From the monthly archives: "November 2006"

Tidal bugs
This summer I was on vacation on the island of Vinalhaven off the coast of Maine. While exploring the wonderful tidal pools there, my family and I discovered little clumps of blue-grey bugs who would utilize the surface tension of the water and hang out on top of it. They would move across the surface of the water by clutching each other and rearranging themselves. It was certainly not a very efficient or graceful way of moving, but it was mesmerizing to watch! They would occasionally reach the edge of the tidal pool and walk around on the rocks, but they would always end up back in the water again shortly. I could not tell whether they preferred being in the water or were just very clumsy. I’m guessing that they are either larvae or nymphs of something–but beyond that, I have no idea! Any thoughts on what these charming little creatures could be? Thank you,

Hi Julia,
We were struck by the resemblance of your unknown (to us) creatures to a type of Springtail known as the Snow Flea, a primitive insect. We googled “Springtail, marine” and were lead to a fascinating description of a surface dwelling species named Anurida maritima. Typing that into the search engine lead us to a positive identification of your creature on a UK website that states: “Anurida maritima is abundant and primarily limited to the upper intertidal zone. It can be found in large clusters of 20-100’s wandering over rocks in search of food or floating on the surface film of upper shore rock pools (only when the water is still). This species retreats into rocky crevices, or shelters under weeds during high tide: retreating one hour before the tide begins to rise.” We then found a reference on a Maine website that translates the scientific name as “wingless one who goes to sea.”

Tangier Island bug
This was seen on the beach on Tangier Island on the Chesapeake in mid-October of this year.
Roberta Wallace, Manlius, NY
PS Great site. I’ve learned a lot browsing through old queries. Thanks in advance for identification.

Hi Roberta,
We do not have the skill to take this Tiger Moth to the species level, but it is in the genus Grammia. Just a peek on the BugGuide site will show you how similar the various species in the genus are. If we were gambling, we might say Parthenice Tiger Moth, Grammia parthenice.

What are these bugs please
Dear Bugman,
I was wondering if you can tell me please, what this little guy is? It was wandering on the patio of our garden in South Africa, about 25miles north of Johannesburg. At first glance I thought that it was a leaf then realised that it might be a sort of Mantis? It remained in the garden for about two hours eventually climbing up onto a wooden table. It is less than two inches long. I have many more photographs of it if need be. Many thanks
Best regards from
Mrs Wendy Tomes
Johannesburg, South Africa

Hi Wendy,
We believe this is a Ghost Mantis, Phyllocrania paradoxa, based on a site we found online.

Reducing Bug Carnage
What a truly interesting site. I came here attempting to identify a critter I found in the house that I was unable to identify. Things like that worry me a bit now because my son lives in a group home that recently had to be fumigated for bed bugs. My wife was outraged that I would not allow him to spend overnight here while this task was undertaken. Her attitude quickly changed when I provided a mountain of information showing how insidious and infectious these creatures are and how easy it is to become infested with them. The bottom line was that within 30 seconds I had my sinister beast positively identified as a sow bug. I imagine you heard the sigh of relief all the way there. What blew me off my chair though is who you actually are.graphic designers. Is there no rock that remains unturned or mayhem we won’t commit in the name of creativity? I just roared until the tears ran down my cheeks. I think my pants need changing now too. Well done! I’ve been pretty creative too, but nothing like this. The only complaint I can lodge is that some of the pages are rather long, so it might be a good idea to insert a “back to top” link so that one does not have to scroll forever to get back to the other links at the top. It’s easy enough to do with some quick coding in simple HTML. After the first one it’s simple copy and paste in the coding until you go insane. Either that or you write a CSS style sheet that will do it automatically on every page.
And now, the real reason I’m emailing is to provide you with a very effective (although rather ugly) way of dealing with tent caterpillars and their ilk. This REALLY works, but it’s not for those who are squeamish. You’re not gonna like this…but it really works for these and other creepies like tent worms, army worms and cabbage worms. First of all you need to go to a garage sale and find a blender. You’ll get killed if you use the one in the kitchen for this. Collect a cup of the critters from your tree when they clump up in the tree for overnight warmth. Dump them in the blender and add 2 cups of water. Turn it to “puree” and leave it run for about 30 seconds. The water will turn green. Strain the resulting liquid through a coffee filter into a jar with a tight fitting lid. You’ll get about 2 cups of this delightful cocktail. It can be frozen for up to 6 months without any loss of potency. Mix at a ratio of 10 parts water to 1 part concentrate. Add a couple of drops of dish soap to make it stick to the leaves better. This can now be put in a sprayer and the afflicted plant sprayed. Aim at the leaves that are being eaten. Kills the worms dead and it won’t hurt anything else! Why does this work? Well, apparently they are not immune to their own gasto-intestinal gut bacteria and it is poisonous to them. Cheers!
Otter Brighteyes
(This site addie will soon change as I have bought my own domain and private web space. The entire site is being rebuilt in proper XHTML Transitional. Does this matter?)

Dear Otter,
While we are happy to post your Pure

This bug sounded so loud rooting around in our trash can we thought it was a mouse! Pretty big, looks like a termite, but not sure, can you identify it for us? We found it in our basement in Oakland, CA. Thanks,
Celeste and Steve

Hi Celeste and Steve,
Armed with the information that this is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, you should be able to find enough information on our site and elsewhere online to write a term paper.

bug in texas
i saw this bug crawling around at an airport in texas. i couldn’t find it online or on your site. the local guys called it an "armadillo bug", but a google search for that did not turn up any results. can you tell me what it is? thank you and nice site.
kitty hawk

Hi Kitty,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus Megetra. Many Blister Beetles secrete Cantharidin which causes blistering of the skin.