From the monthly archives: "May 2005"

What’s the bug in the pictures called?
We were wondering what the bug showed in the pictures is called. We found it on a wooden fence in our backyard. They scurried out when we banged on the fence, and it was hard to catch them because they moved very fast.
Thanks a lot,
Pranav & Prag

Hi Pranav and Prag,
We usually get reports of Silverfish from people with household infestations. They are household pests that like damp dark areas, usually basements and bathrooms. As yours is outdoors, it is not really much to worry about. They are very primitive insects.

Interesting one…
Hey “Bugman”,
I must tell you that I was pretty surprised (And happy) to find a site where I could just send a picture of this interesting bug I just found, and someone would identify it for me. I’m not naturally particularly interested in bugs, but this site is still going on my “Favorites” list. Anyhow, I live in South Carolina, and last night I saw this interesting looking bug, about 1.5” long running around on the sidewalk. I went to push it with the side of my foot into the middle of the sidewalk so I could see it better, but I accidentally squished it’s abdomen, and to my surpise it made a loud popping sound, just like those little white paper things that pop when you throw them on the ground (That you can get around 4th of July, usually…I hope you know what I’m talking about). Well, when I realized that it had something that looked quite a bit like claws, I decided I had to find out what it is. Here are a couple of pictures of it. Thanks for your time.

Hi Gabriel,
You accidentally trampled a Mole Cricket, Family Gryllotalpidae. These insects are usually found burrowing in the ground. Some species can fly.

What moth is this??
I was outside yesterday doing some stuff, when a leaf fell on me…well…I thought it was a leaf…I tried brushing it off of my flower decorated pants…it didn’t budge…still thinking this was a leaf, I picked it up, and realized within a mili-second that this was no ordinary leaf!! I am surprised that none of you heard the scream sent round the world…it was slimey and I have NO idea what this thing was…it looked like it was wearing military camouflage which is probably why it was attracted to my pants…trying to blend in, the slimy little bugger!! After coming into the house, shaking my hand, and going ‘ew ew ew ew ew ew ew’ the whole time, poor Jim got another earful about Florida bugs, and how in Philly bugs did NOT dress up in military fatigues to fool people like me~ I never had a prob with bugs…but I think the ones down here must’ve attatched themselves to the space shuttle when they were flying around in space, and fell off over Jacksonville! ACK!! It’s not a looks more like a Navy jet fighter!
Here’s some pics of this lovely creature..(NOT).. Do you have ANY idea what this thing is??
Valarie Weigle

Hi Valarie
We are so sorry you were traumatized by your encounter with a Satellite Sphinx, Pholus satellitia, a color variation of the Pandora Sphinx. According to Holland: “This insect which is widely distributed throughout the eastern United States, and ranges northward into southern Canada, is well-known to all growers of vines.” The caterpillar, a hornworm, can do damage to the vineyard. I have no idea what the origin of the common name Satellite Sphinx refers to, but I like your theory about being dropped from space.

Crazy aggressive spider??
I live in Southern California and today as I was walking through my kitchen this bug charged out to the middle of the floor to within 6 inches of my foot and raised up two front legs and acted very aggressively. I backed up a step and the bug pursued me (I first thought it was a scorpion). I captured it and looked at it closer. It has 8 legs, two large antennae (look more like legs) and at least 4 large black fangs. I think it is a spider of some kind but it has kind of a cricket like abdomen. Anything I put in front of the bug is immediately acted aggressively upon and bitten. What is this thing?? I have sent along a picture. My wife is freaking out 🙂
Thanks for your help

Hi Colby,
Had you scrolled a little way down our homepage, you would have found a recent letter with a photo of a Solpugid, also known as a Sun Spider or a Wind Scorpion, though they are neither spiders nor scorpions, but related to both. They are without venom, and are harmless unless you are small enough to be prey, in which case their aggressive behavior would quickly dispatch anything in their paths. If you really want to freak out your wife, click the solpugid link in the alphabatized list on the left of the homepage to see a Middle Eastern relative of our puny Southern California family representative. These monsters are known as Camel Spiders and we have an amazing photo with an equally amazing letter.

Mystery Bug
Can you identify this bug for me, please? Looks like a stonefly, but the head seems to large, the prothorax to small, and no tails. I’m really stumped!

Hi Roger,
We wanted to be sure, so we contacted Eric Eaton. Here is what he has to say: "The image you sent is actually of a sawfly, but I see the resemblance [to a stonefly]! Without knowing more information, I can’t even tell you which sawfly family this belongs in. However, this is the time of year when sawflies are in greatest abundance here in the U.S. and in Canada.
Sawflies are related to ants, bees and wasps, belonging to the order Hymenoptera. Larva of most species feed on foilage. They do not sting.

Spotted Moth
Hi Daniel,
Can you help me to identify this moth we found in our barn? We are in North Central Florida. Thanks in advance!

Hi again Sandra,
Nice to hear from you again. You have a photo of an Eyed Tiger Moth, Ecpantheria deflorata. It has a beautiful black wooly bear caterpillar with black hairs and bands of crimson at the body segments. According to Holland: “The Eyed Tiger Moth ranges from southern News England, where it is rare, through the southern parts of the united States into Mexico. It is quite common in the Carolinas.” The larvae feed on plantain, Plantago.