From the monthly archives: "March 2008"

I have been scouring the internet trying to find out what this creature is that we found. If you can help me with identification, that would be great. If not, I would appreciate anything you can tell me to lead me in the right direction to find this information. What I can tell you is that this creature was found in Hillsborough County, Florida on a blackberry bush. It is approximately 2 – 3 inches in length. It appears to me that the bigger end with the “eyes, nostrils and teeth” is not the actual head, but the tail end. The other end with the smaller triangular shape, appears to be the head. This end latches onto the blackberry as if eating. This end is the end that appears to direct movement. The circle on the top of this “head” is interesting in that it appears to blink or have some type of movement like a flicker of a tongue or something. Thank you so much for your time.
Michele Petys

Hi Michele,
The Gaudy Sphinx Moth Caterpillar is a very effective snake mimic, which helps to deter birds.

Ant Mimic Spider
Hi Bugpeople,
It moved like an ant, and waved its front legs like antennae. I didn’t even realize it was an arachnid until I looked real close. I spotted it in Zakynthos, Greece last summer. Does this intriguing little spider have a name? As always, thanks for your time, your wealth of knowledge, and for providing the great resource that is What’s That Bug?.

Hi Christina,
Not surprisingly, your spider really is called an Ant Mimic Spider. Though we can’t tell you the species you have photographed, we can tell you that Ant Mimic Spiders are in the family Corinnidae.

unknown fruit fly??
In the photos attached are some sort of fly that attacks my artichoke plants. they wander around the artichoke heads and stick their ugly egg laying thing into the creases of the flower head that is trying to grow. then their maggots eat holes (i believe) and ultimately damage the crop. Please help me identify this pest. and any methods i can use to trap them. I want to rid my garden of pests without the use of chemicals. Thanks Bugman.
Chris McCrea
Vallejo, California

Hi Chris,
Fruit Flies in the family Tephritinae, as depicted on BugGuide, often have ovipositors like the specimen in your photo. They also tend to have banded wings which your specimen does not have. We couldn’t locate a convincing match, but we will contact Eric Eaton to see if he has any ideas.

Update: May 22, 2011
In preparing for a lecture at Theodore Payne Foundation, we are finding images that we need for our PowerPoint, and in so doing, we are finding many unidentified insects buried deep in the archive, including this introduced Fruit Fly that feeds on artichokes, most likely
Terellia fuscicornis based on BugGuide.  The jury is still out whether this is an Invasive Exotic species that will decimate the artichoke crop in California, or if it is a beneficial import that may help control the spread of cardoons in open spaces.

Dull Firetip Skipper and website suggestion
Hi. THANKS for your great site. It is my favorite website on the internet. I have a photo of Dull Firetip Skipper (Pyrrhopyge araxes) that I think you might like. It was photographed at Harshaw Creek, AZ. I believe that this is a new species to your site. I also have a suggestion. I think that a page devoted to Black Witches on your site would be good. Thanks.

Hi Noah,
We really appreciate your kind letter and the photo of the Dull Firetip Skipper, which we are guessing was photographed in 2005 based on the file name. Often when we get website suggestions, we cringe because people are trying to suggest things that are incredibly labor intense. Your suggestion of a Black Witch page is easily manageable. We will need to find old entries from the archives, but amusingly, a new letter with photos just arrived.