From the monthly archives: "February 2006"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Spectacular Moth… But What is It?
Dear Bugman:
My family loves your site, especially since we move often and recently moved to southern California. My four young kids have discovered all sorts of new bugs here – and I was so grateful to have discovered a potato bug on your site – the first one my children brought me had me more worried than the scorpions and black widows we routinely encountered in AZ.
This morning, this lovely moth was relaxing in our front entry. My husband thought he was a polyhemus, but he has white swoosh-shaped markings on his wings where a polyhemus has golden eyes. He was easily 5 inches wingtip to wingtip, with the thick fringe antennae of a polyhemus, and a furry brown and white striped body, very furry legs. What the heck is he?
We’ve let him go in a backyard tree and hope he procreates and becomes a regular site. We live in De Luz, California, sandwiched between the coastal climate of North San Diego County and the dry wine country valleys of Temecula and are hoping that this lovely creature is a native and likely to be seen again.
Sarah Smith

Hi Sarah,
Thank you for the nice letter. We are very happy to post your photos of the Ceanothus Silk Moth, Hyalophora euryalus, one of the Saturnid Moths. This truly spectacular moth is native and the caterpillar feeds on the Ceanothus Tree, or California Lilac. The adults do not feed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what is this huge antlike thing? found in northern CA
Hi. We live in Lucas Valley 25 mins north of San Francisco. We found so far 3 of this bug – first one was almost translucent like it hadn’t had enough light, 2nd was the one on the picture both found in the kitchen. 3rd found today about 3 weeks later in the hallway (other end of house) what is this thing? the house is on slab and has no attics, only way in are from an open door or thru the washer/dryer area where there looks to be a hole in the wall. Are they dangerous? They look harmless but freaky, like ants that had too much food. Our garden has a nice rose garden and has been very well tended to – there was a compost pile but was removed and I just started a new one a few weeks ago so not related I don’t think.. We bought the house in December btw… Thanks for any light you can shed on this guy!
Susanne

Hi Susanne,
We always keep a photo of a Potato Bug on our homepage because we get so many questions about them. They are also known as Jerusalem Crickets and are harmless, but they do have strong jaws and can nip. They generally live underground but are fond of wandering into homes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Another for your eggs page?
Hi. 🙂 I’ve been enjoying your site for months (some people would probably say I’ve been enjoying it too much; I think the whole household is getting tired of being called in to see some weird/beautiful/crazy bug!). It’s helped me with several buggy identity questions. But, finally I’ve got one that has me stumped. Found these on a dead branch of an heirloom rose bush (Zepherine Drouhin, 1861) this afternoon, and am totally clueless. At first I thought scale, then hibernating insects…once I pried a couple loose (believe me, they were stuck down quite well!), and saw that they were the same featurless pearly lavender grey on the underside, I realized I was looking at egg cases. But of what? We don’t get a whole lot of insect life on the plants (aside from 2005’s Japanese Beetle invasion), being on the third floor, so it’s most likely something that flies. We’ve had an exceptionally mild winter here in Maryland (so mild I hesitate to glorify it with ‘winter’, in fact), so insect oddities are sure to abound this summer. These are about 1/8 of an inch long, neatly tiled (there are six of them in total), and the color is right in the middle between these two photos. I’m just north of Washington DC. I’d kind of like to know what these are before I succumb to my usual ‘bring it inside and see what it hatches into!’ impulse. My roommates may not be happy if I let a hundred or so Japanese Beetles or something hatch in the kitchen! (but I’ll be a hero to the cats for bringing them toys.
judy renee

Hi Judy,
Just think of the thrill your household will get when you show them your letter posted. These are Katydid Eggs. Katydids lay their disklike eggs in the fall. The eggs of the angularwinged katydid are 0.125 to 0.15 inch long and laid in two overlapping rows on the surface of twigs and leaves, just as your photo indicates.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large spider in Austin
I found this guy climbing up my house on a cool rainy night in Austin. Body about 1 1/2" in length. Maybe a male trapdoor spider?
Jason.

Hi Jason,
We agree with your identification. Either the rains flood the burrows causing the spiders to travel, or more likely, the rains trigger mating behavior, causing the males to travel in search of mates.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

help identify this critter!
Dear bugman,
My friend took this photo recently during his trip in Costa Rica. He is convinced that it is a "pseudoscorpion," because he has seen photos that match; now I don’t know what kind of pseudoscorpions he’s been looking at because I know for sure this is not it! I am pretty sure it’s a whip scorpion but he would not believe me! Can you please help identify it and settle our debate? Thank you for the awesome site!
Celia

Hi Celia,
Common names are always subject to local variations, hence the widely accepted taxonomic system based on genus and species. However, in most circles, you would be considered correct. The Tailless Whipscorpion is a large but harmless creature. The Pseudoscorpion in minute by comparison, often being confused for a small tick.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Crane fly species (large!)
Here’s a Crane Fly species… I’m in the San Francisco Bay area, is there an endemic species hereabouts? Those are rose bush leaves that it’s landed on… Total size, (including legs) was larger than my hand – and I’ve got large (male) hands! I now realize I should’a provided information on my hand size… my hand measures 8″ across (or about 21 cm…) and the legs on this guy/gal were a little (maybe 1 cm) wider than that… another shot (from a different angle) is attached. Sorry about focus, but that’s a 50mm macro at f/32… Exposure time lost to history.
Paul

Hi Paul,
This is not the Giant Western Crane Fly, Holorusia rubiginosa, but we are not sure what species it is. We will do some additional research.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination