From the monthly archives: "March 2010"

Weird beetle fly thing
March 29, 2010
I found a weird looking fly beetle thing while I was eating my lunch. No idea what it is. It has a head and proboscis of a fly but has a blue green luminescent body of a beetle. It look like a decorative christmas bauble. I don’t think you have one of these on your website. Or do you?
Any ideas?
Cheras, Malaysia


Hi Aidan,
That is one strange bug.  Its head and face are distinctly those of a fly, yet it resembles a beetle.  We are posting your mystery insect and we will try to get some assistance from Eric Eaton.  Your photos are quite impressive, and the views from three distinct angles will enable an expert to be able to assess this critter’s anatomy.  How big is it?


Until we find out exactly what this is, we are calling it a Beetlefly, or more correctly Beetle Fly, and though we rather detest the hyphen, in this case, it seems the most appropriate to be written Beetle-Fly.

Beetle-Fly (we made up that name)

Ed. Note
After receiving a comment from Mardidavana, we found Celyphidae, the Beetle Flies, on Wikipedia.

Well it is practically the size of a lady bird. By the way, who is this Eric Eaton? We just gave it some sugar water and it started sucking away with it’s fly-like proboscis.

Brown Recluse?
March 29, 2010
We found this spider in Cleveland, Texas this past February while cleaning out a neglected bookshelf. It was between the books in a rather disorderly looking web. The house it was found in is in a wooded area. We’ve been keeping it in a container with wound wire for observation since, and it has established an intricate, cob-webby web between the wires and is living on a steady diet of mosquito hawks and silverfish. We’ve done a lot of image searching for an identity, but the closest we can find is that it’s a brown recluse. However, it lacks a distinct violin marking (although a dark line similar to the violin neck runs down the cephalothorax), the pedipalps are much more defined and less tufty, and the legs seem to be less spindly. We haven’t been able to get a coun t on the eyes, as they’re a bit hard to see. We’ve noticed some small indentions in pairs on the dorsal side of the abdomen, no idea what those are. If its behavior is of any help, we’ve noticed that it cuts its finished prey from its web to let it fall (although perhaps that’s common in spiders). Any help would be much appreciated! Also, if you happen to know, we’d love to know what those indentions are (pictured in photo 3)! Thanks very much.
Laura and Michael
Cleveland, Texas

Crevice Weaver Spider

Dear Laura and Michael,
You may rest assured that this is not a Brown Recluse.  It is a Crevice Weaver Spider in the genus Kukulcania, and it is well represented on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “These spiders create a tube-like retreat in cracks.   This spider varies greatly in color from light brown to dark black. Females are generally grey to black while the males are tan. Males look very similar to the Recluse spiders, except they have much longer pedipalps, eight eyes (not six as in the Recluse family), and very long front legs.
”  It is our opinion that your specimen is a female.

Crevice Weaver Spider

Any book details?
March 29, 2010
Do you have any details about the book like where it will be available, pricing, number of pages, overall physical size and any thoughts of a special edition?
Sean Kempf

Hi Sean,
Thanks for your interest.  The book will be approximately 200 pages.  Other than that, we aren’t sure about the actual size, though we presume it will be about 5 1/2 by 8 inches.  We will copy our editor to see if Penguin can provide any additional details.  What exactly do you mean by a special edition?

Thank you for such a prompt response.  By special edition, I mean something like a limited run of serialized prints with an extra that’s not included in the normal production.  Signed would be wonderful!  Lastly, do you know if there will be pre-orders available?

Hi Again Sean,
We don’t believe Penguin/Perigee has any plans for a limited run, though the initial printing will not be large.  Since we are rather new to the world of professional authorship, we don’t really have many answers.

Potato beetle?
March 29, 2010
I recently found this guy in the woods behind my house. At first he lay on his back on played dead, but then he flipped over and crawled away. He looks kind of like a potato beetle, but I wasn’t sure at all.
Stephen C
Raleigh, NC

Flea Beetle

Hi Stephen,
The well developed femora of the rear leg identifies this as a Flea Beetle in the tribe Alticini of the Skeletonizing Leaf Beetle subfamily Galerucinae.  We believe it is Disonycha leptolineata based on images posted to BugGuide.

Wow, thank you very much!  Your site is really amazing, and it’s cool to get a response so quickly, too!  By the way, here is a picture of him playing ‘possum, in case you’re interested.

Flea Beetle

Grashopper from Ecuador
March 29, 2010
hello, this impressive insekt was on a bar table in a jungle lodge in the rainforrest on the napo river in ecuador
ecuador napo river

Spiny Lobster Katydid

Hi janosch,
We are keeping Piotr Naskrecki, and expert in Orthopterans, quite busy today with unknown Katydid requests.  We hope he responds soon.

Spiny Lobster Katydid

After posting and sending an email to Piotr, we checked our own archives and located the Spiny Lobster Katydid, Panoploscelis  specularis, which Piotr identified for us this past December.

Hi Daniel,
The one from Ecuador is indeed Panoploscelis specularis.

new caledonian bug…
March 29, 2010
this was found when a crested gecko dropped it when starteled and absolutally stinks
new caledonia

Unknown Katydid chewed by Gecko

Dear print,
We will contact and expert in Orthopterans, Piotr Naskrecki, to see if he can identify this Katydid.

Piotr Naskrecki responds
Hi Daniel,
The squashed New Caledonian katydid is Pseudophyllanax imperialis, a huge
insect, endemic to the islands. I am impressed that a gecko was able to kill
her (although they do have large geckos on NC.)

Ed. Note
Armed with a name, we located the Insect Net Forum that calls this a Coconut Grasshopper, and the Endemia NC website has some photos and a recording of the sound made by the male calling to the female.