What the H-E-double hockey sticks is this thing??
August 3, 2009
Hi Bugman –
This little beauty wandered into my Northern California (Marin County) garage, stopped me dead in my tracks and prompted me to go on a bit of a killing frenzy. It was HUGE and…meaty. There was a lot of exoskeletal-crunching and gut-exploding going on as evidenced by the pictures attached. Thankfully, I had the wherewithal to grab a pack of the husband’s Marlboro lights to make sure that I was able to document size and scale (I think it adds a little class to the whole experience, don’t you?).
I will not be able to get a good night’s sleep again until you can help me identify and confirm that it’s relatives will not try to avenge their buddy’s death by attacking me in my slumber. Can you help? I have lived in this area my entire life and i have never seen a bug like this before or since.
P.s. I know that killing is wrong. But honestly I didn’t know what else to do in the heat of the moment.
San Rafael, CA
Please don’t go postal on us for tagging your image of a Mashed Potato Bug as Unnecessary Carnage, because the fact of the matter is, Potato Bugs are harmless, despite a frightening appearance. Not only are they harmless, we believe Potato Bugs have genuine personality. Potato Bugs are in the genus Stenopelmatus, and according to BugGuide: “Capinera (1) states the genus needs revision, with 14 species currently described in the family, but more than 60 North American species likely–most presumably in this genus.” There are currently studies in the Southland to try to update the taxonomy on the genus. Probably more than any other insect in the western part of North America, the Potato Bug generates curiosity, revulsion, and numerous legends and superstitions due to its humanoid appearance. We hope the next time you encounter a Potato Bug, also commonly called a Jerusalem Cricket, you won’t react quite so extremely.
thanks, Daniel. I promise to be more hospitable next time. Promise.