From the yearly archives: "2007"

fly with an attitude!
Dear Whatsthatbugers,
Looks like a bumblebee but I know better. This robberfly is a resident of my garden what a noble creature it is. I can’t imagine how she (he) captured this red wasp. I live in central Texas (San Marcos) and am curious about just which species this is. Thank you kindly.

Hi Diane,
Noble is not usually an adjective that we hear attached to an insect, but this Bee Killer, a Robber Fly in the genus Mallophora, is surely befitting the descriptive.

Dear Bugman,
Our garden is always chock full of Preying Mantis’. It took me three years, but I finally saw one eating something! Looks like he caught some sort of caterpillar and was sucking out the inners while holding him in his grasp. Quite an awesome show, I must say!
Cincinnati, Ohio

Hi Rich,
We have been meaning to post your wonderful image for several days, but we are constantly barraged by new emails and you got lost in the shuffle. We believe this is a Chinese Mantid, Tenodera aridifolia, but would welcome an expert opinion regarding the identification. The caterpillar is an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar.

Squirrel insect
These grubs or insects showed up in my cabin along with a dead squirrel the cat brought in. Could be that its a coincidence or perhaps the cat brought them as an additional gift. The insects were not on the squirrel. Can you help me identify these so I can decide weather they a friend or foe.
Rick in Western Colorado

Hi Rick
Here is one sure to gross out our readership. These are Rodent Bot Fly Maggots, Cuterebra species. The Rodent Bot Fly is a mammalian endoparasite. According to a website we located: “The female flies will lay their eggs along rabbit trails and near rodent burrows. The first stage larvae will hatch and quickly attach to hair when a host brushes against the egg. The larvae then burrow into the skin and leave a breathing hole. ” Also on the website is the information: “Cuterebra is a normal bot fly of rodents and rabbits, but can also infect cats, dogs, and man. The adult fly looks like a bumblebee and is rarely seen. It may appear a shiny blue or black color. The third stage larva is dark brown to black with stout black spines. ” Your close-up photo shows the mouth hooks of the maggot, substantiated by this image on BugGuide. Bot Flies are also known as Warble Flies due to the lumps visible on the skin of the hapless host. There is also a Human Bot Fly, Dermatobia hominis, that is found in Central America.

Wolves on Rabbits
After just reading your description of the bot fly larvae, I’m wondering…at certain times of the year (usually late summer, early fall) when my father would go rabbit hunting, (we actually depended on them for food in the ’50’s), they would sometimes get rabbits with what they then called ‘wolves’ in their necks and we were not allowed to use them for a food source. Could it be that I’ve learned after all these years that these were actually bot fly larvae? I large lump would most times be visible. Does this actually damage the meat for human consumption? Thanks for taking the time to read my query and if you have time to answer, that would be great, but if you don’t, I understand…. Sincerely,
Pat, Hawk Point

Hi Pat,
It sounds like your rabbits with wolves were parasitized by a Bot Fly. The meat near the wolf or warble might be unsavory, but cooking the meat would definitely kill the parasite.

Joanne Gets Sick!!!(08/15/2007) The Rodent Bot Fly
Will you pay for cleaning my nice leather recliner cuz I just barfed on it.

Close Encounter with a Human Bot Fly!!!
(08/15/2007) Human Bot Fly experience
Hello fellow bug-nuts,
Your recent posting of the rodent bot fly larvae brought back some interesting memories. I brought an unexpected souvenir home from a trip to Costa Rica in ’00. You guessed it. Luckily, I’d read about these critters. Made me the hit of my local doctor’s office. I actually printed a page from a Canadian website and brought it along in to prove I knew what I was talking about. It is a very weird sensation to feel these beasts move when they’re in your flesh (mine was in the flab of my upper left arm). You can actually feel the bristles they anchor themselves with as they twist about. The research I did told me the adult female bots actually wrestle a mosquito down and lay an egg on the mosquito’s abdomen. Then the mosquito bites a host, the egg on her belly hatches (very quickly, apparently), and the newborn enters the mosquito’s bite site. My research also gave me the bot’s larval timeline, so I knew how long I had, and how insistent to be at the doctor’s office. Love your site! I check it every day.
Don J. Dinndorf
St. Augusta, MN

Bot Fly Larvae are Edible
edibility update on bot fly
Hi Daniel,
Just to keep the gross-out fest going, and to answer Pat’s question: I’m pretty sure that NO, the presence of bot fly larvae would not render the host animal inedible. There’s a good deal of documentation [as recent as 1918] of Inuit hunters taking down caribou that were infested with large fly larvae, and then making a point of cooking and eating the larvae first. Not sure if I could do it, especially considering the textural issue of those rough, stubble-like projections all over the larvae’s sides, but the point is that if some people enjoyed eating the actual flesh-consuming maggots, then eating the rest of the animal would not be a big deal. Reluctance to do so is pure ‘fussiness’ on our part. Best,

Moth Photos
My son took the photos of the Cecropia Moth in May from inside our kitchen window late in the evening. It was an amazing sight! I had never seen such a huge moth. In July, I noticed what I thought was a dry leaf on my first floor window screen. When I looked more closely, I realized it was a moth. A day or so later, it appeared again on another window. I called my son to look at it, and he said he had seen it and photographed it at dusk the day before. That is why the color is not true. The mullion behind the moth is actually white. The moth was exactly the color of a wrinkled dry leaf. It looked like it had wrapped its wings around it body. It was another amazing sight! I spent a lot of time researching it without any luck; except to decide it was some kind of a sphinx moth. Today, I tried Googling it again and opened your web site. And, now I have the answer after looking at your great selection of sphinx type moths. If I’m right; it’s a "Blinded Sphinx Moth." We live in the rural area of Hillsborough, NH. I hope your site is still active. It’s excellent! Thank you.

Hi Mary,
Your are correct. This is a Blinded Sphinx.

Please can you identify this moth
Was in Zambia, Africa in Jan last year working at a lodge next to the Zambezi River. This moth flew in while we were having supper. I was amazed by its unique markings. Would be great to know what it’s called. Cheers,
Sean Rooke

Hi Sean,
If this is not Epiphora mythimnia, then it is a very close relative. You can compare your image to one posted on Kirby Wolfe’s Insect Company Website.

Huge Wasp found in my pool
My niece found this huge wasp in our pool today and we are curious about what it is and if we should be worried. I have never noticed one around the house before, but then again I let the bees and wasp do there business so I never pay that much attention (I leave them alone, they leave me alone). He was dead by time we found him so after taking our pictures we dropped him onto a spider web and came inside to see if we could identify it on your site, no luck. I cannot get anymore pictures or info because within a few minutes the spider had taken him into his lair 🙂
Kristy Fedyk

Hi Kristy,
We believe this is a female Red Footed Cannibalfly, Promachus rufipes, one of the Giant Robber Flies. If handled, they are capable of biting, but they are much more interested in capturing other winged prey. They are also known as Bee Panthers.