From the monthly archives: "February 2008"

Two pics from Argentina
Hi, we spotted this great spider last weekend in El Palmar National Park in Argentina.
Andrés & Gabriel

Hola Andrés and Gabriel,
Your spider is a Golden Silk Spider, named because of the color of its silk. There is only one species reported in the new world, Nephila clavipes, so we are pretty certain that is your spider. The coloration is a bit different from the specimens we generally receive from the southern U.S., with the abdomen appearing brown instead of yellow. The species is distributed from the southern United States down to Argentina, and including the Caribbean. Wikipedia mentions an Argentine subspecies, Nephila clavipes vespucea, but does not picture it. A brief internet did not produce a photo of Nephila clavipes vespucea, but perhaps a faithful reader will discover an image and send us the link.

Hello Bugman!
Hi, just sending this again, in case it got lost in the metamorphosis shuffle! My big question about this brown recluse is the fact it is two colors, i.e., brown thorax, white abdomen. Any insights as to why that is? Have a great day!

Originally sent: (02/01/2008) Hello Bugman! I live in Arkansas and I know our house is infested with brown recluses. I have just never seen one with a whitish abdomen before. In all respects it sure looks like a brown recluse to me. Could this be a female about to lay eggs? The spider is about half an inch. I found it crawling in a box of clothes. If this is a brown recluse, you might want to post the photo so people know the spider’s color can vary like this. I thought they were not active in winter? This is very scary as I have had two bites, the last one this summer and it was a systemic, severe reaction. Thanks,

Hi Kate,
Your example of a Brown Recluse, Loxosceles reclusa, is consistant with images posted to BugGuide. This species a uniformly colored abdomen, but sometimes is is light and other times darker. The violin shaped marking on on the cephalothorax is distinctive, giving this spider the other common name of Violin Spider.

Can you help me identify this bug?
My sister in law lives here in League City Texas nearby and has these bugs coming into her house. I am normally pretty good at identifying bugs but this one has me stumped…?? Can you help? Thank you in advance,
Shannon Clement
League City Texas

Hi Shannon,
Your beetle, a Red Headed Ash Borer, Neoclytus acuminatus, is a very effective wasp mimic. They are probably emerging from firewood.

Giant Crab Spider?
I came across this spider crawling across my bathroom window. I was quite surprised. It is the largest spider I have seen that is not in a cage or a zoo. I was able to wrangle it into a bucket and snap a few pictures. The coin is a US Quarter. I found several websites stating that this spider, the Giant Crab Spider (Olios sp) is common to Arizona, however I live in Porterville California, which is halfway between Bakersfield and Fresno. Did I identify the species correctly, and is this spider common in California agricultural lands? I released it into my garden after taking the photo. Thanks,

Hi Dave,
You are correct. Giant Crab Spiders in the genus Olios are also known as Huntsman Spiders. We believe this to be a Golden Huntsman Spider, Olios fasciculatus.

tiny red bugs on avocado seed……
the past few days i’ve been trying to figure out what kind of bugs these are! they are very small (about 1.5mm) with a bulbous, shiny red body, 6 legs, black head and antennas. i found them on my front porch on my avocado seed that was sitting in a glass of water in the sun. at first i thought they were baby ladybugs so i moved the seed out of the water and onto a plant so they wouldn’t drown, but later found that baby ladybugs have the black spots just like adults… what are these?!!? i know they are not mites, which is the only "small red bug" i can find on the internet. i live in austin, tx and (if this even matters) the weather has been 65-75 degrees in february. after two days of searching all the resources i could find online i’ve decided to take a shot at writing! they seem so simple, yet i can’t for the life of me figure them out! i’ve attached a few pictures i took this morning…. thank you in advance,
cat presley

Hi Cat,
We can accurately give you a general identification, but we are bound and determined to be more specific. These are newly hatched Hemipterans, True Bugs. We thought they looked like Stink Bugs, but finding them on an avocado pit is puzzling unless the female stink bug just laid her eggs on its surface not considering it as a food source. We did find a very similar image on BugGuide, also from Texas, that is just identified as a nymphal Hemipteran herd, but it is suspected that they are Stink Bugs, family Pentatomidae. BugGuide had another image from Virginia posted with the following comment by Eric Eaton: “They often stay together to re-inforce their warning colors of red and black. After the next molt they will disperse a bit.” Another similar image on BugGuide from California is just listed as True Bugs as is one from Alabama. Another virtually identical image on BugGuide is listed as a not yet identified stink bug nymph.

Arctiidae moth from Northeast Patagonia, Argentina
Hi Bugman!
I´ve found this beautiful and elegant moth several times since January, probably attracted by lights of a new building between the coastal dunes and the shrub vegetation (that we call "monte" in spanish) in Las Grutas, a beach city in Río Negro, Patagonia, Argentina. It is no longer than 2cm (0.8 inches). Hind wings have white and black broad lines and bloody red in the posterior area. All the femurs are shocking red too. I´ve been searching dozens of websites with Arctiidae pictures, but there are very few with southern South America´s ones. No luck until now… So I will try sending my low quality pictures (taken with a pocket cam) to you, in hope you can help me! Your site is one of my favourites, and I´m visiting it as much as I can to enjoy and learn with you and the people who write. I´m biologist, and had worked in spider taxonomy, but right now I´m working with shorebirds ecology. Your site keeps my loved and amazing bugs from all the world at hand! Thanks a lot for your work!
in San Antonio Oeste and Las Grutas
Río Negro. Patagonia

Hi Mirta,
Thank you so much for your touching letter. It is the first query we have ever received from Patagonia. Sadly, we cannot identify your lovely Tiger Moth, but we plan to post it for our readership. We will also contact our venerable neighbor, Julian Donahue, an expert in the Arctiidae, in the hopes that he can provide you with an answer.

Update: (03/10/2008)
Hi Daniel,
Got the photos, and have printed them. I won’t be able to give you an answer until I check my references at the Museum on my next visit … . However, I suspect that your moth is actually a noctuid, rather than an arctiid (although the higher classification nerds have recently demoted the arctiids to a subfamily of noctuids–what a blow!). Just didn’t want you to think I overlooked your query. All the best,