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

Subject: Possibly a wasp?
Location: Melbourne Victoria Australia
January 25, 2014 12:57 am
Hi there,
Saw this on my bush in my garden, at first i thought it was a group of seeds, until i looked closer, just wondering what they were, and if they were anything to worry about.
Location: Australia, Melhourne, Eastern Suburbs
Season: Second Month Summer
Sorry if the photos are not great, very bright day so was hard to get one that wasnt overexposed a little
Signature: Curious

Bachelor Party of Longhorned Bees

Bachelor Party of Sweat Bees

Dear Curious,
This is a Bachelor Party of male Longhorned Bees in the tribe Eucerni, but we are not certain of the species.  Male Bees do not sting, so they pose no threat to you.  You can see similar images of Bachelor Parties from North America in our archives.

Update:  February 5, 2014
We got a comment that these might be male Green and Gold Nomia Bees,
Lipotriches australica, a type of Sweat Bee that also exhibits this Bachelor Party behavior in Australia.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identification of a bug / insect
Location: HMAS Cerberus, Hastings, Victoria
January 22, 2014 12:59 pm
Hi,
Hoping you can help me please.
I was at HMAS Cerberus earlier this week. I had asked my son to stand next to a monument for a photo. He spotted a bee and said “I’m not standing there, I don’t want to get stung” .. then out of nowhere, this huge bug / insect came flying past me, picked the bee out of the air and landed on the monument …. I told Jordan he didn’t have to worry about the bee anymore! hahaha
But taking photos of the insect, I have never seen one before and would like to find out what it is if possible. It’s an amazing looking bug. The feet on it look like hooves! Please see attached photos.
Thanks and kind regards,
Jen.
Melbourne, Australia
Signature: Jen – Jen’s Freelance Photography

Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Common Brown Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Hi Jen,
What an amusing anecdote you have provided.  Did Jordan worry about this considerably larger, predatory Robber Fly in the family Asilidae?  Based on photos on the Brisbane Insect website, we believe this might be a Common Brown Robber Fly in the genus
Zosteria.  Robber Flies are very adept hunters and they often take large prey, including bees and wasps, while on the wing, just as you witnessed.

Common Brown Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Common Brown Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for your reply.
Funnily enough, Jordan wasn’t as worried about the much larger “Robber Fly”.  It looked somewhat like a dragon fly and didn’t have a stinger on it’s tail so we were both thinking at the time that it was relatively harmless (until I read up on them!).  Seeing it take the bee mid flight, hearing an almost “thud” as it landed and then watching it devour it’s prey should have been a hint, in heinsight, that this was not a particularly friendly creature …. hahahaha.
I had sent an email to yourselves and also Pestworld.org   …  the people at Pestworld.org loved my images so much that they will now be using them on their website for identification purposes, which is fantastic.
Thanks so much for taking the time to get back to me.  Should I encounter any further strange little creatures in my travels, I will forward them on.
Thanks and kind regards,
Jen.
Jeannie Van Den Boogaard
Jen’s Freelance Photography

Hi again Jen,
For the record, Robber Flies do not prey upon people and we have never gotten a report from a person who was bitten by a Robber Fly.  We suspect that if a Robber Fly is captured in one’s hands, a bite might result.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Comment
Location:  Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
January 19, 2014
I don’t know if this mail will get to you Daniel.
I attach some photo’s of the moth. I live in Rockhampton Queensland and I have lived in the bush for a number of years and I have never seen such a big moth. I live in the city now.
James

Wood Moth

Ghost Moth

Hi James,
Thanks for providing a comment on a Ghost Moth posting and also for sending your photo.  We are uncertain if this is a Ghost Moth in the family Hepialidae or a Wood Moth in the family Cossidae.  Both are large moths that have tree boring caterpillars sometimes called Witchity Grubs in Australia.

My goodness Daniel,
You have certainly expanded my education. Witchity Grubs I certainly know, and yes, I did eat one. One was enough for my tender stomach. They are a large white grub, a bit over an inch and a quarter in length and about a half an inch in diameter. But I never even thought that they would/could turn into anything else except be grubs.
They usually live under the bark of dead/rotting fallen trees or stumps. Do they turn into anything else, like a “chrylist” or however you spell it before they emerge as a moth?  If so, what would I look for to recognise them?
If you live in Australia, I will post the moth to you if you give me an address. If you live overseas, it might be unlawful to post it.
Anyway, I have never seen a moth even half as big as this one. The biggest flying beetles I have seen are the Elephant or Rhinoceros; That might be a local name for them. This moths’ body is at least twice as long as those beetles.
If you know of any person in Rockhampton Queensland that is knowledgeable about moths, I will try to get them to identify it.
Thank you for your kindness in answering my mail.
James

Hi again James,
The Witchety Grub does have a pupa stage prior to emergence as a moth.  We are not in Australia, but rather, in Los Angeles, California.  We have already posted the image of the moth you sent and it is live on our website.  We don’t understand the unlawfulness of posting the image because we are overseas.

haha. No Daniel, I meant that I would post the dead moth to you if posting it to you is legal and if you want me to post it to you.
Jimlin

Thanks for the offer, but we do not accept specimens.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big beast spider
Location: Australia
January 16, 2014 2:49 am
I live in California, but a friend of mine on the internet lives in Australia and sends me pictures of various critters that live there, including this Australian spider. We were talking about spiders one day and he mentioned that the spiders where I am at are NOTHING compared to the big beast spiders he has there, and according to the picture of this monster spider, this seems to be true. He couldn’t tell me what kind of spider, but he said I could use this photo he sent me to find out. So what kind of terrifying beast spider do we have here? I can tell this thing is angry too…..The fangs on this thing are incredible, I think I will have nightmares for the rest of my life…..O_O;
Signature: Brittany

Male Funnel Web Spider

Male Funnel Web Spider

Dear Brittany,
Australia has several spiders that are considered especially dangerous.  We found a nearly identical image on the Australian Spiders website and it is identified as a male Funnel Web Spider,
Atrax robustus.  The Australian Spiders site indicates:  “The Sydney Funnel-web Spider (Atrax robustus) is one of 36 species of funnel-web spiders in Australia (and it’s the only one that causes trouble).  Funnel-web spiders prefer moist cool habitats and you find them in the south eastern regions of Australia. They live in silk lined burrows and crevices. Their hideouts can easily be identified by the characteristic trip lines radiating from the entrance of the burrow.  The Sydney Funnel-web Spider is mostly found within a radius of 160km from Sydney. (There have been occasional sightings a bit further away.)  It is large (up to 4.5 cm for just the body), black, aggressive, and has powerful fangs.”  The site also states:  “The male Sydney Funnel-web spider is the most dangerous of the Australian spiders. (This is unusual. Normally the female spiders are more dangerous). Actually, I’d say it is the only Australian spider that can be called dangerous at all.”  According to the Australian Museum website:  “Sydney Funnel-webs are shiny, dark brown to black spiders with finger-like spinnerets (silk-spinning organs) at the end of their abdomen. Males have a large mating spur projecting from the middle of their second pair of legs. If threatened, Sydney Funnel-webs show aggressive behaviour, rearing and displaying their impressive fangs.”  The spinnerets are prominently pictured in the image you provided.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Australian Possibly Coleoptera or Hymenoptera?
Location: Canberra, Australia
January 14, 2014 5:12 am
Dear Daniel/Bugman,
I usually like to entertain myself by attempting to identify insects around my house, sketch and release them. I can often identify down to the species thanks to many helpful Lucid keys such as from CSIRO. Your website is also incredibly useful in finding insects and links to info pages.
However, tonight I’m stumped as to even which Order this insect belongs to.
My mum thinks it is a beetle because it appears to have elytra and my dad thinks it is a wasp because of it’s elongated body.
It has huge compound eyes, no evident ocelli eyes, hardened forewings which do not cover the membranous hindwings stretching over just half of the body. It’s antennae are short, curved and filamented, and are tucked under the head at rest. It has long mouthparts that if anything resemble a fly’s. It also has a long “filament” which sometimes protrudes from it’s abdomen which I can only assume is genitalia.
I hope that is enough information. Sorry for phone photos!
Many thanks,
Signature: Claudia

