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

Subject: scary hybrid looking bug
Location: Western Oklahoma USA
August 18, 2014 5:57 pm
My assistant found this bug in her dog’s water dish.
Signature: Beth Tones

Grasshopper Lure???

Grasshopper Lure???

Hi Beth,
This “thing” looks Orthopteran, like a Grasshopper, however it is missing its jumping legs.  Though it is somewhat realistic, it does not look like any species of Grasshopper we are familiar with, and we are entertaining the possibility that it is a lifelike fishing lure not unlike the many examples pictured on the Realistic Fishing Lures and Fly Tying page of Graham Owen’s Gallery.

Grasshopper or Fishing Lure???

Grasshopper or Fishing Lure???

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a wood wasp?
Location: North Yorkshire England
August 6, 2014 2:25 pm
Hi I was at work today putting up a fence when I felt a pain in my leg. I looked and was not sure what it was I knocked it away and in doing so unfortunately killed the insect. It had however stung me and it is incredibly painful even now 10 hours later. I am from the north east of England and have never seen such a creature please help me identify it!
Signature: James Rowe

Great Wood Wasp

Great Wood Wasp

Dear James,
This is indeed a Great Wood Wasp, and we are quite surprised to learn of your experience.  According to UK Safari:  “The female (above) has a long pointed tube at the back of her body, and this is often mistaken for a stinging organ. In fact it’s an ovipositor, which she uses to lay her eggs in the trunks of coniferous trees. Despite their appearance, these insects are quite harmless.”  Knowing that and also knowing that the female lays her eggs beneath the surface of the bark of a tree, we believe it is entirely possible that this Great Wood Wasp mistook your leg for a conifer, and tried to lay eggs.  Do you use pine scented soap?  We do not believe she was trying to sting you.  It is also possible that she used her powerful mandibles to nibble at your leg.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your speedy and informative response. This is indeed very likely as I was at the time building a fence using pine timber and it is very possible that the timber would have come into contact with my leg. There is in all 5 “sting” marks on my leg so it is possible that she has had a nibble. It is rather swollen and painful. What could this be? It does feel like a general bee/wasp sting. Could she have laid her eggs?
Many Thanks,
James Rowe

Hi again James,
This is quite perplexing and contrary to all we have read, so we are tagging this posting as a mystery.  We suppose if you were jabbed with her ovipositor accidentally, it is also possible that she deposited eggs.  Unless you have a wooden leg, you shouldn’t have much to worry about, however, as we are not medical doctors, should any irritation persist, you might want to seek medical attention.

Eric Eaton Concurs
Daniel:
I would concur with your assessment, except I doubt she would have laid eggs.  After five attempts she may have concluded “this is not a tree.”  In any event, I agree he should seek medical attention if symptoms persist or get worse.
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Blue jumping spider??
Location: Austin, TX west hills
August 6, 2014 8:44 am
A friend, an arachnophobe no less, posted a pic of a beautiful tiny blue spider that looks like a jumping spider to me but I couldn’t find another matching it’s blueness anywhere online. Is this a really rare blue jumping spider?
Signature: LauraMaura

Blue Jumping Spider???

Blue Jumping Spider???

Dear LauraMaura,
How well do you know this friend?  Is your friend a practical joker?  Excuse us for being skeptical, but we have had submissions in the past that have tried to hoodwink us.  See here and here.  We believe this is a Cardinal Jumper,
Phidippus cardinalis, a species found in Texas, and we believe that the color has been altered in photoshop.  See BugGuide for an image of the Cardinal Jumper.  We know of no electric blue Jumping Spiders in North America.  We began our investigation by cropping much closer and then lightening and cropping a second time.  The edges around the spider do not look right.

Cropped Blue Jumping Spider:  Hoax or Not???

Cropped Blue Jumping Spider: Hoax or Not???

Blue Jumping Spider has questionable edges.

Blue Jumping Spider has questionable edges.

Then we found a similar Cardinal Jumper from our archives and we created a color altered version of the file, which we present side by side for comparison.  Click on the image to enlarge.  You judge:  Hoax or Not???

Cardinal Jumper:  Real and Enhanced color

Cardinal Jumper: Real and Enhanced color

Apparently his camera phone auto-adjusted and this is the color that the spider appeared in the photo, though the photographer says it was more black than blue in person.

Thanks for that information.  The overall color on the original is not true to nature, leaning toward cyan, which might make a black spider appear blue.  Black is a common color for a Jumping Spider.  This is definitely a Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae, but there is not enough detail to determine the exact species.

 

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Long blue worm
Location: Dickson, Tn (near Nashville)
July 22, 2014 4:52 pm
Found this worm hanging in an oak tree on July 20 by a silk thread. It is 5-6 inches long and iridescent in the sunlight. Can’t find any info about it, hoping you can help. Thanks.
Signature: Carole

Blue Worm:  Hoax or Real???

Blue Worm: Hoax or Real???

Dear Carole,
We have no idea what this is, but it does not look natural and it appears to have been hung by a human.

Blue worm

Blue worm

So sorry to bother you.  I came to the same conclusion you did  this afternoon as I got more curious and decided to get a step ladder out and touch it.  Turns out it is a fishing lure.  I still have no idea how it got into a tree in my back yard.  My yard is fenced with no gate and I have several dogs (they are friendly).  I hung a chandelier on the next branch over not long ago and the worm was not there then.  I live alone and do not fish.  It is now a new mystery.  Thank you so much for your time.  A friend sent me to your site…it is really interesting.  Again sorry for sending you on a wild goose chase.   Carole

Don’t worry Carole.  Your submission prompted a robust dialog in our comment section and led to some nice links of “real” blue worms in various parts of the world.

Detail of Blue Worm

Detail of Blue Worm

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mysterious bright green glow–bugs?
Location: Carlsbad, CA
July 9, 2014 9:09 am
Last nite our friend took us to their rental home here in Carlsbad, CA to show us some mysterious glowing objects. I could not believe my eyes. In several nearby trees there were many dozens of bright, emerald green glowing objects that seemed to be about the size of a marble. We guessed there were 100 – 200 spread out over half a dozen trees in four different home’s backyards. None were low enough to the ground to observe, all were 15 to 30 feet high in the trees. The objects did not move, the glow was continuous, not flashing like a firefly. I’ve loved insects all my life, so I am more familiar with them than most people, but this has me completely stumped. Could it be a prank? Don’t know. If it is, there is no way to figure out how anyone could do it. If you have any ideas about what this phenomenon could be, let me know. Worst case I’ll drive back to the neighborhood and start asking the neighbors about it.
Signature: Doug H

Poorly focused image of greenery

Poorly focused image of greenery

Dear Doug,
The image you submitted is a poorly focused image of greenery in the sun, not a night shot of glowing insects.

Daniel,  I know, I don’t have an image of the “light mystery” because they were not accessible.  I was hoping that a description alone might be sufficient.
Doug

Thanks for the clarification Doug.  We often receive “crank” identification requests with doctored images, and though there was a note of seriousness in your request, the image you included was obviously not the phenomenon you were inquiring about.  The only glowing insect that comes to mind that is found in California is the California Glowworm, but to the best of our knowledge, they are not found in trees.  Perhaps one of our readers will provide some insight into the bioluminescent phenomenon you witnessed.

I may go back over to that neighborhood and see if I can get close to one of the glowing objects.  I’ll let you know when I do.  I won’t give up on this.
None of the glowing objects were lower on the trees than about 15 feet above the ground, and there were a couple of hundred.
Doug

We are very curious about this Doug, and we hope to get a followup report with images.

Well my friends, the sad truth is that I went over the neighborhood w/ the glowing lights in the trees, and I asked a homeowner if he know the source. He sure did…he bought some special projection lights from Disney that cast green glowing dots all over the place!!!!  Go figure.  I swear, I looked really carefully to see if these things could be faked, but nothing was obvious, esp at a distance.  Sorry for the false alarm.
Doug

Thanks for solving the mystery Doug.  We are sorry to learn you were the victim of a hoax.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: UK
June 4, 2014 10:24 am
My friend found it on his lampshade. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Signature: Don’t really care.

Tarantula Hawk???

Tarantula Hawk???

Dear Don’t really care,
We thought this resembled a Tarantula Hawk, but we couldn’t figure out why it was sighted in the UK, so we contacted Eric Eaton.  His reply is posted below.  Can you provide any additional details regarding the sighting?  Did your friend recently receive any packages from abroad?

Eric Eaton’s Response
Definitely a pompilid (spider wasp), and it looks like Hemipepsis or Pepsis.  I’d be curious to know the circumstances under which it was found.  It is probably a stowaway in a shipment from the southwest U.S. or Central or South America.
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination