Currently viewing the tag: "Unidentified"
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Subject: Another Costa Rican Caterpillar
Location: Tortuguero, Costa Rica
January 1, 2015 5:55 pm
Hi Bugman,
This caterpillar was found near Tortuguero on the northern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Any ideas what species it is?
Signature: Jon

Silkmoth Caterpillars

Colobura annulata Caterpillars

Dear Jon,
We believe these caterpillars are in the subfamily Hemileucinae, and we even located a matching image from Panama on Monga Bay, but it is not identified.
  We are going to contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide an identification.

Silkmoth Caterpillars

Colobura annulata Caterpillars

Daniel,
Not sure, but I think they may be butterfly larvae in Nymphalidae family. Elongated scoli from head lead me to that suspicion.
Bill

Thanks for the tip Bill.  We quickly located an image of Colobura annulata on FlickR that was identified by butterfly expert Keith Wolfe that is a perfect match.  Butterflies of America has images of both caterpillar and adult.  According to Butterflies of Amazonia:  “The eggs are white and laid in groups of between 2-10 on leaves of the foodplant. The young larvae feed on Cecropia leaves and make ‘frass chains’ i.e. chains of droppings linked together by strands of silk, which protrude from the edges of the leaves. When not feeding they rest on these frass chains, which provide them with a defence against marauding ants. For reasons that are not fully understood, ants seem unwilling to walk over frass chains. The fully grown larvae are velvety black and adorned with white rosetted spines along the back, and yellow spines along the sides. They live and feed gregariously in groups of between 5 and 20. When feeding they bite through the stems, causing alleochemics ( anti-herbivore juices ) to bleed from the plant, stopping it from mobilising chemicals into the area being eaten.”  The images of the Cecropia Tree on Academic Evergreen look very much like the leaves upon which your caterpillars are feeding.

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Subject: Unknown Very Small Bee Species
Location: Lamar county, South Mississippi
December 25, 2014 6:14 pm
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f95_1347056701
Above is a link to a video I posted of an unidentified bee species I found in my back yard one day. I realize the video isn’t the best quality but it’s all I have. They were so small once I left the area I couldn’t find them again to obtain a specimen. I can tell you my finger seen in the video is 2 cm wide, exactly, if you can use that for size reference.
If you pause it near the end you can get a decent profile of it and it’s characteristics. They lived in a small hole which was guarded by the abdomen of a colony member. They appeared to be gatherers but were so fast I couldn’t see what they were bringing back. My first impression was that I was looking at a queen fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) ready to swarm as the bees had amber, shiny bodies just like fire ants. But their flight characteristics said bee to me. They weren’t aggressive when I probed the opening with a small piece of grass, they just removed it and continued to keep the entrance sealed with an abdomen.
I have passed this video around to a few local entomologists and they keep telling me bees don’t get that small and they can’t tell without a specimen. All the research I have done has produced similar looking insects like Sphecodes but I can’t find any that fit into this size range.

Thank you.
Signature: Steven Cimbora

Bee or Wasp???

Bee or Wasp???

Dear Steven,
Your video shows what appears to be a Mining Bee in the family Andrenidae.  According to BugGuide:  “Many small, ground-nesting bees observed in areas of sandy soil are members of the family, Andrenidae. Characteristics of this family (of which there are approximately 3000 species) are: Small size, 20 mm, (or smaller) brown to black in color, and nesting in a burrow in areas of sparse vegetation, old meadows, dry road beds, sandy paths. Although the nests are built in close proximity of one another, the bees are solitary (each female capable of constructing a nest and reproducing). Many species are active in March and April when they collect pollen and nectar from early spring blooming flowers. The female bee digs a hole 2-3 inches deep excavating the soil and leaving a pile on the surface. She then digs a side tunnel that ends in a chamber (there are about 8 chambers per burrow). Each chamber is then filled with a small ball of pollen and nectar. An egg is laid on the top of each pollen ball and the female seals each brood chamber. The emerging larval bees feed on the pollen/nectar ball until they pupate.”  We are shocked that your local entomologists have no knowledge of these native, small, ground-nesting Mining Bees.

Head of a Mining Bee preparing to exit

Head of a Mining Bee preparing to exit (from our archives)

Thank you for the quick response.
I just wanted to point a few things out that run contrary to the Mining Bee’s description based on my personal observations of them.
I observed fellow nest members guarding the entrance with their abdomen, as seen in the video.
The nest entrance is perfectly clean of any mounding or tunnel waste and I observed more than one bee leave and return to the entrance. A few times there were several hovering near it waiting to enter.
The size range of 20 mm or smaller is starting out at the width of my finger, seen in the video which is 20mm or 2 cm wide. I would estimate their size at about 5 mm at best and that was the bigger ones.
As you watch the very beginning of the video, right before I put my finger in frame, you will see one depart then another come to the entrance and block it with it’s abdomen. This is not a solitary bee as the mining bees are described as being. They also appeared to lack the pollen brush associated with Mining bees.
Thank you for the effort and if I can ever find them again I will definitely get a specimen.
Steven Cimbora

Thanks for getting back to us Steven.  We have tagged the posting as Unidentified and we have included a screen shot from the end of your video.  Perhaps one of our readers has an idea what Hymenopteran this might be.

