From the monthly archives: "June 2010"

Yellow insect from South Africa?
June 1, 2010
Ok, so my friend sent me a picture of the mysterious bug that wouldn’t die! I’m sorry this is such a terrible picture… all of the pictures in this album were taken with a cell phone as that was their only camera at the time! My friends are told that they are harmless.
Stacy F.
South Africa (Bugeni)


Hi Stacy,
We believe this must be an Orthopteran, but we do not recognize it.  We wonder if perhaps it is a type of Weta.  We are going to contact Piotr Naskrecki to see if he recognizes it.

Piotr Naskrecki Identifies Koringkrieks
Hi Marcos,
This is Enyaliopsis transvaalensis (Tettigoniidae: Hetrodinae), member of a group of katydids known in South Africa as koringkrieks. Although unrelated to European Bradyporinae, they also exhibit reflexive bleeding as a defense mechanism. This species is common in NE South Africa (the old Transvaal.)

?Hi Daniel,
Actually, I think I identfied this bug and it is a  Shieldback Katydid, also known as Koringkriek. Ask PiotrNaskrecki if he thinks I am correct.
The main thing is, are they harmless? We have a missionary family tha are pretty freaked out by these because they have a small child.
Stacy Fisher

Read Full Article →

Fresh Water Grub, found under a rock in a small stream.
June 1, 2010
We found this fresh water grub in a stream in West Virginia. Pics can be zoomed in quite a bit, they’re high quality.
Robert Piazza
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Cranefly Larva

Dear Robert,
If we didn’t know you had found this in an aquatic environment, we might have identified this as a Botfly Larva.  We just found a photo on BugGuide that looks quite similar.  The problem is that Botfly Larvae are internal parasites, and are not found in aquatic environments.  This is a mystery, and we hope someone can assist in this identification.  We cannot imagine this being anything other than a Fly Larva.

Thanks for your reply, I’ll do some more research and see what I can find. If I learn anything new about it, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Several people provided comments that this is a Cranefly Larva.

Pupal case embedded in decaying rat?
June 1, 2010
Hello! I have long loved your website and need your help! This large, hive-shaped brown growth is emerging from the throat of a large brown rat my cat killed. You may be able to see the significant maggot population under the forearm, but the corpse is still intact for the most part. It appears larger than most of the fly pupae I have found descriptions of on the internet. Can you help? I am very curious – almost mistook it for a cancerous growth! Thank you!!
W. Barker, huge fan!
Sierra mountains, Northern CA

Thing on a Dead Rat

Dear W. Barker,
If we had just read your letter and there was no photo, we would have argued that the creature was a Rodent Botfly in the genus Cuterebra, but the thing on your dead rat looks nothing like the Rodent Botfly Larva pictured on BugGuide.  We are going to post your letter and photos and request assistance from our readership.

Thing on a Dead Rat

Bug identification
May 31, 2010
I noticed these guys on my rose today. They hop and have very long antennae. It was late afternoon and they may have been searching for aphids. I only notice them on the dark colored roses. I live in Lodi, CA (Central Valley)
Central California

Scudder's Bush Katydid Nymph

Hi Mary,
This is an immature Scudder’s Bush Katydid.  Winged adults look like green grasshoppers with long antennae.  Katydids eat leaves, and we find that in our own Southern California garden, they like nibbling on rose petals.  They never get plentiful enough to be a problem, and we tolerate the Scudder’s Bush Katydids because they are such interesting creatures.

Thanks Daniel.  Yes, I read that they eat citrus but I have none on my orange or lemon here in the CA Central Valley.  They’re just on the roses.  I find them fascinating as well.  I love the antennae.  Do they eat aphids or are they herbivores?

Hi again Mary,
From all we have read, they are strictly phytophagous, feeding solely on plants, despite that numerous Katydids are predatory or at least omnivorous.

June 1, 2010
It has been a rocky beginning for the most recently laid batch of eggs produced by Lefty and Digitalis on May 24.

Lefty (left) and Digitalis with Fry

Shortly after the eggs were laid, the two month old fry that were still with the parents began devouring the eggs.  All 39 fry that were removed that day had fat little bellies full of eggs.  The number of eggs that were devoured must have been over 100.  Yesterday, the remaining hatchlings began to swim freely and eat newly hatched baby brine shrimp.  There appear to be about 50 that escaped being eaten as caviar.

Lefty (left), Digitalis and Fry

The light was bad yesterday when I tried to take some photos, and today, I captured the late afternoon sun shining into the tank, but the reflection coming from the south window is a bit distracting.  The parents are quite protective of the fry and they attempt to keep them in a tight school, with stragglers captured in the mouth and promptly spat back into the crowd.

Digitalis (left), Lefty and Fry

Update:  June 7, 2010
Yesterday, when a fly was buzzing at the window and casting a shadow onto the aquarium in the late afternoon light, Digitalis charged at the shadow.  The fry were on the other side of the aquarium, so I looked a bit more closely.  The previous day, I noticed both Lefty and Digitalis picking at the algae covered driftwood in the aquarium.  There was a huge clutch of eggs on the branch.  The free swimming fry are about two weeks old now, so they are too young to eat eggs or younger siblings, but it is odd to have a second spawning follow the previous spawning so closely when there are surviving fry.  It will be interesting to see what happens as the new batch of fry will become free swimming just as I have to leave town for a week.  I hope the neighbors are game for the challenge of feeding hatchlings.

Australian Butterfly
June 1, 2010
Hi again Bugman. It’s handy to have your camera around at all times: I always have difficulties getting decent photos of butterflies, but this morning, on the first winter day in Australia, I spotted this beautiful specimen on the window of our deck. Maybe it was a bit stiff because of the ‘cold’ (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit). I haven’t been able to identify it yet, so if you can, I’d be thrilled!
Sydney Australia

Sword Grass Brown

Hi Ridou,
We thought this must be a Satyr or Wood Nymph in the subfamily Satyrinae of the Brush Footed Butterfly family, so we did a web search.  We quickly found an image of the Sword Grass Brown, Tisiphone abeona, on the TrekNature website.  Another posting on TrekNature has this information:  “a common medium sized butterfly of the coastal forests of south-eastern Australia. With a wingspan of 52mm and a habit of patrolling walking tracks and bush trails, this is a well-known butterfly. They rarely fly more than 2m off the ground and are active from September to April. Their common name is related to their host plant, sword grass (Gahina sp), a tall stiff grass with razor sharp edges.

Sword Grass Brown