind of looks like a fly but it didn’t have wings …
Signature: Sbro

Wingless Fly

Wingless Fly

Dear Sbro,
This is definitely a Fly and it does not have any visible wings, but we don’t believe it to be a wingless species.  We suspect it is either a mutant or that it has experienced some trauma that resulted in the loss of the wings, but we are posting your image in the event that someone with better identification skills than our own can provide a species name and a theory on the winglessness.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Morphing Pods
Location: John Bryan State Park – Yellow Springs, OH
June 7, 2015 9:06 am
I live in Ohio and was walking through the woods on May 17th. We were down by the creek and on the over hanging rocks we found these strange pods. Some looked like they could be scale bugs but as we examined more we could see the cycle unfold. The pale off white dripping pods eventually turned into so sort of flying insect. Could you shed any light on what sort of creatures they could be?
Thank you!
Signature: Curious Naturalist

Mystery Insects

Mystery Insects may be Fungus Infection

Dear Curious Naturalist,
We wish you had better quality images.  We do not know what is going on here, but it appears there are several different species of insects along with what you are calling “Morphing Pods”, and we have not been able to find anything similar looking online.  The larger white bodies insects with dark markings and wings do not look familiar to us, but hopefully one of our readers will be able to provide some information.  Can you provide any additional information regarding the size of the things in question?

Mystery

Fungus Infection

Mystery

Fungus Infection

I am sorry about the quality I only had my phone on my at the time. They were no bigger than a small fingernail. It was almost as if they were globs sprouting wings, then eyes and so on. At first I thought it was the early life cycle of another insect I had seen but I am an amateur and can not tell if they are similar enough. here is what I thought they MIGHT turn into.  Thank you so much for taking the time to help me with this mystery.

Golden Backed Snipe Fly

Golden Backed Snipe Fly

Thanks for the additional information.  The new image you provided is a Golden Backed Snipe Fly and we don’t believe it has any connection to the pods you observed.

Eric Eaton confirms our own suspicion
Daniel:
I’m thinking the “cycle” is the other way around.  It looks clear to me that these are midges that have become infected with some kind of entomopathic fungus.  This is certainly well-documented in other flies, but I haven’t seen a group effect like this before.
Eric

Thanks so much Eric,
We had pondered the possibility that this might be a fungus.  Thanks for the confirmation.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What Are These?!
Location: Southern California
April 25, 2015 3:52 am
I work at a convenience store, and OVER NIGHT something laid seseme seed-like eggs in all if our employee cups!!
Ive searched the internet looking for answers, but found nothing! Is it dangerous, poisonous? Help us!
Signature: InconvenientEmployee

What's In The Cup???

What’s In The Cup???

Dear Inconvenient Employee,
We are flummoxed by your request.  This is so strange we don’t know where to start.  Were these things found anywhere but inside the cups?  Their rapid appearance and the specificity of their location seems to suggest a disgruntled employee, or perhaps there is a prankster in your midst. 

What Left This???

What Left This???

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination