From the monthly archives: "February 2010"

Found this larva in gunni euc tree need id?
February 23, 2010
While cutting gunni euc one of my workers found this worm. I need it id to know if I it is harmful. It is white had has black spots on the side. The face almost looks like it is smiling. Please help!!
Watsonville ca

Sawfly Larva

Hi Jennifer,
This is the larva of a Cimbicid Sawfly, a non-stinging relative of wasps and bees.  The Sawfly larva will eat some leaves, and we believe it is doing far less harm to the plant than the workers who were probably cutting branches.

Is this an Ant or Termite?
February 25, 2010
I walked out on my screen porch the other day and found a swarm of these inside the porch. They are black with white spots and about .25 inch long with long clear wings that stick out about .25 inch past the body. probably a couple hundred of them total.
Buried in Bugs in Florida
Pensacola, Florida

Subterranean Termite Alates

Dear Buried,
These are Alates, the reproductive caste of Subterranean Termites in the family Rhinotermitidae, probably in the genus Reticulitermes which is pictured on BugGuide.  They drop their wings after the nuptial flight.  It is probable that there is a colony under the screened porch which prevented these Aletes from dispersing.

Spelling Correction thanks to Eric Eaton
The March 23 post of “termite aletes” should have read “termite alates,” with another “a.”  That is the term for winged reproductives of termites and ants.

What is this bug?
February 25, 2010
My dad was bitten by this bug while on holiday in Paphos, any idea what kind of beetle it is?

Red Palm Weevil

Dear Any,
This is a Red Palm Weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.  According to M. Ferry and S. Gómez who wrote the paper “The Red Palm Weevil in the Mediterranean Area” which is posted online on the Palm’s Journal, “The red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier, has become the most important pest of the date palm in the world.”  We were not aware that Red Palm Weevils would bite humans, and we believe this was an anomoly.  We suspect David Gracer might be writing that the grubs are edible.

February 26, 2010
things that are VENOMOUS are more then once referred to on this site as poisonous there is a big difference between the two.
G. Davisson

Dear G. Davisson defines Poisonous as “1 : destructive, harmful  2 : having the properties or effects of poison : venomous  3 : spiteful, malicious. defines Venomous as  “1 : full of venom: as a : poisonous, envenomed b : noxious, pernicious <expose a venomous dope ring — Don Porter> c : spiteful, malevolent <venomous criticism> 2 : having a venom-producing gland and able to inflict a poisoned wound <venomous snakes>.”  Since that  bastion for defining the English language uses the two words to define one another and indicates that they are interchangeable, we don’t feel we are entirely incorrect in our usage, though there might be a subtle difference that we should consider.  The bite of a Brown Recluse Spider would be venomous, while poisoning would occur following the ingestion of a Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper. Rather than just providing a blanket statement chastising our language usage, can you please cite some concrete examples of the adjective usage that you find offensive?   That way we can consider them more closely.  Even better, can you provide the source for the definition that creates a solid distinction for the proper and incorrect usages of the two terms?

Some Ladybug Impostor
February 25, 2010
Ever since I bought my camera, it had always been my wish to be able to take a photo of a nice red ladybug with those cute black spots. I never had a chance, however, as I always see those ladybugs with a dull yellow color instead. One day, during a company outing, I saw this HUGE ladybug-like insect on the lamp post and I thought my dream of a ladybug picture had finally come true (with a large one to boot!). But looking at it, it doesn’t really seem to be a ladybug at all, except for the colors. This was confirmed by, who said that ladybugs are fairly consistent in their oval/round shape, which is not true in this insect. So, since my dreams are all crushed now, I just want to know what bug this is who tried to fool me into thinking that it’s a ladybug… Thanks in advance for your help in this!
Laguna, Philippines

Longicorn from the Philippines

Dear Beverley,
While we think Ladybugs are lovely creatures, we feel that the subject of your photo, a Longicorn in the family Cerambycidae, is far more special.  We tried doing a web search, and found the Insect Designs website of specimens for sale.  One species from the Philippines,  Cereopsius praetorius
, looks close, and there is a note that the pattern varies.  We found a second website, Saluguband Philippine Beetles, with images of dead specimens as well.  Though the markings on the dead specimens are similar to your photo, the colors are not nearly as vivid.  Often dead specimens lose their vibrant coloration.  Perhaps Karl will have better luck confirming this identification.

Hi Daniel,
Wow, I’m really impressed how fast you guys can identify bugs.  Anyway, I’m also grateful for your reply.  Now I can appreciate this ladybug impostor more knowing that it is far more special than the ladybug it is trying to look like 🙂

Karl Agrees
I think you got it, Daniel. It must be a Cereopsius and although there are at least 10 species in the Philippines, none look nearly as close as C. praetorius (I was able to find images of all but one). K

Ed. Note: February 28, 2010
Selecting the Bug of the Month each month is always a careful decision, and we like to try to select a recent submission that is timely in its appearance.  Insects that appear while there is still snow on the ground are unusual, but not at all rare.  This Snowfly is a creature that may be encountered by a sizable portion of our readership in the coming month.

Snow bugs?
February 24, 2010
Sorry to bug you all again (pun not intended, I assure you!)
But today at the river getting some photos of the snow, I saw these black things scurrying across the top. On a closer look, I noticed they were some kind of flying insect. Some were hitching a ride on another (or mating, not sure). I was careful not to step on any of them. (I hope I didn’t!). I’m sorry the photos aren’t great, but I don’t have the right lens for that. To be honest, they looked like miniature Dobson flies! Some were about almost an inch long. They were only at the river. What are these little guys?
Thanks a bunch, Terra
River, Massachusetts


Hi Terra,
Despite the snow, many insects are active during the winter months.  In the winter we frequently get images like yours of Snowflies, a group of Winter Stoneflies in the family Capniidae.  Though we do not refrain from posting photos that our readership takes during the summer months when the short cold days of winter allow people kept people indoors to work on the computer more, we much prefer timely postings like yours.  According to BugGuide Snowfly:  “nymphs live beneath rocks and gravel on the bottom of streams and rivers adults are often seen on snow, or resting on concrete bridges over streams
” which explains your sighting near the water in the snow.  We wish you had provided an image of a mating pair for our Bug Love section.  One of your images contains a tiny Springtail in the genus Hypogastrura, and the species that are found on the snow are known as  Snow Fleas.  You may read more about these in our archive as well as on BugGuide.

Wow! Thank you so much for the fast reply! I’m quite interested to hear more about these guys- they’re quite cute!
I’ll have to have a read on them, thank you!
(And sorry for the quality of the images- it was dark out!)

Ed. Note: After posting this letter and photos, a second photo of a Snowfly resulted in a request from the Xerces Society to use the image in an Endangered Species Act petition .  Read about that here.