From the monthly archives: "August 2004"

Shiny Brown Spider
I often confuse this spider with a black widow because of the silhouette. I’m sure it’s in the Theridiidae family of spiders but I cannot find any solid information. I’m tempted to leave it there because it seems to be a very good hunter of other spiders and it isn’t doing any harm in that little corner of our home.
Location: Kent , Wa . USA

Ed. Note: Before we even had a chance to identify John’s spider he sent us this great link.

Found some information on the curious Spider I sent earlier from this site: You mention the Steatoda grossa (false black widow) on your site but didn’t include any pictures. I hope you can use the ones I sent. Thanks for your time and your outstanding website

Thanks for doing our work John,
Here is some additional information from Hogue: “The False Widow is very abundant locally and probably suffers considerable undeserved abuse because of its general similarity to the Black Widow, upon which it is reported to prey; it also eats sow bugs. It lacks the red hourglass mark of the BHlack Widow and has a marbled purplish-brown rather than black abdomen. Females are just over 1/2 inch long. Flase Widows are found in and around houses, under the loose bark of trees, and in rock and wood piles; these spiders are more tolerant of outdoor conditions than are the Black Widows.” Incidentally, your newly molted female with her cast off skin is a shiny, handsome spider.

What the heck is this moth?
I thought this was bird poop until I noticed it kept moving across the glass every time I went by. The only way I could tell it WASN’T bird poop, was when I noticed it had fuzzy feet from the inside of the glass. It was unbelievable. I’ve never seen a moth like that around here.
Kara Hamilton

You had us stumped Kara,
We checked our obsolete Holland Moth Book and found something that resembled your moth, but we were unsure as it was a mounted specimen that showed yellow underwings. The moth is Euthisanotia unio and is a member of the family Noctuidae. Then we did a google search with that name, and somehow found a link claiming the name was changed to Eudryas unio that sent us to Lynn Scott’s Lepidoptera Images that had a photo which also showed the underwings, but it showed the furry front legs as well. A closely related species, is E. grata. Nowhere is anything written about the moth resembling a bird’s dropping, which your photo makes very obvious. Continued searching led us to this page with a nice photo. The common name for E. unio is the Pearly Wood Nymph. The common name for E. grata is the Beautiful Wood Nymph.

Orb in the Basement
Since Finding your site spiders have become more intriguing to me. This little guy seems to have a walking person on its belly. Any ideas as to what it might be?
Battle Creek, MI

Hi Shawn,
I’m very happy you find our site interesting. Sorry I can’t be more exact with your spider. It seems to be one of the Comb-Footed Spiders, Family Theridiidae. The Black Widow is in this family, but your critter isn’t one of the few dangerous spiders we have stateside. Your spider appears to be a very competant hunter, considering the ground beetle and millipede it has caught.

Great site, I’m hooked! I found this amazing creature in Dauphin Co. PA last week in a remote valley area. It was on a type of “bush” fern surrounded by mountain laurel and many other types of ferns in the forest. I know it’s a Sphinx but which one; Laurel, Wild Cherry, Blinded Sphinx? Speaking of blinded, I’m color blind and could use some help here…
chris updegrave

Hi Chris,
I believe you have the larva of the Apple Sphinx, Sphinx gordius. I looked up many websites to find an image that matched your photo, and finally located this site with an image of a parasitized caterpillar that looks like yours. At first I thought your Sphinx had no caudal horn, then I noticed it behind the leaves. It is very distinctive. Though called the Apple Sphinx, the food plants include are apple (Malus), sweetfern (Myrica), Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), blueberry and huckleberry (Vaccinium), white spruce (Picea glauca), American larch (Larix laricina), and alder (Alnus). As you can see, fern is on the list.

Dear Bugman,
My wife and I found this bug on our cat. It appeared to be either biting or stinging the cat. It was making the cat skittish, which is why we think it was biting or stinging the cat. It seems to be some kind of wasp, though none I have ever seen before. We live in Hawaii, so it isn’t uncommon for us to see bugs we haven’t seen before. I have included two pictures, which I scaled down to make them more email friendly. They are somewhat limited due to the macro capabilities of our digital camera (and the fact the bag it is in is wet because I almost flushed the bug) but I hope they are sufficient for ID. The cat seems to be recovering so we aren’t too worried, but I would like to know if it was stinging him. The unique feature on this bug seems to be the two yellowish dots on its back. It has 6 legs, two antennae that extend, then bend back toward the body. The legs farthest back are significantly longer than the other 4. It has two wings, since I haven’t seen it fly I don’t know if they are one pair (like a bee) or two (like a dragonfly), but the wings extend just beyond the abdomen. I can’t see a stinger, but I have only a small magnifying glass, if it has a stinger it isn’t readily visible to the naked or slightly assisted eye (unless it left it in the cat). Any ideas on what this bug is would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and ability.
Andrew & Mara Neboshynsky

Dear Andrew and Mara,
Definitely not a Wasp, but a True Bug: one of the Assassin Bugs, possibly a Corsair Bug from the genus Rasahus. These will bite if provoked and mishandled.

Update:April 27, 2013
Ectomocoris biguttulus

Three Bugs from near Sedona, AZ
I was trying to find out what type of beetle we came across on our last trip to the Oak Creek area of Sedona in June of 2003, when I found your way cool site. This photo was taken near the part of Oak Creek where so many of the pretty pictures of Cathedral Rock are taken. I think this might be a type of ground beetle. It was about two inches long — when threatened, it put its head down while tipping its rear end up. If you can identify any of these, I’d be grateful.
Su — Mesa, AZ

Hi Su,
Let’s start with the Beetle. This is a member of the Family of Darkling Beetles, Tenebrionidae, genus Eleodes which are known as Stink Beetles. According to Hogue they are “smooth shiny black beetles. … They are medium to large (1 to 1 1/4 in.) and their wing covers are fused along the midline making it impossible for them to fly. These conspicuous beetles are usually encountered as they amble along the ground. Individuals may also be found under stones and loose tree bark, where the long cylindrical larvae also live. … When a Stink Beetle is disturbed or its wandering is interrupted, it stand on its head and points it rear end into the air. For thi headstanding habit, these insects are sometimes called ‘Acrobat Beetles.’ Adults may emit a disagreeable though weak odor when handled.”