From the monthly archives: "March 2009"

Small Bug with 2 long arms like lobster pinchers
Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 5:07 AM
I found this bug twice in our bathroom and this morning in our kitchen. I was reading the paper and it might have crawled off my t shirt. Unable to identify it.
Doug
Flushing, MI

Pseudoscorpion

Pseudoscorpion

Dear Doug,
This is a harmless Pseudoscorpion, a minute predator often found indoors. We get countless identification requests from around the world on Pseudoscorpions, and we should probably include it in the Top Ten Tag. Though your photo is not the most detailed we have ever received, we love the inclusion of the ruler in the photo so our readership can see just how tiny this amazing predators really are.

Longhorn Beetle?
Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 5:59 AM
I came upon this sunbathing beetle on March 2 while walking along the beach just west of Colonia, Uruguay. The beach was along the River Plate, just across from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was wondering if it was indigenous or perhaps had washed ashore from a passing freighter.
Patrick J.McNamara
Real de San Carlos, Uruguay

Longhorned Borer Beetle

Longhorned Borer Beetle

Dear Patrick,
You are correct. This is a Longhorn Borer Beetle or Longicorn in the family Cerambycidae. We doubt it fell off of a freighter and suspect it is native. We don’t recognize the species, but perhaps one of our readers will write in with a correct identification.

Update: from Eric Eaton
Sun, 22 Mar 2009
Daniel:
Oh, and I’m fairly confident the Uroguayan longhorned beetle is a species of Trachyderes. Sure looks like it anyway.
Eric

Update:
Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 7:05 AM
Hi Bugman:
Good call Eric. It looks like Retrachydes (=Trachyderes) thoracicus. The Argentinean link has an excellent photo about ¾ of the way down. Regards.
Karl
http://www.cerambycoidea.com/foto.asp?Id=197
http://www.argentinean-insects.com/cerambycidae.htm

Thanks Eric,
We will link to the Texas Beetle Information page since there is one member of the genus found in the U.S., Trachyderes mandibularis
, the Long Jawed Longhorn Beetle, though it is not the same species.

Rain Beetle Photo?
Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:41 AM
My son and I came across this large beetle on a tree in our yard. We live in Southwest Minnesota. I tried to send it to you last fall when we found it but received no reply. I believe it is a rain beetle.
Vonda Talsma
Minnesota

Hermit Flower Beetle

Hermit Flower Beetle

Hi Vonda,
While we are sorry we didn’t answer you in the fall, the reality of the situation is that we are unable to answer all of our mail.  We believe this is a Hermit Flower Beetle, Osmoderma eremicola.  According to BugGuide, it is also called the Odor of Leather Beetle because of the resemblance to the smell of Russian Leather.  BugGuide indicates:  “Adults take fruit juices and sugary liquids in captivity” and “Found in rotten logs, so presumably larvae are decomposers. Adults nocturnal, found in woodlands and orchards. Adults come to lights.”

Hermit Flower Beetle

Hermit Flower Beetle

Rhinoceros Beetle
Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 9:28 AM
Hello Again!
Found this little guy struggling in a pool, a few months back. I assume he’s some species of Rhinoceros beetle (what else could you call it?). Fairly small – from memory, I’d say just about 1/2″ long, no larger (sorry no size reference in the photo).
Found in Santa Cruz Mountains, Los Gatos CA
Out of curiosity, is there an ideal size photo for submissions? OK if I send you a full-size 8 MB file of some critter in the future?
Cheers!
NewtHunterDave
Santa Cruz Mountains CA

Horned Dung Beetle

Earth Boring Dung Beetle

Dear NewtHunterDave,
We believe this is a Dung Beetle. Dung Beetles and Rhinoceros Beetles are both Scarab Beetles. Males in the genus Phanaeus, known as Rainbow Scarabs, have horns. BugGuide shows a species, Phanaeus amithaon, from Arizona, but we are not convinced this is your species. We also located a BioOne Online Journal posting,
Copyright © 1997 William Ericson ,on a new species from Sonora Mexico, Phanaeus yecoraensis, and the detail photos resemble your specimen as well. The horn on your specimen is quite distinctive. We will seek assistance from Eric Eaton on this identification. Regarding the image size, both the Salamander image and Dung Beetle image you sent that we posted were ideal. Since our site migration last September, our site has the option of clicking on the image to see a larger version. We post no larger than 800 pixels wide by 550 pixels high at 72 dpi, and the program selects the ideal thumbnail to display. We prefer larger images so we can crop and resize to maximize what our site offers.

