Currently viewing the tag: "Unidentified"
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Subject: Unidentified hairy caterpillar from the Sharjah Deserts
Location: Sharjah, UAE
January 9, 2013 1:31 am
I keep finding this hairy and brilliantly colored (for a desert species) caterpillar in the Sharjah deserts feeding on Haloxylon salicornicum every Jan – Mar cycle. In fact, I’m seeing it now for the 3rd straight year in a row. Any ideas on id. Some kind of moth caterpillar perhaps as most of the butterfly caterpillars are identifiable on the Arabian peninsula???
Signature: Ajmal

Unknown Caterpillar

Hi Ajmal,
We have been trying unsuccessfully to identify your caterpillar, which we suspect is either a Tussock Moth Caterpillar in the subfamily Arctiinae (see BugGuide for North American examples) or possibly in the Tent Caterpillar family Lasiocampidae (see BugGuide for North American examples).  Many caterpillars in those groups have utricating or stinging hairs, and that might be the reason for the orange warning or aposomatic coloration.  We did find this somewhat similar photo of Ad-dud ar-rabie (literally in Arabic “the spring worm”) on the Initiating a Response to the Degradation of Al Badia website, but it is not an exact match.

Unknown Caterpillar

Interestingly, the two visual matches we did locate were inquiry postings you made on Project Noah here in January 2012 and here with your 2011 sighting.  We will continue to research this matter and perhaps one of our readers will stumble upon an answer.

Unknown Caterpillar


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Subject: What spider is it?
Location: Ranca Upas, Ciwidey, West Java, Indonesia
January 7, 2013 8:03 am
Hello Daniel,
Way back on 2010 I took this spider pic, but I haven’t got any clue what spider is it. Hope that you can help.
This guy have some interesting silver & black pattern abdomen.
Signature: Mohamad Idham Iskandar

Possibly Longjawed Orbweaver

Hi Mohamad,
This spider reminds us of the North American spiders in the family Tetragnathidae, commonly called the Longjawed Orbweavers.  We cannot substantiate that with any photos from Indonesia in our brief attempts at an identification.  You can compare your photo to the North American Longjawed Orbweavers on BugGuide.

Possibly Longjawed Orbweaver

Hi Daniel,
Thanks a lot for the info, after reading info from BugGuide, especially this line:
“They vary in appearance, but those most commonly found are long-legged, thin-bodied spiders. When at rest, they may cling lengthwise along a twig or blade of grass, holding on with the short third pair of legs. The long pairs of legs are extended.”,
and comparing the images to orchard spider that I found in Indonesia I’m more assured that this one is an Long-jawed Orb Weavers (Tetragnathidae).

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Subject: Fire Bug
Location: VUng Tau, VIetnam
January 6, 2013 7:10 am
Dear Bugpersonnel,
Is this a firebug, a cotton stainer or a red? It was found in Vung Tau, Vietnam feeding and mating on some rather large red seed pods with large black bean-like seeds inside of them. One strange thing is that the bugs are the exact same color as the seed pods. I’ve searched the Internet and have found similar bugs which are called fire bugs. However, there are some important differences. These bugs have completely red legs and the markings are unique. I attached 2 adult matings and 1 juvenile.
Signature: William Allen

Mating Red Bugs

Hi William,
The family Pyrrhocoridae is commonly called the Red Bug family, and the family includes the Cotton Stainers as well as the Firebugs, so Red Bugs is the more general family name that includes the other genera and species.  With that said, we are having difficulty identifying your Red Bugs to the species level.  We found some family members that are found in Viet Nam, but any with these exact markings are eluding us. 
Dindymus rubiginosus which we found on Bugs for Amateurs as well as FlickR lacks the spots.  Pyrrhopeplus posthumus which we located on BiotaTaiwanica is a close match.  The drawing of the wing pattern for Dysdercus cingulatus which we found on is pretty accurate, but once we found a photo of the insect on Forestry Images, the spots seem too high on the wings and the black triangular scutellum is missing on your specimens.  Project Noah did not provide us with anything conclusive.  After spending some time trying in vain to provide a species identification, we have decided to post you images and we hope one of our readers might be able to assist.  We feel confident that you can use the general term Red Bug to describe your individuals which are in the family Pyrrhocoridae.

Red Bug Nymph

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Subject: Unknown flying bug
Location: Bristol, Florida
December 19, 2012 12:51 pm
I live in Bristol, FL, in a residential area of town and It’s the middle of December here.These bugs have recently shown up around my homer and I was wondering if you could help identify them.
Signature: Reba

Unknown Black Wasp

Hi Reba,
This is some species of Wasp, and we suspect it is a parasitic Hymenopteran.  Perhaps it is numerous because there is also a population increase in its host.  We are contacting Eric Eaton to see if he can assist in this identification.

Thank you for your help.  Now that I have its name, I can do some research.
Love, Reba

Eric Eaton writes back
Happy holidays to you, too, Daniel!
Nice image, but pretty dark.  It is definitely something in the Crabronidae family, perhaps related to the Larrini tribe.  I’d have to put the thing under a microscope, and might still not know what it is.  Matthias Buck at the Alberta Royal Museum might recognize it, though.

