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Happy new year. 2 queries please, the spider had immobilised the bee, is that its tongue sticking out and what do bees use such a large tongue for? The caterpillar is on a flowering gum in my garden in Queensland and i wondered if you could identify it for me. Thanking you,
dawn lewis

Hi Dawn,
Bees have long tongues to lap up nectar from plants. Your caterpillar seems to be some species of Inch Worm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae. We found an awesome webpage of Australian Geometridae, but had no luck identifying your caterpillar exactly. Caterpillars in this family are also known as Loopers, Measuring Worms and Twig Caterpillars.

Update: (01/04/2008) Unknown owlet moth from Australia
Dear Daniel,
Going on my own observations, it looks very much like the caterpillar of the Hakea or Pink-bellied Moth, Oenochroma vinaria, posted on WTB on 11/11/07. The caterpillar has small white dots over its body and also some yellow larger dots along the back. There are two “horns” just behind the head. When disturbed, the caterpillar rears up, showing its horns more clearly. When at rest, it is well camouflaged, looking just like a brown stick. And a Happy New Year to you and all WTB readers, also.

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Cool Bug
If you know anything about bugs in Australia we would love to learn what type of critter we have here. At first I thought it was a dead leaf which had blown off of a clump of eucalyptus branches I had just cut for my possums…. until I saw it crawling up the spare possum box on the front verandah! NO idea what it is but I kept a safe distance as the scorpion-style tail looked somewhat threatening! Thanks

Hi Tom,
This is some species of Phasmid, commonly called Walkingsticks, Stick Insects, or in the case of your specimen, probably a Leaf Insect. We have not had any luck identifying the species. Perhaps our loyal reader Grev, who often comes to our rescue with unknown Australian specimens, will have better luck scouring the internet than we have had. Leaf Insects do not have stingers, and the posture of the tail end is display only.

Update: (04/28/2008) Unknown stick insect from Australia
Hi Daniel,
Extatosoma tiaratum, Spiny Leaf Insect, is a member of the Phasmid family. See: … Kind regards,

Update: (04/28/2008) That Unknown Australian Leaf Insect
Hi Guys,
most likely your stick/leaf insect is Macleays Spectre, Extatosoma tiaratum Here is a reference link with pic regards,
Trevor Jinks

Edibility Update: (04/29/2008) Australian phasmid: edible!
Hi Daniel,
Hope your semester is wrapping up well. Extatosoma tiaratum is among the walkingsticks and leaf-insects consumed in Papua New Guinea. They’re also a popular display species in the Insectarium world, and among amateur invertebrate-keepers. Best,

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White Lined Sphinx Caterpillar…or not?
Hello there!
I was going through some old photos I have and I came across a photo of a caterpiller i took one day in my backyard. Then curiousity led me to go through your whole caterpilla archive but I couldn’t find one that looks like this one, but from looking at your archive, it resembles a white lined sphinx but they dont have the smaller dots near their head. So, just wondering, am I right or is it something else? By the way, love your site. Had fun looking at exotic bugs! Thanks!
Cheryl (Sydney, Australia)

Hi Cheryl,
We found several websites devoted to Australian caterpillars, but the Sphingidae of Australia website helped us identify your Impatiens Hawk Moth Caterpillar, Theretra oldenlandiae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Two-tailed spider, Australia
Dear Bugman,
I noticed this smallish spider on the bark of a gum tree, only through my camera lens. Its camouflage is quite efficient. It took some time to identify, but I think it is the Two-tailed spider, Tamopsis. It is a very fast-moving spider, using a sort of combined jumping-scurrying movement. For the past couple of weeks I have been back to the tree, and the spider is always there, in the same place, without any web that I can see. One day there was a smaller, darker companion, which I think is the male. Thanks for your site, which I always find fascinating. Kind wishes,

Hi Grev,
It has been some time since you have sent us a new photo. Thanks for providing this Two Tailed Spider for our archives. We are linking to the University of Queensland Find a Spider site which substantiates your identification of this distinctive spider with long spinnerets.

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spider ID in China
I live on a small island in southeastern China. I often go hiking, and I come across this spider quite often. It’s certainly the largest spider I’ve ever found, and I’d like to know more about it for safety’s sake and also just out of curiosity. I browsed through the spider sections on your site, and I’m wondering if it’s a "Nephila clavipes." I’ve attached a picture of it. By the way, I think is an excellent resource. It has helped me many times, especially since I’ve been living here (and don’t speak the language very well). Thanks for sharing your expertise! Best,

Hi Tobias,
Nephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Spider, is a New World species, but there are many more members of the genus in Asia. The closest we can find is an immature specimen on Wikipedia of Nephila pilipes which ranges in Japan ,China ,Taiwan ,Singapore ,Myanmar ,Sri Lanka ,India ,Papua New Guinea , and Northern Australia.

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Unknown Green Fly
This picture taken 2007-09-19 in Kenner (near New Orleans), Louisiana. I have used you site and information but I have been unable to identify this fly. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ron M

Hi Ron,
Your fly resembles a species of Soldier Fly pictured on BugGuide, Hedriodiscus binotatus. We are guessing that it is either the same species or something closely related. We hope to get confirmation from Eric Eaton.

Dear Daniel,
the green fly is more likely Odontomyia cincta. But the whole group of Odontomyia, etc is very difficult and there are many open questions and a revision of these beautiful flies is needed. It might be strange for you that I can ID an unusual Australian fly, but that I have problems with a common US species… but there has been not enough good work here and amongst specialist, we think that only 30% of all US Diptera are described… So a lot to do in future… You have a great website and I would love to help you ou with identifications in future! Best wishes,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination