From the monthly archives: "November 2009"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

November 19, 2009
Thank you so much!
I have one more bug picture that I have yet to identify.  I took it when I was in the Daintree Rainforest in Australia.  I looks like a stink bug to me, but I’ve never seen anything with the coloring and design.
Thanks again! I really appreciate your help!
Heather Scrowther
Daintree Rainforest, Australia

Unknown Large Stink Bug from Australia

Large Stink Bug from Australia

Hi again Heather,
The Bronze Orange Bug, Musgraveia sulciventris, is one of the Large Stink Bugs in the family Tessaratomidae, and it looks similar to your specimen, but your individual is more colorful.  You can see pictures of the Bronze Orange Bug on saveourwaterwaysnow.com and on the Brisbane Insect Website.  We are relatively certain your bug is in the same family, and perhaps the same genus, and it might even be a color variation.  We located images of another member of the genus, Musgraveia antennata, but it doesn’t match either.  The Illustrated Catalog of Tessaratomidae has some similar specimens, but nothing exact.  There are some unpictured specimens from the genus Oncomeris, and a picture of Oncomeris flavicornis flavicornis from New Guinea that has similar legs.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist us in an exact identification.

Identification Courtesy of Karl
November 19, 2009
Hi Daniel:
I believe you are very close. I think the genus is indeed Oncomeris, but probably not O. flavicornis. I could find only one image of O. dilatus and it looks extremely close, but I could find virtually no information about the species to help me out. The ‘God of Insects’ site gives its range as Papua New Guinea, but this may be incomplete and northern Queensland does share much of its insect fauna with PNG. It always surprises me when there is so little information to be found for such a large and strikingly beautiful insect. Perhaps someone else can help to nail this one down. Regards.
Karl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Butterfly Identification
November 18, 2009
Do you know what type of butterfly/moth this is? I took this picture in Ecuador
doesnt matter
Ecuador, south america

Morpho Butterfly

Morpho Butterfly

Dear doesnt matter,
This is a Morpho Butterfly, but we are uncertain of the exact species.  Since we have a book to finish, we cannot spend the time trying to get an exact species.  Perhaps Karl will come to our assistance.

Hi Daniel:
I would say this is a this Helenor Morpho (Morph helenor). There are a number of sub-species, some of which look quite different – my inclination is to go with M. helenor helenor. It occurs throughout the Amazon basin. It’s a very nice photo. In my experience, Morphos don’t pose very often and when they do they usually don’t spread their wings so nicely. Regards.
Karl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ancient representation of which insect?
November 18, 2009
Dear Bugman,
I am studying insects and the ancient economy and am wondering what identification you would assign the insect on these 4th and 3rd century BC coins. It has traditionally been called a “bee” and I would like to know, from an entomological perspective, 1) is this ID accurate and 2) how can one tell? Thanks!
Interdisciplinary friend
Ephesus, Turkey

Honey Bee on an Ancient Coin

Honey Bee on an Ancient Coin

Dear Interdisciplinary Friend,
WE covet those coins.  We agree that this is a Bee, more specifically a Honey Bee.  Most coins have the visage of a powerful and important person depicted.  In the United States, that honor is reserved for dead presidents, but in most places around the world, the current ruler has currency printed and coins minted that reflect who is in power.  With that said, getting a picture on a coin is a big deal.  Honey Bees have been domesticated for millennia, and bee culture or apiculture is one of the hallmarks the rise of civilization.  No other insect would be considered important enough to depict on a coin.  It might also be noted that the sale of honey might have been a significant factor in ancient economy, making the Honey Bee worthy of being on a coin.  Additionally, the anatomy is quite accurate, including the stinger.  Thanks for allowing us to deviate a bit from out typical identification requests.

Honey Bee on Ancient Coins

Honey Bee on Ancient Coins

As an aside, insects often appear on stamps.  In 1988, the U.S. issued a stamp with an image of a Honey Bee.  Our dear friend Lilia, when she saw it, exclaimed “why would they put a fly on a stamp?”  Her error was explained and she was satisfied that a Honey Bee was worthy of being on a stamp while a Fly was not.  The lowly fly was depicted on a British postage stamp, we believe, to commemorate viewing the fly through a microscope.

