From the monthly archives: "February 2007"

Can you tell me what kind of spider this is..and does it live in a Grandaughter was digging for cradads and found it,,,,,,Thank you,
Sue Moore in Silsbee,Texas

Hi Sue,
We believe this is a Burrowing Wolf Spider in the genus Geolycosa, but decided to contact Susan Hewitt who has been identifying many spiders for us. Here is what she humbly writes: “Hi Daniel, You guys know a lot more than I do, you really do, but from the little bit I have learned just now today, I think you are probably right that it is a burrowing wolf spider, genus Geolycosa. The thing is, that apparently there are five species of Geolycosa in Texas: fatifera, latifrons, missouriensis, riograndae and sepulchralis. I don?t know which one of those is the most commonly-found species in Texas, and I also don?t know where exactly, and under what circumstances, this particular spider was found. (Who knows how different those 5 species are to the naked eye/camera anyway — I can?t find images on the web to compare them all. In any case, it may quite likely not really possible to put a species ID on this spider using just one photo like this…. I think the genitalia are what officially differentiate them.) Best, Susan “

Stumped two Universities so far with this amazing white spider…
February 20, 2007
Hello there:
So far two Universities have no idea what this amazing white spider is. It was found with many others in an old house my friend *was* considering buying in Easton, CT. ABOUT PHOTO: Subject’s photo was taken in Easton, CT- USA. Estimated size 2-4 inches. This photo has not been altered in any way except reduction of resolution. Oh, the spider was very much alive. Many of his brethren too. In fact, my friend could not sleep for many nights after observing all the crawling.

Hi Cary,
The reason we asked if the spider was alive is that this looks like it could be a fungus infection on one of the spiders in the Pholcus genus. Your further clarification tends to rule that out. We do not recognize your spider, nor have we ever seen a spider that resembles this. Sadly, your image does not have enough critical focus to reveal any details. We will try to search for information as well as check with some of our contributors. One of our readers wrote back to us: ” Oh gee, this is really ridiculous-looking. Sorry but no way is this thing alive, despite what Cary’s friend said. There is no real focus, so you can’t even be sure what you are looking at, but to me it looks either as you say, like a dead 2 inch daddy-long legs completely ‘bloomed out’ with a fungal growth, or perhaps more likely it is a molted exoskeleton hanging on an external wall which got coated with freezing condensation (sort of like frozen dew) in winter. I can well believe there were living daddy-long legs running around in the basement in this place, but they would have been normal color and normal appearance, not like this. “

Caterpillar Identification
Dear Sir,
Can you identify the caterpillar in the attached photo ? The picture was taken in the Florida Everglades in the middle of January.As you can see,it is quite large.I would be grateful if you can help. Yours Sincerely,
steve Parrack.

Hi Steve,
This is a Ficus Sphinx Caterpillar. The caterpillar comes in several different color morphs, and this is one.

Cuckoo Wasp?
Dear Bugman,
I think I have a Cuckoo Wasp in my garden but I’m not sure. I’ve seen it on my flowering Sedum for the last few days. Collecting honey I guess along with many honey bees. I live in the southwest of Western Australia. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this bug…totally blown away by its amazing colours!
Julia Parkes

Hi Julia,
Thank you for sending in your beautiful image of a gorgeous Cuckoo Wasp. The Geocities website has some additional photos of Australian specimens.

Hi! These orb-waiver spiders abound in my house here in Argentina. I would like to know what are they and whether they are dangerous. I can only guess they are some kind of Argiope from some pictures I’ve found in Wikipedia and in your site.

Hi Emiliano,
These are Argiope Orb Weavers, but we cannot tell you what species without additional research. The smaller spider is the pair and he will live in the web with the female and eventually mate. Should you happern to learn the species name, please update us.

Hi again guys,
I reckon this is Argiope argentata, the Silver Argiope. Take a look at: Judging by all the images I looked at, this spider seems to be quite variable in color. The species range of distribution is from the U.S., southern California (San Diego), southern Texas and Arizona all the the way to Argentina. Got that info from a very good page about the species at: To Emiliano I would say: do not worry, they are not dangerous unless you are a fly. Most species of spiders do not pose any risk to humans.

Strange insect
Hello – I found this critter in the Marys River, Corvallis OR, in some reeds on the bank. It is about 1 3/4 inches long. Can you help me figure it out?
Arthur Pelegrin

Hi Arthur,
This is a Damselfly Nymph known as a Naiad. They can be recognized by the trifurcate feathery gills on the tail end. Damselflies are related to Dragonflies, but are more delicate in form. Our big curiosity is the extra pair of legs. Could this image be digitally altered?????

Hi! The critter in the picture is an immature Calopteryx aequibilis, and the extra pair of legs and extra antenna are tricks of computer graphic editing. I’m an aquatic entomology teacher and sometimes use that picture to see if my students are paying attention, I just sent it to you as a joke. I hope you won’t take it amiss, I think you are providing a very valuable and commendable service with your website. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to the day when everyone knows what a toebiter is (you seem to get a lot of requests for that one!) Cheers and grins,
Arthur Pelegrin