Cool!
I’ll include a couple other photos of this guy from different perspectives in case that helps with the ID.
(Although, for my purposes, ‘dung beetle with a horn’ is probably close enough!)
Also, for what it’s worth, he was shiny, but I didn’t notice any sort of iridescent or metallic/rainbow effects on this beetle.  If I had, I would have tried hard to capture that in a pic.
Thanks!
NewtHunterDave

Unknown Dung Beetle with Horn

Earth Boring Dung Beetle

Update: Freom Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
Sun, 22 Mar 2009
One I actually recognize! LOL! It is one of the “earth-boring scarabs” in the family Geotrupidae. The species is Odonteus obesus. The specimen is a male. There are some nice images on Bugguide, but we could use a few more if the submitter wants to post there. Thanks.
Eric

Thanks Eric,
Since all the specimens on BugGuide are mounted, we will ask NewtHunterDave to post his beautiful live images.

Kleptoparasitic flies
Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:37 AM
Hi guys,
I got this photo of tiny flies trying to get to the ant captured by this jumping spider. Apparently they are Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) some of which are kleptoparasitic of spiders, some specialising in ant snacks such as this one. The spider is a female Salticid, Zenodorus orbiculatus known locally as ant hunters. She is about 7mm long so you can see how tiny those flies are.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Hi Trevor,
Though you have a long history of providing our site with awesome images of Australian fauna, this image is, in our opinion, one of the most fascinating. The fact that you captured this nuanced example of Kleptoparasitism is phenomenal. One animal stealing food or prey from another is common in the animal kingdom, and it is easily observed in our own brand new aquarium, but to photograph these minuscule creatures evolutionarily adapted to this activity is nothing short of fantastic. These Freeloader Flies, as they are called on one website, in the family Milichiidae, are described by Irina Brake on the Introduction to Milichiidae website: “Thu, 2009-02-12 13:48 — Irina Brake
The Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) are small, mostly black acalyptrate flies. The family contains about 240 described species in 19 genera and is worldwide in distribution.
The behavior of several species of Milichiidae is very specialized. For example, in some species the adults are myrmecophilous (= ant-loving), whilst in some others they are kleptoparasitic, feeding on the prey of spiders or predaceous insects.
The habitats of Milichiidae are diverse. Adults can be collected in open landscapes, such as steppes or meadows, in wadis, at the edges of forests, inside forests, in the forest canopy, in stables or houses, or even in caves. However, they do not seem to be attracted to coastal habitats or to other places near water.
The Milichiidae are divided into three subfamilies, Madizinae, Milichiinae, and Phyllomyzinae.
Common names
Common names are only rarely cited for Milichiidae and seem to be more of an invention of the author than a commonly used name. The English term “filth flies”, for example, which is sometimes used for Milichiidae, was introduced by Sabrosky (1959) in the title of a paper about the genus Meoneura , which now belongs to the family Carnidae. Sabrosky probably used the general expression “filth fly” to describe the biology rather than intending the term to be a common name for the family Milichiidae. The term “filth flies” is generally used for several different taxa associated with ‘filth’.
Since people keep stumbling over the name ‘Milichiidae, I herewith introduce a new english common name: “freeloader flies”. The name refers to the biology of Milichiidae. Definitions for ‘freeloader’ are: ‘ someone who takes advantage of the generosity of others’ ( wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn ) or ‘ one who depends on another for support without reciprocating’ ( http://www.answers.com ). ”
BugGuide also has information on the family Milichiidae. The Geocities website has some nice images of the Ant Eater Spider or Ant Hunter Spider, Zenodorus orbiculatus.

Correction: Mon Mar 23, 2009  7:08:13 AM America/Los_Angeles
Dear Daniel,
thanks for alerting me to your photo and citing my webpage. However, I
discussed it with a collegue of mine and we both think that your flies
are Chloropidae, not Milichiidae. Michael von Tschirnhaus is a
Chloropidae specialist and has more experience with actually watching
the live flies than I have. He wrote to me that from the habitus the
flies are certainly Chloropidae. There are several species who are
kleptoparasitic on spiders. He doesn’t know all Australian genera, so he
can’t tell you which genus it is. Many species of different genera
develop in spider cocons and stay with the spider for a longer period of
time. They can wait endless in the spider net.
Best wishes,
Irina

California Slender Salamander
Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 8:59 AM
Hi,
Love your site. Thought I’d send you some photos of the California Slender for your Amphibian section.
These guys were found in Los Gatos, up in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Cheers!
-NewtHunterDave
Santa Cruz Mtns CA

California Slender Salamander

California Slender Salamander

Dear NewtHunterDave,
Thanks for your lovely image of a California Slender Salamander.  Perhaps we didn’t do enough gardening yet this year, but we have yet to see a California Slender Salamander in our yard in 2009.  Once, upon turning over a board, we found about six huddled together.  Our garden is on Mount Washington in sight of downtown Los Angeles.  It is part of an endangered California Black Walnut endangered woodland, and since our lot faces north, it stays somewhat cool and damp, providing a perfect habitat for these delicate creatures.