Honey Bee on an Ancient Coin

Honey Bee on an Ancient Coin

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your prompt response.  As a student of numismatics, I’m so happy you understand the importance of having a picture on a coin!  Bugs on ancient coins are not as rare as you might think.  There are flies, beetles, and, of course, bees.  Jewelry also depicts cicadas and wasps.  The coins I’m working with are from Ephesus from the fourth through second centuries BC (so, 2,200-2,400 years old).  They represent some of the world’s first coins.  They are considered Lydian, after the kingdom in which they were minted.  I am aware of the importance of apiculture through the millennia (kings were represented by bees in Ancient Egypt), but in this particular valley, I have not found much evidence for it, at least not yet.  Can you tell me specifically what identifies this as a honey bee?  Its eyes?  Its wings?  I could use some entomological vocabulary and reference points.
Finally, these coins are not so rare as ancient coins go, but they’re pretty well-known and coveted for their beauty.  They can be purchased on the art market, but, as an archaeologist, I would advise against this as it promotes looting and results in the destruction of archaeological sites and the permanent loss of data.  Far better to befriend a curator and ask to see a museum’s collection.
Thanks again for your help!
Joanna

Hi Joanna,
First, we need to confess that we do not have any scientific credentials under our belts.  We are artists fascinated by insects, and we have no formal entomological training.  Second, the images on the coins are hardly anatomically correct.  Our response was based on the general morphology of the insect, and not specifics.  The veins in the wings are often used to identify insects, but again, your samples are not accurate renderings, but rather evidence artistic license on the part of the creator of the die.  The stinger is the biggest clue.  The other possibility would be a wasp, though our money is on a Honey Bee.  We would suggest that you post a comment to this posting directly, and then if any real experts provide any information, you will be directly contacted.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Orange and Black Mystery Beetle in TX
November 18, 2009
Found this colorful beetle tonight; size a little smaller than a dime, mostly orange with black head and markings. He was moving fast so sorry not a better photo.
11/18/09
Evelyn W.
Joshua (South Fort Worth),TX

Earth Boring Dung Beetle

Earth Boring Dung Beetle

Hi Evelyn,
Despite the rather poor quality of your photo, it is easy to identify your beetle as an Earth Boring Dung Beetle in the genus Bolbocerosoma.  Better images are available on BugGuide.

Daniel!  Thanks for the quick reply.  When I was little, many moons ago, my Mother would scotch tape creatures we couldn’t identify and mail them off to the Dept. of Agriculture.  Weeks later, if we were lucky, someone there would write back.  I wish she knew how we can do it now, online. with a digital photo and a kind reply the very next day.  Love it.
Ev

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Spider Eating Bug
November 18, 2009
Dear Bugman, my friend was out in his garden the other day and saw this bug attacking a spider. It eventually carried it off down a hole. The bug was about the size of a small car… or maybe more like 5 or 6 centimetres. Later he found his cat screaming and leaping about with the bug on her back. Are you able to identify this garden terrorist?
Belinda
Wellington, New Zealand

Spider Wasp with Prey

Spider Wasp with Prey

Hi Belinda,
Though your humor amuses us, we should probably clarify for our readership that the cat was safe from being attacked by this awesome Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae.  We are unable to find a matching species on the Brisbane Insect website, so your specimen might be restricted to New Zealand.  Spider Wasps feed on nectar, but the young feed on spiders provided by the female wasp.  The female Spider Wasp stings and paralyzes a spider and then buries it after laying an egg.  The developing, helpless larva then can feed on fresh meat since the sting paralyzed the spider, but left it alive.

Spider Wasp with Prey

Spider Wasp with Prey

Identification Courtesy of Karl
November 18, 2009
Hi Daniel:
I believe Belinda’s Spider Wasp is Sphictostethus nitidus. The common name is sometimes given as the Golden Hunting Wasp, not to be confused with a completely different Spider Wasp from Australia with the same common name. The website for Landcare Research provides excellent information on this and other New Zealand Spider Wasps, as well as a link to a huge downloadable report on the Pompilidae of New Zealand (No. 12 in the “Fauna of New Zealand” series). According to that document there are only 4 genera and 11 species of Spider Wasps in New Zealand, including one other species of Sphictostethus (S. fugax). So it shouldn’t be too hard to nail down this species if one had the time and stamina to plow through all the information provided. Assuming it is S. nitidus, there are three distinct forms (2 on the North Island and 1 on the South Island), distinguished primarily by the degree and pattern of dark pigmentation on the otherwise yellowish wings. Regards.
Karl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is this a Rain Beetle?
November 18, 2009
Just found in the pool flailing around on top of the water — it looks like the other Rain Beetle pictures on your site and thought I’d ask if that’s what this is to confirm. One picture is on top of the net I got it out of the pool with. The other is on the ground. We had rain last night and everything is still sort of wet around here today. Thanks!
Elaine
Rural Windsor, California (North of Santa Rosa)

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Dear Elaine,
You are absolutely correct.  We are happy that our website was helpful with your Rain Beetle identification.  This is the second submission of Rain Beetles we are posting from yesterday.

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination