Creepiest bug/insect i have ever seen!!
Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 4:30 AM
Hi i came across your website whilst looking for information on a bug/insect that had crawled across our hardwood floors, My first instinct was to squash it, however i picked it up with a dustpan and after analizing it for at least 20 minutes, i decided to toss it outside over our verandah(i am a total girl when it comes to bugs etc) Anyhow i am from rathmines in lake macquarie, nsw Australia. Im hoping you can help me idenify it, i have attached a picture, it seemed to be gentle and moved slowly and did not try to scurry away when it was touched with my shoe LOL also when it walked the back end of its body seemed to sway from side to side, I would like to know if it is harmful to my family if so what can i do to prevent them from coming inside the home? I get he creeps just thinking about it…..
Rathmines, Lake Macquarie NSW Australia
If you were writing from the American Southwest, we would say this is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket in the family Stenopelmatidae without a second thought. The closest relatives to Potato Bugs are in Australia and are known as Wetas. This doesn’t look like a Weta, it looks like a Potato Bug. Since there are so many Australian insect species established in Southern California, we wouldn’t discount that this is a North American Potato Bug that somehow invaded Australia. Since we must dash off to work, we really don’t have time to research if Potato Bugs have become established in Australia right now, but we are very curious. The more people travel the globe, the more chances that plants, insects, diseases and other species will be spread far from their native ranges along with people. Eventually we may have globally homogenized ecosystems.
Gee, I think your commentary is perfect. I have no idea, either! It just about ‘has’ to be a weta, “king cricket,” or “Cooloola Monster.” Someone at CSIRO could help, maybe. This one is beyond my state-side expertise I’m afraid….
Hullo Kimberly, Your bug looks like a King Cricket from the Stenopelmatidae family, subfamily Deinacridinae, genus Australostoma. They live in borrows and tend to come out at nght when it is wet. Found in coastal NSW north to Brisbane. According to David Rentz (“Grasshopper Country”), “when handled, they produce foul-smelling anal secretions that deter predators,” so perhaps you were wise to persuade it to go outside.
BTW I am just around the lake from you at Wangi and found a huge cricket last week when moving compost onto the vegie garden, so perhaps the big crickets are on the move!