Update:  January 4, 2015
Mr. Marlos,
I am providing a new link to some more footage of the unknown bees I found in my back yard. There is much more footage of their activity and it is stabilized. It also shows the presence of more than one bee occupying the nest at a time (Entrance guard) and better footage of their flight characteristics.
I went ahead and scaled some screen shots to try and get a better measurement of them and I came up with approximately 3.2 mm in length. I did this by scaling a screen shot of my finger until it measured the same as actual, using Gimp2 software to measure with. I then took a screenshot of the bee in flight and scaled it to the same dimensions and then measured it. The opening measured approximately 1.1 mm.
You might also find better images to capture and post in this footage as well.
Thank you for your time.
Steven Cimbora
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdMJJITjT-Y&feature=youtu.be

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Subject: Eggs? Rodeo Beach Wetland, Marin, CA
Location: wetland by Rodeo Beach, Marin, CA
December 20, 2014 12:14 pm
Hi,
I work in habitat restoration and came across these very small egg-like things growing on cape ivy vegetation in a wetland area. I’ve also observed them on water parsley in the same location. They’re about the size of a very small pinhead and are attached to the plant by a short, dark-colored stalk. Any ideas???
Signature: Marion

Eggs Possibly

Eggs Possibly

Dear Marion,
These look like they might be eggs, but we do not recognize them.  The stalks are interesting.  Many insects in the order Neuroptera including Lacewings (see here and here) have eggs on stalks, but they look nothing like the images you have supplied.  We will continue to research this and we hope our readership will write in with any suggestions.

Eggs Possibly

Eggs Possibly

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Subject: starstuck bug

Location: Toledo District, Belize
December 19, 2014 12:59 pm
Hello again, folks,
I’ve finally got good internet access and can try to send some photos for ID’ing. I haven’t been able to do that for ages.
Hope you have time to ID some of these.
Thanks a lot for a great site, always.
Signature: Tanya

Cricket

Cricket

Hi Tanya,
Your lovely images from Belize are much more interesting than the large number of Carpet Beetle and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug images we get from North America in the winter.  This Cricket reminds us of a North American Handsome Trig, so we suspect it may be in the same subfamily, Trigonidiinae, the Winged Bush Crickets which are profiled on BugGuide.  Again we are going to request assistance from Piotr Naskrecki who confirmed our identification of your Timber Fly.

Hello, Daniel,
Thank you for the encouraging words.  I have some more photos to send of other unknown bugs, but I’m not sure if my internet will send them along.  I’ll try during a lull in the holiday season.
We’ve never seen this cricket before.  It was quite content to sit on the fruit which I had picked, put in a bucket, carried to the counter, taken out of the bucket and was ready to wipe and bag.  Glad I got some decent photos before setting the cricket back outdoors.
Happy holidays.
Tanya

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Subject: Blue planar spidernet chile
Location: Osorno, Chile
December 18, 2014 2:30 am
Hallo bugman,
can you identify the spider which produced this
horizontally spanned blue chaotic net near the Osorno in Chile in December?
Unfortunately, the spider was absent.
Greetings
Signature: Joachim

Unknown Spider Web

Unknown Spider Web

Dear Joachim,
Thanks so much for sending a higher resolution image.  We have not been able to determine the identity of the spider that created this web, but we are posting the image and many times our readers write in to contribute to the identification process.  Hopefully we will be able to provide you with an identification in the future.
  Can you provide us with any additional information.  Was it near a body of water.  We seem to have a recollection of horizontal webs near streams, but we are still attempting to locate those sources.

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Subject: Seed like things in drawer
Location: central MA
December 10, 2014 9:49 am
Hello,
Recently I noticed the bottom drawer of my desk was sticking and little hard black seed like things were falling out to the floor when I opened it. Today I pulled the whole drawer out and found it was loaded with these seeds in the runner area of the drawer. They are black, hard, and fairly circular. They do not look like mouse droppings to me. Any ideas?
Thanks!
Danielle
Signature: Danielle

Unknown Black Pellets

Unknown Black Pellets

Dear Danielle,
We do not believe these are mouse droppings, and interestingly, we just posted a nearly identical identification request from Connecticut
We do not believe they are either eggs or seeds.  Our best guess is Termite Pellets at this time, but the black coloration is unlike any Termite Pellets we have seen.  We will continue to research this matter and perhaps one of our readers has a better suggestion.

Unknown Black Pellets

Unknown Black Pellets

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination