From the monthly archives: "April 2010"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this Bug?
April 26, 2010
Dear Bugman,
We are trying to identify this beetle that flew by us the other night and landed close by. Never seen one like this and do they bite? Thanks.
Cordelia Lovelady
Port Aransas, Texas

Earth Boring Dung Beetle

Dear Cordelia,
This is an Ox Beetle in the genus Strategus, but there are several species in Texas and we are not certain which species you have.  You can see images of several species on BugGuide.  We believe this is a lesser male without the fully developed horns generally seen in males.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist us with the species identification.

Earth Boring Dung Beetle

Eric Eaton makes a Correction
This is not an “ox beetle,” but something much more interesting.  I believe it is a member of this genus:
and I really hope the person will post their image at Bugguide, too.  There is a strong chance one of the scarab experts there will recognize it.  Might be a new species for Bugguide, or even a new species to science.  These subterranean scarabs are not often seen.
Great find!
Eric Read Full Article →

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What kind of ant is this
April 26, 2010
These ants are all over the place here in northern Idaho. They live in 1 to 3 foot tall mounds of loose debris. I want to know the name of this ant, please.
beau bugs
north Idaho U.S.A.

Mound Ant

Dear beau bugs,
Interestingly, when we began our research on BugGuide, the first thing we discovered is that there isn’t any data of Ants from Idaho submitted to the website to date.  We are relatively certain your ant is in the genus Formica, and the likeliest candidate is Formica obscuripes which is reported from nearby Montana and Washington.  BugGuide has a nice photo of the mound, and nice photos of ants, but next to no information on the species, until we located a single comment on a posted photo.  Wikipedia provided common names for the genus like Mound Ant, Field Ant and Wood Ant, as well as additional information:  “Formica are notable for their parasitic and slave making behaviors. There are three categories.  In the exsecta and rufa-microgyna groups, virgin queens cannot start colonies on their own, but invade colonies of other groups and by various processes eventually oust the host queen and have the host workers help them raise their own brood. Eventually the colony consists of only the invading queen’s offspring. This is called temporary social parasitism.  In the sanguinea group, colonies are started as above, but then in some species of the group workers go out and raid colonies of other groups for new workers to act as a work force, so-called slaves (but this is a poor analogy). Some species of this group need to do this to survive, for others it is optional.  The pallidefulva, neogagates, and fusca groups are those most often parasitized by the above groups. They are also enslaved by ants of the genus Polyergus. The evolution of this behavior is believed ultimately to have been derived from the common habit of many Formica species of adopting recently mated queens into established colonies. Indeed, in many of the parasitic species outside the ‘slave-makers’, this ‘secondary polygyny’ is common.
According to BugGuide, Formica obscuripes is in the rufa group, and BugGuide recognizes the microgyna group as distinct, having this to report:  “Species of this group are believed to be temporary social parasites of other species of Formica. The female in some way is adopted by workers of the host species. Host workers may remain in the colony after the intruding queen has established her own brood, but the host workers eventually die. Most species are found in open woods or meadows. The nests are usually of the thatch type, but the thatching is normally scattered about the nest openings and appears as a flattened disc.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Preying Mantis
April 26, 2010
It’s becoming spring time around here in Missouri USA. I was coming back to my bedroom when I saw this little guy on my computer monitor. I think it’s a preying mantis but can’t tell forsure. Its about as big as a dime. We have him in a glass at the moment. He tried camaflodging himself with the leaf decorations on the glass. Took a few for me to get a decent picture as it moved a lot. Not fast though.
Kansas CIty Missouri

Immature Assassin Bug

Hi Peaches,
There are several different insects that are frequently mistaken for Preying Mantids, and your immature Assassin Bug is one of them.  We believe your individual is an Assassin Bug in the genus Zelus.  Other insects frequently mistaken for Preying Mantids are Mantisflies and Water Scorpions.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown Fly (?) in Ann Arbor, MI.
April 24, 2010
Hi Bug Identifiers!
I was kicking around in my yard today, taking some pictures, and I found this interesting fly. It was walking on the leaf litter, and, when I knelt to take some photos, it held very still until I was done. I’ve looked at the flies in your fly section, but I didn’t see anything that looked much like it.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Crane Fly

Hi Stephen,
This is a Crane Fly, but unless they are really distinctive looking, we have great difficulty identifying Crane Flies to the species level.  A great place to begin if an exact species is important for you, is the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania website of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  Chen Young will respond to your identification requests. Read Full Article →

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Friend or foe?
April 24, 2010
We have a ‘plague’ of these in our vegetable garden which backs on to woodland. They fly when disturbed but seem to prefer to be resting. Really only need to know if they are friend or foe. Their wings shimmer slightly as if covered in fine gold leaf.
Gill Kendrick
Central England


Hi Gill,
At first we thought that this might be a Caddisfly.  According to BugGuide, which only covers North American species, “Adults resemble moths, but wings are hairy instead of scaly.
”  We decided to search the UK Moths website though, and we believe we identified your insect as a tiny moth, known as Microlepidoptera, and possibly the species Micropteris calthella which is described on UK Moths as “Wingspan 7-10 mm.  Another tiny species, with a wingspan of around 8 to 10mm, this moth has metallic bronzy forewings, with purplish tinges in places. Like other Micropterix species, it has a tuft of hairs on the head.  It occurs throughout most of Britain, and can be found flying in the daytime in May and June, where it feeds on the pollen of various plants.”  An even closer match might be Eriocrania semipurpurella, which UK Moths describes as “Wingspan 10-16 mm.  The commonest and most widespread of the Eriocrania species that feed on birch, occurring throughout most of Britain.  The adults are difficult to tell apart from E. sangii without reference to the genitalia structure, but the larvae are quite different, semipurpurella being white or yellowish, sangii being quite dark grey.   The larva itself mines in a birch (Betula) leaf, forming a large blotch, from March to May. The adults fly in March and April, especially in sunshine.”  We don’t believe we have the skill to definitively identify this Microlepidoptera, but you might have better luck trying to sort through the 2012 Moth species on the site UKMoths.  Friend or Foe is relative.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Mud covered beetle (weevil?)
April 26, 2010
This was seen on a window in Duiven, didn’t stay long enough to get better photo. Apologies for 1st attachment can’t remove it.
Duiven, Netherlands

Weevil: But why is it covered in mud???

Hi Janie,
You are correct that this is a Weevil, but we have no idea why it is covered in mud, or even if this is a typical state for this weevil.  We suspect an accidental encounter that left this creature encrusted in mud.

Hi Daniel,
as I couldn’t find it in Joy, I assumed it must be some ‘exotic’! I am slightly relieved that it’s a puzzle to you also, and not something very obvious.
Many thanks for your help.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination