From the monthly archives: "April 2008"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

ahhh!!! Praying mantis eating a Mouse!!! ICE!!!
Praying mantis eating Mice!!!
hey hey Bugman,
saw your carnage section of, and wanted to add some carnage in favor of our insectoid friends. Attached is some pictures of yes, a Mantis eating a Mice; it looks like a common green mantis, found here near DC, European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) and it had a ferocious appetite!!!

Did you take this photo?

yes, they were taking fall 2007, I have a few more pictures and a short video I believe. I live in the northern VA area, near DC.

Hi again TopheR,
Thanks for verifying that you are the author of this photo. When we first received it, we were reluctant to post without that confirmation because the image might have come from another website specializing in internet sensationalization. Now that you have been established as the author, we have additional questions and are ready to take the dialog online. There is still something about this image that doesn’t quite sit right with us. The mouse looks like a domestic mouse. No one will contest that Preying Mantids will eat what they can catch. We have seen photos of Mantids eating hummingbirds and lizards. Is this a captive Preying Mantis that was fed a pet store mouse?, or was it an actual documentary image of nature in action? The plant looks like a potted plant shot indoors, leading us to believe it is a staged photograph. We also want to clarify the difference between our Carnage pages and our Food Chain pages. Nature in action does not constitute carnage. Human intervention constitutes carnage. Insects eating one another and other life forms is the balance of nature, and those images find their way to our Food Chain section. Until we get a response from you regarding our latest queries, we will post your image to both Unnecessary Carnage (if the mouse was fed by you to the mantis for a sensational photo and video) and Food Chain (since the mantis did actually eat the mouse).

Update: Documentation of weird nature.
I had some pinkies I was feeding to my savannah monitor one at a time; I put them at the base of that ficus tree while I went to feed the lizard. The mantis was drawn to the movement of them, possibly the faint squeaking if they hear that good, and grabbed him one. I was suprised that the mantis could actually grab and hold onto it and climb because the pinkie mouse felt heavier than the mantis itself. The mantis ate enough of the mouse it kill it, but didnt finish all of it; it dined on the neck region of the mouse and then I assume after it was full, dropped the pinkie and proceeded to clean its claws and “fingers”.

Thanks for the clarification TopheR,
We will officially remove this entry from the Unnecessary Carnage page, and keep it on the Food Chain page where it belongs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Need help!
Just wondering if you know what this beetle is. A biologist friend thinks it’s a carabid beetle but isn’t sure. If you identify it you’re welcome to use the photo on your great website! Thanks,

Hi Corey,
Your beetle is a Tiger Beetle, most likely a Six Spotted Tiger Beetle, Cicindela sexguttata. Tiger Beetles are Ground Beetles in the family Carabidae, so they are Carabids, but they belong to a distinct subfamily Cicindelinae. Your photo is lovely, and looks like it was lit professionally in a studio.

Thanks for the ID and for the compliments. The photo was actually taken in the beetle’s habitat, the Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Some bugs from Sabah
Another delighted newcomer to your site! I took these photos in Sabah, Borneo in Feb this year and from going through your site I think they might be a lanternfly and a snakefly, but it would be good if you knew the species.
Amanda, England

Hi Amanda,
Your Lanternfly from the family Fulgoridae is positively stunning. If we are able (since we have time constraints right now) we will also post your photo of a Dobsonfly. We will try to find out the species, but we don’t think this will be possible without hours and hours of research, and that is time we do not have. Exact Internet identification research is often very difficult for parts of the tropical world.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Spider in Anza-Borago Desert
On a recent visit to the Anza-Borago Desert in the late afternoon, many spiders like the one in the attached photo came out of hiding and were crawling around on the ground. The spider had long legs with white dots on them and an orange body with a black area on its back. Sorry the photo is not better. All I had was my little digital camera and these spiders moved fast! Thanks for the help.
Nancy in Minnesota

Hi Nancy,
This is not a spider. It is a Harvestman in the order Opiliones, commonly called Daddy-Long-Legs. It appears your Harvestman is transporting Mites, which use the Harvestman to move from location to location and hopefully, a food source. We are not sure of either the species of Harvestman, or the Mites. We do not want to rule out the possibility that the Harvestman is a female transporting her young. this is a behavior shared by certain other Arachnids, including Wolf Spiders, Scorpions, and Whip Scorpions. We will check with Eric Eaton, but he will probably not respond until Monday.

Update: (04/28/2008)
Yes, those are mites (probably phoretic and not parasitic) on the harvestman.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Lesson Learned in Florida
Last spring, I tried in vain to keep eight, young, butterfly plants alive in my modest flower garden. “How wonderful it would be to attract beautiful butterflies”, I thought. To my dismay, fat, yellow, aphids appeared by the dozens on each little plant. They were herded by fire ants from a nearby nest. For weeks, I squished aphids, always marveling at the protectiveness of the ants and sheer numbers of aphids they managed. While walking in the cattle pasture one day, I saw an entire plant covered with aphids. I was horrified that the source of these bugs was a weed that had appeared in our pastures in record abundance, presumably due to a long drought experienced here in northern Florida. Since we raise natural beef cattle, I picked many of these weeds by hand out of our pastures, but to my dismay, as I picked them, their seed pods were already releasing fluffy seeds for next year. This spring, the population of these plants was even higher than last year! So, I began picking these plants early this year, well before they could complete their seed pods. I didn’t get far before I noticed a caterpillar on one of the plants. It was a monarch! (See pictures below). I looked at my hands and noticed the milky substance from the few plants I had already picked. How ironic that I waged a (thankfully) unsuccessful war against what turned out to be a milkweed native to Florida because I wanted to save a few measly butterfly plants! How completely human of me. Little did I know that I had several hundred or more plants in the pastures that were the perfect diet for the very creature I was seeking to attract. I have learned my lesson and sworn off meddling with milkweeds or anything else unless I know for certain that it is a threat to native wildlife.

Hi Alicia,
Thank you for writing one of the best letters we have received in a long time. We are excited to post your photo of a Monarch Caterpillar.

Glad you enjoyed it! I’m researching when these caterpillars will complete their pupa stage and emerge as butterflies. We plan to rotate the cattle in our other pastures until then to keep the monarchs safe. We already made changes in our livestock management to accommodate two other threatened species: gopher tortoises and Sherman fox squirrels. Gratefully,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Here are the picture of the toe-biter we found in our building one morning. I wrote you a week or so ago, but didn’t have the photos that we took. It looked like someone had stepped on him :-(. He was very awkward and slow. But it sounds like that is typical for this little guy. I’m not sure what he was doing so far from a water source, there is a river around here, but maybe 5 miles away. Thanks for having such a great site, you see a lot of strange critters in Iraq, and your website is very helpful. We actually saw a camel spider today, he was probably 4 inches long, and very fast! I have sent the video along as well in a separate email, the guys at work were having some fun with him, but he escaped under the port a potty. Have a good day!
Patricia Winn

Hi Patricia,
Thanks for sending us your Toe-Biter image. We get numerous images of Toe-Biters, also called Giant Water Bugs or Electric Light Bugs, from around the world, including the U.S. Please return home safely and soon.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination