From the monthly archives: "April 2004"

Dear Editor,
I got this email and the attachment says the person got bitten by this spider had this kind of severe wound. I’d like to ask if a spider bite can really cause this kind of wounds? The spider doesn’t look like a black widow or like kind.
NC .

And now the bite:

Day 5 and Day 6

Day 9 and Day 10

Dear Nora,
According to Hogue: The Brown Recluse or Violin Spider, Loxosceles species, has come to the public’s attention beginning in the late 1960’s as a possible spider menace. The venom of these spiders acts on the tissues locally, rather than on the nervous system in general like the Black Widow. This causes a troublesome sore, which may grow in size and be so s=resistant to healing that plastic surgery is indicated. Violin spiders build their small loose webs in dark recesses. Common habitats outdoors are wood piles, spaces in and under stones and wood debris loosely set on the ground. and piles of broken concrete. Indoors, they occupypacking crates,piles of old books and newspapers, and other accumulations of trash. They are rare in Los Angeles.

Hi Bugman,
In the Slocan Valley in British Columbia there are stink bugs everywhere. My son took these photos. I would like to identify this particular bug so that I can learn what attracts them and how to get rid of them. There are various theories; stink bugs are attracted to light colors, they come into the house with the firewood, they come inside to get out of the cold, they were introduced as a predator for another species, they are naturaly occuring in this area, ladybugs will control them, etc. We are building a small resort and would like to make our buildings stink bug proof. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Isy,
You have a Western Conifer Seed Bug. The Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis was first described in California in 1910 and prior to 1969, it was only known in the Western U.S. Then it started to move East. By the 1970’s it was established in Wisconsin and Illinois, and by the mid 1980’s was found in Minnesota, Michigan and Ontario. In 1990 this species was collected in New York State and in 1992 it was found in Pennsylvania. It is also present in Mexico. The Western Conifer Seed Bug is a True Bug from the Family Coreidae, the Big Legged Bugs or Leaf Footed Bugs. It is a pest on conifer trees. We have no theory about how to keep them out of your resort. That is a question for your contractor.

I’m in England and my fiancé and I have found a bug that we do not know much about, here is a picture of it, what do you think it is?
Truly Bugged in England,
Virginia and Dave

Dear Virginia and Dave,
You have a Tiger Beetle, Family Cicindelidae. These are fast, predatory hunters, often irridescent in color. They are also strong fliers, are often found in sandy locations, and they capture and kill their prey with powerful sickle-shaped mandibles.

Update (08/22/2006)
Hello Lisa Anne and Daniel,
I recently came across your website and I was pleased to see such a vibrant (and well-done) site. I’m an entomologist and evolutionary biologist (specializing on the systematics, taxonomy and evolution of tiger beetles and their close relatives) and I have to say that I’m impressed with your accuracy rate! It’s much, much better than other comparable sites I’ve come across over the years. The two of you must really love insects. In any case, I noticed that you are open to information from specialists, so I thought I’d give you a few ID’s of species that I came across on your pages. I was having trouble sleeping, so I went through all of the tiger beetles, scaratines, etc and checked them out. Here you go: “(04/11/2004) Tiger Beetle” This is Cicindela campestris, which is a common and widespread European tiger beetle. They are beautiful, aren’t they? I’ll bookmark your site and check it out when I’m having trouble sleeping again!
Daniel P. Duran
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

I would appreciate it if you would help with the identification of the bug in the picture I sent you. It got half way into my buddy with its rear end first. Did it lay eggs in me? Should I be worried?
Please help me out!

Hi Simon,
You were bitten by a Tick. Sorry I can’t tell you the exact species. They are usually picked up in grassy areas. Ticks wait for a large warm blooded mammal, like a deer or dog or human to pass by. Then they attach to the prey and suck blood. They pass on viral infections like Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. They will not lay eggs in you.

I was surfing around and found your site. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the bug that I am curious about, but it’s dimensions are etched permanently in my brain. I saw it in Tennessee and the most remarkable thing about it (to me) was just how large it was. The entire thing was slightly longer than 2" and as big around as my pinkie. It had two pairs of 1" wings on its abdomen (not the thorax region) that could well have belonged to a dragon fly, only they angled back like a fighter jet instead of straight out like a biplane. The thorax was used like a neck to articulate its head there were two round black eyes and very visible and pronounced mandibles that really looked perfect for biting my whole finger. It was way too big to splat. I put a jar around it and it stayed alive in there for days, following my every movement until I finally couldn’t take it any longer, mustered my courage, scooped the thing up (in the jar) and threw it into the pasture across the road. I’m hoping that, if you’ve ever seen anything like this, my words will be sufficient to help you identify it. I’d like to know what it is, its range of habitat and its function in our ecosystem. Thanks to you for your time and attention to this.
Very truly yours,
Jenna Casanova

Dear Jenna,
It sounds like it might be a male Dobsonfly.

Daniel~ By George, I believe you’ve got it! Thank you so much!

It’s Katey, from class last summer. (Remember me? I’ve seen almost all the movies?) Anyway, I just moved to Highland Park and I’m finding black widows everywhere. Here are two pictures I took, they aren’t very good but I have a phobia of spiders and that’s the best I could do without passing out. They hang upside down in their web, very creepy. I’m positive they are black widows because I sprayed them (a lot!) and eventually they bellied up and I saw the hour glass. I tried to get a picture of that but my camera isn’t good enough (and I was still scared to get close).
See you at Art Center, have a nice break.
Katey Bright

Hi Katey,
Glad you are well. You can recognize Black Widows by their unique silhouette, which is evident in your photos. I let the Black Widows live where they want to in my Mt. Washington house. They build webs and stay in the webs. They are very shy, nocturnal and not aggressive. As long as you know where they are living, you can avoid them. Thanks for the photos and I’m glad you are well. Did you change your major?