From the monthly archives: "September 2008"

Catapillar
This creature could be found in Japan pretty much on anything from peach tree to persimmon, even sometimes cherry bloosoms in groups…. and very very poisoness in case the appearance didn’t suggest it(if you touch it, you feel like you have been burned with branding iron). I’d like to know the english name for the beast and what does he turns into??
Kouta Shimazaki
Japan

Stinging Slug Caterpillar from Japan

Stinging Slug Caterpillar from Japan

Hi Kouta,
We haven’t the time to get you an exact species name right now, but we can provide you with some information. Your caterpillar bears a striking resemblance to a North American species known as the Saddleback Caterpillar which is depicted on BugGuide. Saddleback Caterpillars are in the family Limacodidae, the Slug Caterpillar Moths. Many Slug Caterpillars have stinging spines. Perhaps someone will write in with a comment and correctly identify your exact species. It may not have an English name, but if you don’t mind a more general group name, Slug Caterpillar should suffice. Slug Caterpillar Moths are generally brown with subtle markings.  You can also see photos of adult moths from North America on BugGuide.

SPIDER
WHAT TYPE OF SPIDER AND BUTTERFLY?
CARY HARPLEY
FLORIDA PAN HANDLE

Crab Spider eats Gulf Fritillary

Crab Spider eats Gulf Fritillary

Hi Cary,
Your spider is a Crab Spider, Misumena vatia, also called a Flower Spider or a Goldenrod Spider. The prey is a Gulf Fritillary. To a certain extent, these Crab Spiders are able to change coloration to match their surroundings.

Foot sized insect/bug, can’t find anywhere on Internet
Hello,
I don’t know if you replied to this email, unfortunately if you did I think it may have went into the spam box. Could you forward me your message again please?
Many thanks

Hello,
Whilst in Turkey the other year I come across this insect which for the life of me I can’t seem to find out what it is. It was easily as large as my foot and has a large spike as a tail – easily the most horrid, chunkiest thing I’ve ever seen! I tried to get a better photo but it crawled away into dense dried shrubs & grass, and to be honest I was so scared of it I couldn’t get any closer. I seem to think it may be part of the Cricket family. I’ve seen similar, much smaller ones, around 5-10cm’s in length usually in bathrooms or patio’s. The first two photo’s are of the large one, the other’s are the similar, smaller type (with the strange tail) and were found in a bathroom (one under the toilet seat!!!).
Can you please let me know what it is and any more information you could give me? I can send the full sized photo’s if need be.
Thank you so much!
Stephen Donoghue

Unknown Turkish Orthopteran

Unknown Turkish Orthopteran

Hi Stephen,
Your original letter arrived during our transition phase to our new website format and many more letters went unanswered during that period, though in actuality, many letters always go unanswered to to the sheer volume of mail we receive. Your photos represent two different species of Orthopterans, and since the one found indoors is an immature nymph, we doubt we will be able to get you an accurate identification. The “foot sized” insect is also a Long Horned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera. We really don’t want to go any further with an identification attempt on this, but we can say that the stinger you mentioned is the ovipositor of a female. We hope one of our readers has time to research this posting and can write in with a comment. We will also see if Eric Eaton can supply any information.

Eric Eaton Replies:
Daniel:
I am reasonably confident that the unknown Turkish orthopteran is an adult female wingless katydid in the family Tettigoniidae, subfamily Saginae, and genus Saga.  I found an online checklist of Turkish Orthoptera that lists ten species of Saga in that nation, so I will leave it for others to assign a species name to this specimen.  Very interesting animals!
Eric

Large, dark brown, beetle-like bug with no antenae
We found this bug on the side of the brick house after dark on a warm September evening. My dog was trying to eat it, so we caught it and began trying to identify it without avail. Please help us identify this bug. Our children always like to find new things and learn about what they are. We have found many strange things where we live and love to find out what they are.
Curious family in Northern Utah
Brigham City, Utah (Box Elder County; Northern Utah)

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Curious Family,
Your visitor is a Giant Water Bug, also known as a Toe-Biter or Electric Light Bug.  There is a related species in Thailand that is even larger that is considered edible and frequently eaten. While our own local population would also be edible, until food prices become exorbitantly high, or until food shortages are such that our gluttonous population doesn’t have enough to eat, we doubt many homemakers will be adding Toe-Biters to the dinner menu despite them being high in protein and low in fat.

Western Conifer Seed Bug I think
Hi Dan and Lisa,
Joanne from near Chicago, again. Could you confirm this is a Western Conifer Seed Bug? I didn’t get too close ‘cuz honestly, it was looking at me and freaking me out. I saw it near Oswego, Illinois. Thanks, and I’ve linked you an my Facebook page, too!
Joanne
Near Oswego, Illinois

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Hi Joanne,
Your identification of the Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, is correct.  According to BugGuide’s data, the species has spread from the Pacific Northwest to fully half of the continental U.S.  Also known as the Pine Seed Bug, the Western Conifer Seed Bug is in the family Coreidae, the Big Legged Bugs or Leaf Footed Bugs, so named because of their unusually shaped hind legs.

What is this bug?
Hello, We love your website and have been a fan for years. My kids are now in Jr. High and we still check out the site to see what is new! I am sending you a picture of this strange bug we found on our kitchen floor. It was only 1/2 inch from one end to the other! Maybe you can tell us what it is! We hope it isn’t a yucky bug, like a roach or something!!! Thanks again for your great website!
The Bennetts
Alexandria, Virginia

European Earwig

European Earwig

Hi Bennetts,
You insect is a European Earwig, Forficula auricularia, and it is easily distinguised from native Earwigs by the distinctively shaped male forceps. Your specimen is a male. The species was probably introduced in the early 1900s, according to BugGuide. Earwigs may use their forceps to pinch people, but this is not harmful as there is no venom and the forceps would probably not be able to pierce the skin. If populations of Earwigs become too plentiful in the garden, they may cause damage to delicate blossoms as Earwigs will feed on flower bugs as well as decaying organic materials.