Hi again Reba,
Eric Eaton provided us with a family of Crabronidae, and the two subfamilies that seem likeliest to us are Astatinae, which BugGuide states “members of this group provision there larvae exclusively with Heteroptera. Nymphs and adults of the following families have been recorded: Pentatomidae, Scutelleridae, Lygaeidae, Reduviidae, Cydnidae, Alydidae, and Rhopalidae”
or the Aphid Wasps in the subfamily Pemphredoninae, also represented on BugGuide.  Either possibility includes beneficial species that prey upon insects considered plant pests in the garden.

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Subject: True bug – Coreidae?
Location: Nepal – Himalaya
December 16, 2012 7:14 pm
My sister recently returned with these photos from Nepal. I’m guessing Coreidae?
By the way, do you no longer have RSS feed?
Many thanks for your time and insights.
Signature: Tracy

Coreid Bug

Dear Tracy,
We don’t recognize either of your True Bugs and we will need to do additional research.  Karl has been assisting us with numerous identifications lately and he may write in with some information.  We will copy our webmaster with your technical question.

True Bug

Karl Identifies the Coreid Bug
Hi Daniel and Tracy:
The first one is a coreid bug in the genus Dalader. I couldn’t track down any information specific to Nepal but there are apparently three species native to northern India. I believe this one is probably D. acuticosta.  You can find good descriptions of all three species in “The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma”, by W.L. Distant (1902). Go to page 351 if that link doesn’t open on the right page. I haven’t had much luck yet with the second bug. Regards.  Karl

Thanks so much Karl.  We strongly suspected that was a Coreid Bug, and we believe the other individual is in a different family.

Karl Identifies second True Bug
Hi Daniel and Tracy:
The second one was tough, but it belongs to a relatively small and obscure family in the Pentatomoidea called Urostylididae (formerly Urostylidae). Based on descriptions provided by Distant (1902) and Blöte (1945) I would say the genus is Urolabida and the species is either U. grayi or U. pulchra. Both species are reported to occur in northern India and I suspect that could include Nepal. I believe your posted image of this lovely bug is only the second one appearing online; the other is located on a Chinese site (although I wouldn’t conclude that the image was necessarily taken in China; 5th picture down). This photo is a very close match to the description provided by Blöte and if you scroll down it identifies the bug as U. pulchra. Regards.  Karl

Wow, good work Karl.  We are going to categorize this with the Stink Bugs and Shield Bugs.


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Subject: Black Hoverfly?
Location: East Coast of South Island, New Zealand
December 8, 2012 5:02 pm
Hi there,
This morning I noticed a large number of these black flies on my brassicas, the way they fly reminds me of hoverflies but they are a bit bigger, completely black and had a strange behavior of twisting their abdomens around.. do you know what they are?
Signature: Thanks! Bruce

March Fly

Hi Bruce,
We do not believe this is a Hover Fly.  We have not had any success finding any matching images online, but our best guess is that this might be a Snipe Fly in the family Rhagionidae.  You can see some examples of North American species on BugGuide and compare the similarities.

Thanks Daniel!
I think you’re right, the picture of the Golden Backed Snipe Fly on your site ( looks exactly the same apart from the color and is showing the same curving abdomen behavior.
I see that the larvae for the Australian version is thought to live in rotted wood which makes sense as a large pile of woodchips had rotted into the ground over several years right next to where I saw this “hatching”, we are starting to see more Australian insects here (eg cluster flies) perhaps due to climate change?
The good news for my vegetable garden is that they’re predators :)

We might eventually get a conclusive identification, and then we will update the posting.

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Bruce:
I think this actually may be a March Fly (Bibioniodae).  The wing posture seems a little unusual, at least to me, as they are usually kept folded over the back when at rest, but with a little searching I was able to find some very similar photos. A paper by Hardy (1952; Bibionidae of New Zealand [Diptera]) listed seven species for New Zealand in two genera (Philia x 6 and Bibio x 1). I could find no photos of the species described, but these photos of the European species Bibio marci, B. lanigerus and B. hortulanus look quite similar. I will add one more link (species and location not given) just because the photos are so pretty. In a more recent paper titled “Fauna of New Zealand; Number 20: Bibionidae (Insecta: Diptera)”, by Roy A. Harrison (1990) the author presents a taxonomic revision in which eight species are described and all have been placed in the genus Dilophus (here’s a non-NZ species). I suspect the species identification may be D. nigrostigmata based on appearance and location, but unfortunately the species all look quite similar and the posted photo is a bit fuzzy. Bruce, you may want to check out the Harrison paper and have a go at the identification yourself, especially if you can capture a sharper image. At the very least you may be able to confirm if it is a March Fly or not. Regards.  Karl

Thanks so much Karl.  March Flies actually crossed our mind because of the head.

Thank you!  I think you are probably quite right, the pictures look very similar..
The wing posture seems a little unusual, at least to me, as they are usually kept folded over the back when at rest,
Some had their wings closed, others open.. I just happened to photograph the individuals with the wings open.  I haven’t seen them again but if I do I’ll try to get a sharper photo.

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