From the monthly archives: "December 2006"

Help! Thousands of Tiny Purple Bugs!
We live in Oregon and have recently been invaded by literally thousands of these tiny what look like purple bugs. They seem to cluster together in piles, mostly hiding out of the rain, but sometimes in the puddles themselves. At this point only outside. Here are a few photos. Any ideas? Any help would be appreciated. It’s quite the mystery. Thanks,
Jordan Wand

Hi Jordan,
These are most certainly a type of Springtail known in the singular as a Snow Flea. These minute dark blue flea-like insects form large aggregations in the winter months and are sometimes found on the surface of snow on warm days. They are found in leaf litter and holes in the soil and are believed to feed on pollen.

No questions. Just a great picture of a centipede found on the southern tip of Baja, Mexico. 1 mile from the Sea of Cortez, 7" Came up the sink drain with drains out into an arroyo.

Hi Kathy,
Thank you for the multiple attempts you made sending this image our way until we received a file that did not crash our program. The image is awesome and the hand drawn ruler is a nice touch.

can’t rest until I know
It’s Christmas Day ’06… Merry Christmas! I live close to Perth in Western Australia and I have always had a fascination with all manner of bugs, but today I came across one that really caught my attention and I have never come across in all my almost 44 years on this amazing Earth! I have this problem where I can’t rest until I know what a thing is that captures my interest so and this is why I am sending these photos to see if you can help me? I checked out your wonderful beetle pic collection, but did not see it there. If you can tell what sex it is I’d also be interested in that, but mainly just what it is called. I know you’re busy.. but it’s your own fault for having such a great site. Thanks in advance,

Hi Jill,
We have been researching on the internet for the past hour and have nothing conclusive for you. Our first inclination, really just a guess, is that this is some species of Carrion Beetle in the family Silphidae. A google search lead us to an image of Ptomaphila perlata that is somewhat similar, but definitely not a species match. We are calling in the big guns with Eric Eaton to see if he at least agrees with the general identification of a Carrion Beetle. Each image we opened was more interesting than the last, so we are posting three in the hopes that some reader can give both you and us a conclusive identification as we will have trouble resting as well. Here is what Eric Eaton believes: “I’m pretty sure this is a darkling beetle in the family Tenebrionidae. It resembles our American genus Embaphion, in fact. Eric”

I can rest because now I know It’s a type of pie dish beetle! Thank you for your time… I should have mentioned that the bug in question was about an inch long by half an inch wide… quite large really!

Ed. Note:  Pie Dish Beetle
January 30, 2010
We are doing some housecleaning and recategorizing some of our archive entries, and we found a broken link which we fixed.  The Pie Dish Beetle is Pterohelaeus cornutus or Pterohelaeus piceus.  The species is also known as a False Wireworm.

Correction: January 11, 2011
In researching a new posting today, we believe we have identified this Hairy Backed Pie Dish Beetle as
Helea perforata on FlickR.

BIG insect
I am in Guatemala and a bug flew into my neighbor’s boat. His wings had an iridescent, abalone coloring that rubbed off shiny yellowish. His head was more like a grasshopper’s. He was BIG. Clearly, I’ve got too much time on my hands because I have looked at more bugs on the internet than I ever thought possible. Can you give me any idea what this bug is? One "expert" suggested it looked like a big cockroach except for its head… Here is a link to the bug on my webshots page, which I handled. It liked to crawl, didn’t seem to be interested in flying away, and (thank goodness) it didn’t bite. Sincerely,
Sharon Kratz

Hi Sharon,
This is a Metallic Wood Boring Beetle in the family Buprestidae. We got another photo from Panama in 2005 and Eric Eaton thought it might be the Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer Beetle, Euchroma gigantea. Most photos we found online did not seem to match your specimen, but we finally located an image that does appear to be a match. Freshly emerged specimens are reported to have a yellow bloom which would explain your observation. Once the bloom rubs off, the colors are more iridescent. The scientific name means “colorful giant” according to some information we have located. The elytra or wing covers are made into jewelry and ornaments by peoples in Central and South America; adults are eaten by Tzeltal-Mayan Indians in Chiapas, Mexico. The range of the insect reaches from Mexico to Argentina.

Could you please id this furry S. FL moth
I’m in S. Palm Beach County, FL. There was hundreds of these flying around a preserve scrub habitat, I thought they were skipper butterflies until I got a better look. By noon they all had found a place to rest and none were flying anymore. I only guess they feed on oaks or palms. I’ve id’ed many critters by just browsing your webpages. Thanks so much for the great adventures
Boca Raton, FL

Hi Emilia,
Adult Buck Moths, Hemileuca maia, do not feed, but the caterpillars do feed on oaks. Your observation supports the comment on BugGuide that the moth is “Said to fly rapidly at mid-day through oak forests.”

Very pretty bug
I love your site. I wish I had some better shots but the bug was very active. Its one I have never seen, 3/8s of an inch long about and his colors were irridescent. The underside of his wings was orange. I am thinking some sort of moth. Do you know what he is? Thanks,
Lori McNamara

Hi Lori,
After spending some time trying to unsuccessfully identify your moth, we realized we must have imagined you said you were from Florida. Now we are not sure what country you reside in and are clueless as to the identify of your lovely iridescent moth.

I am from Florida, born here in fact. I am an artist. Since the hurricanes a few years ago I am seeing many unusual plants that I have never seen here before as well. He may have blown in from somewhere. Do I get to name him if he is “new?” Lori McNamara

Hi Lori,
We are still hoping someone can identify this critter, but your hurricane theory is very possible. You might try contacting the moth photographers group and posting your image. If you ever get an answer, please let us know. Naming new species is not our area of expertise.

I posted at the site below and got an answer very fast, a bit over an hour: Hemerophila diva (on BugGuide).
Lori McNamara