From the monthly archives: "October 2004"

Tarantula hawk?
Found this bug inside our house in Manta, Ecuador (South America). Have never seen it before. Is it a tarantula hawk?
Erika Schwarz Wilson
Istana, Barbasquillo
Manta- Ecuador

Hi Erika,
You most assuredly have a female Tarantula Hawk in a bottle. The female has the curved antennae. The females are the ones who attack, paralyze and bury tarantulas so her young will have a supply of fresh meat. She will also give you an extremely painful sting if you are not careful. We have never heard of a Tarantula Hawk with red antennae. She is beautiful.

What bug is this?
I have attached a picture of a bug I recently "captured" outside my house. Could you tell what it is?

Hi Jay,
You have a photo of a Polyphemus Moth, one of the giant silkworm moths. As adults, they do not feed, living only a few days to mate. The caterpillars are ravenous feeders.

Loud Flyer
Hello Bugman!
I was in Eastern PA this weekend on top of a mountain in Kempton, PA. While admiring the sites, this loud buzzing went very slowly past my ear. When I looked, there was this bug about an inch or so flying by. Its abdomen hung while it flew but managed to land on the side of a tree near me. I was able to get this photo before it continued on its way. Note that the ridge on its back does run from head to tail and not side to side.. Any help in identifying is appreciated!

Hi Jim,
Great photo of a Wheel Bug, Arilus cristatus, a member of the Assasin Bug Family Reduviidae. These large true bugs can be recognized by the cog like wheel on their backs. They are friends of gardeners since they eagerly feed on many garden pests, like the caterpillar you put in the jar. Those sucking mouthparts can deliver a painful bite if the bug is carelessly handled.

Incredible website… Now knowing it was an assassin bug, I looked through the assassin bug section of your site to get more information. What a remarkable species! Thank you so much for the work you do!

(now identified thanks to Erika)

What’s That Bug?
I found this caterpillar in our yard today and was wondering if you could help us identify the type. I’ve looked all over the web and found many that look close – but not with the strips. We live in South Florida (The Florida Keys) and don’t see many caterpillars. Thanks in advance!
The Alderman’s
P.S. Thanks for all the great information on your site!

Hi there Aldermans,
I have also tried unsucessfully to identify your beautiful caterpillar. Because you live in a tropical area there are many species that are not listed in books and on identification websites. We will continue to search.

Ed Note: August 23, 2009
We are working on our archive, subcategorizing the caterpillars, and we realized we never properly identified this Tetrio Sphinx Caterpillar.

New Visitor
I was wondering if you recognize this spider that has recently appeared around my house. It is about one and a half inches from the end of one leg to another and is currently residing in New Hampshire. Thanks for any info!

Hi John,
You have an Orb Weaving Spider from the genus Araneus. Sorry I can’t give you an exact species name. She is a female and will probably be laying eggs soon if she hasn’t already. She is harmless.

Can you help with this giant spider we found at a friends house, In northern Ontario. The spider was at least 4 inches from leg tip to tip. I have seen a similar looking spider on your site called a fishing spider. Could this also be one?
T Lacombe

Hi T.,
We believe you are correct in the Fishing Spider theory. Looks like Dolomedes tenebrosus, one of the largest members of the genus. They can be identified by the well-marked black chevrons on the posterior half of the abdomen, with a light brown spot at each end of each chevron. Your photo shows these marking quite well.