From the monthly archives: "November 2008"

A silver back spider with brown and black stripes on legs, white markings on bottom.
Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 7:49 PM
Found this one on my steps in my backyard. I live in North Park, San Diego, CA. My backyard is a bug haven, it’s a canyon. My housemate wanted to kill it, but I punched him and let it free in the tree.
Toby Gersalia
San Diego, CA

Silver Garden Spider

Silver Garden Spider

Hi Toby,
Here at What’s That Bug?, we promote the peaceful cohabitation between insects (and their relatives) and the human species.  One of our methods of education includes the Unnecessary Carnage section of our website where we post the unfortunate victims of a lack of tolerance.  While we are thrilled to hear that this lovely Silver Garden Spider, Argiope argentata, is now safely living in a tree, we are somewhat nonplussed that the intervention led to an incident of domestic violence.  We hope your housemate isn’t too badly bruised and that you two have reconciled.  Perhaps together you can peruse our Unnecessary Carnage section and hopefully your future household will be one where your own appreciation of the “lower beasts” is shared.  The Silver Garden Spider is harmless, though if carelessly handled, it may bite.  The bite, though not dangerous, may produce a slight swelling and irritation in sensitive individuals.

Black insect with fuzzy redish orange abdomen
Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 5:30 PM
Found in Peoria, Arizona in November. A solid looking 1 1/4 inch long and maybe a 1/2 inch wide insect, deep black with a vibrant redish-orange fuzzy abdomen. No wings & very busy walking around looking for something. If you were going to draw this critter, you would use a sharpie due to its solid features.
The Nicoloffs
Peoria, AZ (out in the desert)

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Nicoloffs,
This is a Velvet Ant, one of a colorful group of wasps in the family Mutillidae. Male Velvet Ants have wings, but females are flightless and resemble colorful hairy ants. Only the female is capable of stinging, and the sting of several species is quite painful. We believe, based on images posted to
BugGuide that your Velvet Ant is Dasymutilla magnifica, but the photo is so blurry, it is impossible to be certain.

I really want to know what type of moth this is
Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 7:06 AM
Hello, I got these picture in Costa Rica, in mid/early March. This guy was found near La Fortuna waterfall. He is about as big as two hands side-by-side (maybe female hands, not big male hands). In the full on picture, the green parts of the wing is accually see through, and the green is from the leaves in behind the moth.
Thanks for your help!
Thank You!
Costa Rica

Rothschildia oriziba oriziba

Rothschildia orizaba orizaba

Hi Samantha,
We knew your Giant Silk Moth was in the genus Rothschildia, a genus with many similar looking species that range from Texas through Argentina.  We researched Costa Rican species on Bill Oehlke’s excellent private World’s Largest Saturniidae Site and had four species to choose from.  We believe your moth is a female Rothschildia orizaba orizaba.

Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 4:58 PM
Dear bugman,
My curiosity has overtaken me with what this beautiful catepillar will be born into. I found this specimen in Feb-Mar, in San Diego, on my doormat. Luckily we didn’t step on it. It was slow moving, as I played with it for a while before placing it back where I found it. It was about an inch long, smooth and soft. As you can see it prefers mimicry, hence the bird dropping look, yummy. I was just wondering if you could place a name on it. Thanks, love the site. Keep it up.
Chris, friend of all bugs
San Diego, CA

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Chris,
Your bird dropping mimic is the caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes.  It is sometimes called an Orange Dog because it feeds on the leaves of orange and other citrus trees.  The butterfly is a lovely brown and yellow “tailed” species.  In recent years, the Giant Swallowtail has expanded its range to include much of Southern California.

Bug with balls in it´s antennas
Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 6:22 AM
Found in Brazil, near a Lake. 25 degrees average temperature on location.
Henryk Sasim
Nova Lima – Minas Gerais – Brazil

Unknown Longicorn from Brazil

Cosmisoma chalybeipenne Longicorn from Brazil

Hi Henryk,
All we can say for certain is that this is a Longicorn or Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae. Sadly, there are not many websites devoted to the identification of Brazilian Beetles.

Hello Bugman:
The Museo Nacional Rio de Janeiro has an excellent online searchable database of Cerambycidae Holotypes . If you go to their site and enter the Genus name Cosmisoma you will get a list of species. All of the Cosmisoma species are characterized by the curious tufted antennae. I believe C. chalybeipenne is your longicorn beetle. Regards.


Shrimp-like Bug
Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 11:59 PM
We have ‘smooshed’ a couple of these at my house recently. I can’t recall ever seeing them before. they can jump grasshoppers, perhaps even better than the grass hoppers we see around here.
The fact that it’s an insect is obvious. What’s less obvious is when shrimp made the transition to land. ;D It’s a rather dejected looking bug don’t you think?
So, whats that bug?
+1 dollar to the site if you can help me out.
North Carolina, US

Camel Cricket

Camel Cricket

Your insect is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae.  They are often found in basements and other dark, damp habitats.  According to BugGuide:  “Feed on leaf debris.  In houses may chew on paper products, occasionally fabric. Remarks If these occur in a house the best treatment is to remove them and their breeding habitat – cool moist dark places such as piles of logs or boards in basements. A clean dry home will not be a welcoming place for these guys. Although they are scary-looking they are basically harmless to humans, except perhaps for minor damage to stored items, and are easily discouraged by eliminating the dark damp habitat they prefer.”