Ship Timber Beetle

Ship Timber Beetle

Hi Claudia,
This is quite a find, and our collective hats go off to your mother for actually correctly identifying the insect order.  This really is a beetle, despite its decidedly un-beetle-like appearance.  It is a Ship Timber Beetle in the family Lymexylidae and probably the genus
Atractocerus, and it is represented in our archives a scant three times, prior to your submission.  There is considerable information from our previous postings, but we are going to search the web for additional links with additional information.  According to BioDiversity Explorer:  “Adults are attracted to light at night and larvae bore into hard wood and palm stems.”  According to British Insects:  the families of Coleoptera, they are capable of:  “Boring into living wood (causing fungal infections on which the larvae feed), or boring into dead wood.”  According to Beetles in the Bush:  “Nothing is known about the biology of Atractocerus, but larvae of other genera are reported to bore into hardwoods and palm stems (Picker et al. 2002). Larvae of the genera Lymexylon and Melittomma are believed to form symbiotic associations with ambrosia fungi that grow on the walls of their galleries (Young, 2002).  Adult females deposit fungal spores in a sticky matrix when they lay their eggs, and the hatching larvae carry the spores into wood on their bodies.  The large eyes of Atractocerus, however, suggest a predatory lifestyle. The common name of the family originates from a northern European species that has in the past been a destructive pest of ship timbers.”  There is a host of information in Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia.  The Atlas of Living Australia has a record of Atractocerus crassicornis Clark, 1931, from the northeast corner of West Australia, and there is a record of another species, Atractocerus tasmaniensis Lea, 1917, from Tasmania, also on the Atlas of Living Australia.  Yet another species, Atractocerus victoriensis is listed, but not pictured, on the Australian Faunal Directory.  According to A Guide to the Beetles of Australia (and we have to type this out because the document will not allow us to cut and paste):  “Ship-timber beetles are extraordinarily slender with a distinctive shape.  Members of the genus Atractocerus have very short elytra and well-developed, gauzy flying wings.  When these beetles are at rest, their wings are folded fan-like but as the reduced elytra can not cover them, they are exposed.  Gravid females have enormously swollen abdomens.  They lay their eggs in woulds of eucalypts and possibly other hardwoods too.  The cylindrical and elongate larvae have short, strong legs, and a hood-like pronotum, which partially conceals the head from above.  They bore into the timber and grow to considerable size (up to 35 mm in length).  Their tunnels run parallel and transversally with and to the grain.  Discontinuous, irregular bands of stain marks caused by their activity discolour the timber.  The larvae feed on a fungus, which grows on the walls of their tunnels in the timber.  This fungus is transmitted by the beetles themselves.  It is presumed that their development takes at least two years.  Adults can be found in decaying timber, on tree trunks and occasioinally fly to artificial lights.  Adult specimens of a Western Asutralian species of  Atractocerus sometimes fly in swarms at dusk.”  Thanks so much for contributing additional photos of this rarity, and our first example from Australia, to our archives.

Ship Timber Beetle

Ship Timber Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: White Flank Orange Braconid Wasp
Location: Millicent South Australia
January 13, 2014 11:48 pm
Quite common in this area along dirt roads.
A friend’s daughter crash her car thinking the insect would sting her.
Signature: Ken de Low

Braconid Wasp

Braconid Wasp

Hi Ken,
We agree that this is a Braconid Wasp, but it is not the same as the White Flank Orange Braconid,
Callibracon species, that is pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website.  There are many Australian Braconids with this same general color pattern.  We are sorry to hear about your friend’s daughter’s car crash, but it wouldn’t be the first time the irrational fear of an insect in the car has caused an accident.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination