From the monthly archives: "April 2008"

what in the???
Yikes! My boyfriend’s friend lives in Brazil and found this walking around his apartment. I love the tropics, but I am glad I don’t have spiders like this just "drop by" unannounced.
Lisa Hemesath
Portland, OR

Hi Lisa,
This is a harmless Harvestman in the order Opiliones. In the U.S. Harvestmen are known as Daddy-Long-Legs.

I am stumped
I photographed this butterfly in a grass field near the edge of a lake. I live in Grand Junction Colorado and have seen many very similar to this one, but i am still unable to identify it. Can you help?

Luckily, some time back we bought Jeffrey Glassberg’s book Butterflies Through Binoculars the West, and we were able to identify this lovely Arachne Checkerspot, Poladryas arachne. It is found in mountain meadows and arid grasslands and is most often spotted in the morning. There are two broods through most of the range, the epicenter being where Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado come together. Adults fly from late April to June, with a second brood flying in September. We are thrilled to add this new species to our archives, and thought fondly of Patrick while doing the posting.

Unidentified spider-Cyclosa???
Hello Bugman,
Was wondering if you can help me identify this spider. I live in Sacramento, CA and this spider currently lives amongst the papyrus plants in my pond. It builds a web between the tall fronds of two different papyrus plants (see pic) and then eats the gnats that get caught in the web. The plants are two feet apart from eachother, so I’m guessing that the spider swims from one plant to another to initially anchor it’s web? I’ve never witnessed it swimming though. The web generally measures about 2 feet across, because that’s how far the plants are apart from each other.
Based on your spider database, I feel like it looks closest to the Cyclosa family due to the oddly shaped abdomen, but I’m not sure. It I had to guess it’s size, I’d say it’s 1-1.5″ long, with it’s legs extended as in underleaf pictures. Thanks for your help and I love your site,

Hi Leslie,
Your spider is a Long Jawed Orbweaver in the genus Tetragnatha. Most likely, the spider has a single anchor line to the web from which to rebuild each day, or that the spider drops a line of silk and the wind carries it to the opposite side. We do not believe the spider is swimming across the pond daily.

Hero Swamp Darner?
Hello! My name is Sarah-Ellen Leonard and I’ve been checking your site daily for about 6 months now. The volume of information is impressive, as is your ability to give feedback so rapidly. You have helped me with mealybug infestations and calmed my fears about cicada killers. I haven’t had anything to send in until now: a hero swamp darner, if I have read your site correctly. My coworker here at the University of Illinois found him/her on the sidewalk this morning. He/she is almost exactly 3″ long (sorry for the lack of size reference in the photo!) and occasionally twitches in a feeble fashion. I’m afraid this lovely creature may well be a goner. I just thought a nice image of those lovely eyes would be a worthy addition to your site. Thanks for everything!

Hi Sarah-E,
Thank you for your kind words of support. We believe you have correctly identified this Swamp Darner, Epiaeschna heros. There are many images on BugGuide to support this identification. While it is sad your specimen will soon expire, at least you got a wonderful photograph of a magnificent insect.

It’s Edible: Sky Prawn
(05/01/2008) Edibility update: dragonflies
Hi Daniel,
Happy May Day. Gorgeous photo of that swamp darner. Not so long ago dragonflies were a popular food in Indonesia, where they’re known as ‘sky prawn.’ They’re eaten in both nymph and adult forms, but the former must be cooked because it may be a transitory host of a liver fluke. In old Japanese folklore dragonflies are the steeds of dead spirits.

Assassin Bug follow up
A couple of days ago I sent a photo of an Assassin Bug, I think its in the Nymph stage. I’m keeping a close eye on the plant that has the Assassins on it. I went to the pet shop to buy some small crickets to stage an assassination. When I went to the plant, one of the nymphs had just taken another unknown bug. I took several pictures of the carnage. After a while I took off the back jumping legs of a small cricket, just pinch the upper part of the jumper and it falls off. I fed the prey to the aggressive hunter who took it immediately. While photographing the action, another Nymph joined in. It was quite the tug of war. They seemed to settle down after a few minutes and proceeded in what would be one of my worst nightmares. I hope you can tell me what kind of Assassin this is and what it may turn into. I have attached three new photos, 1 is what you consider carnage of the predators natural prey. 2 is a staged assassination of a store bought cricket. 3 A colossal battle of two creatures that may or may not be from another planet.Thanks

Hi Danny,
Thanks for sending your exciting letter and wonderful photographs. We pondered the merits of the natural predation versus the feeding intervention, and opted for the sensationalism of the “tug of war” between two Pselliopus Assassin Bug Nymphs and the store bought Cricket. Assassin Bugs in this genus are known as Sycamore Assassin Bugs.

bunches of bugs & stuff!
Hi there, My name is Rachel and I live in Central Florida. Im always running into bugs but I often find myself wondering what they are exactly. All these may be very common, but I don’t know. Id be cool to find out! If it’s too many to ask about at one time, let me know! Thanks for your time!

While your photos of various caterpillars, robber flies and muskmares are very nice, we are truly excited by your photo of a Green Banana Cockroach, Panchlora nivea, also known as a Cuban Cockroach. This is an outdoor species that does not infest homes and is not considered a pest. You can read more about it on BugGuide. We frown on getting numerous images of different species in one email as it makes it difficult for us to post multiple species in different categories to our site.