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

Strange Ground Dweller
This spring I noticed pencil-sized holes in the hard-packed soil in our back-yard (compaction caused by construction a couple of years ago). I never saw any animal activity associated with the holes until just the past couple of weeks. I was out walking our puppy one evening and I noticed something quickly retreat down into one of these hole from just inside the entrance. It had been sitting close to the opening, but not quite at the top. I began to notice more and more of these, and realized that pretty much all of the dozens and dozens of these holes around the yard, they must all have been active. While walking the puppy just before bedtime, and carrying a flashlight, I discovered that I could "blind" the animal by shining the light directly at it. This allowed me to approach within a couple of feet of the hole to observe the animal. But even that close I really couldn’t tell what I was seeing. It looked like some kind of strange spider to me. I determined to get a photo of one of the beasties. So, I set up a camera with a macro lens and waited. Attached is the best shot I could grab of the critter in its burrow. I also took a shovel and waited at one of the burrows until it’s occupant appeared. Then I quickly jabbed the shovel at about a 30 degree angle into the soil a few inches from the hole, hoping to get the shovel in underneath the bug. I did, although I am not sure that the bug is intact– in the attached photo of the bug out of its lair, I think the dirt covered rear is the result of cutting it in half. So, any help you can give me in identifying this creature would be much appreciated.
Bill Read

Hi Bill,
Thank you for your excellent letter and wonderful images. This is a Tiger Beetle Larva, Family Cicindelidae. The larva dig burrows and sieze prey that wanders by. They anchor themselves in the hole with hooks on the fifth abdominal segment.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tortoise Beetles on Tomato Seedlings
Found these buggers on our tomato seedlings this morning, munching away. We ordered the plants from California. I’ve never seen them here in New York in all my 40 years of tomato gardening. Are they native to CA? Did I do a bad thing by ordering plants from there and potentially contaminating the east coast? Thanks for your help :-((
Claudia Dunitz

Hi Claudia,
There are two subspecies of the Clavate Tortoise Beetle, Plagiometriona clavata clavata and Plagiometriona clavata testudinaria. According to their ranges are BugGuide: “Plagiometriona c. clavata: Great Plains states east, plus se Canada (NB QC ON) Plagiometriona clavata testudinaria: AZ to LA, south to South America.” and “in H. c. clavata, the “legs” and “head” of the “bear” are as dark as its “body”, whereas in H. c. testudinaria, these extremities seem slightly paler than the “body” but I’m not sure whether this is a reliable difference.” If that distinction is reliable, you have the western subspecies and it can probably cross with the eastern subspecies, which will only confuse future taxonomists.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Two Unknown Bugs
Hi Bugman, I have two bugs that I have been trying to identify but cannot. The little winged ones were found at the underside of tree leaves and the beetle was found in our garden. We live in British Columbia, Canada

Hi Cheryl,
Your small bugs are Lace Bugs in the Family Tingidae. This is the first entry we have gotten for our site. We are seeking an opinion from Eric Eaton on the beetle. Here is Eric’s response: “The lace bugs are almost certainly in the genus Corythucha. Host plant information really helps in identifying them to species. The beetle appears to be a species of Carabus, but not one I’m familiar with. Definitely a ground beetle, and in the same tribe with Carabus if that is NOT the genus. Eric”

Update: (05/19/2007) A further identification for you
Hey there! Love the site. I noticed on your main page that Cheryl from British Columbia sent you images of lace bugs and a mystery ground beetle. Her beetle looks remarkably to me like a specimen I snapped a shot of last week on the other side of the country, just north of Toronto, Ontario. I think her mystery beetle is Carabus granulatus, an introduced species from Europe. Here’s a link to my picture as posted on
Dave Kleiman Thornhill, Ontario, Canada

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Cactus Bugs
This picture was taken in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Can you identify these cactus bugs?
Thomas Park
Blue Bell, PA

Hi Thomas,
These are Cactus Joint Bugs or Prickly Pear Bugs, Chelinidea tabulata, which is a robust species, varying in color from yellow tho reddish brown, dark olive green or nearly blackish. the length is12 – 15 mm. The nymphs are brownish or dusky with pale green or reddish abdomen. The bugs are nocturnal, often congregating in large numbers on the joints of cactus and causing yellowing, withering, and gradual death of the plants. The species occurs in the arid regions of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Southern California. C. vittiger is a similar closely related species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What are these bugs?
We were wondering if you could tell us what type of bugs are on our tomato plants? Thanks,
Fred & Rosemary Miller
Nederland, TX

Hi Fred and Rosemary,
These are some species of Coreid Bug, commonly known as Leaf-Footed or Big Legged Bugs. We believe it is some species in the genus Leptoglossus, but cannot find a species match. We will check with Eric Eaton and try to get an exact species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

dearest bug people,
once again, thank you for such a wonderful site. i found this little guy (1/2 inch) flying around our control room at the israeli electric co.) i couldn’t get him to pose with his wings open but the under wings were sort of plain, greyish beige. what kind of moth is it???
much love!
michael bailey – israel

Hi Michael,
This looks so much like the American Rattlebox Moth, Utetheisa bella, that we were surprised to read your letter that it is from Israel. A google search of the genus name and Israel led us to a site that pictures Utetheisa pulchella.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination