Metamorphosizing Bug in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?
Location:  Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
September 12, 2010 3:23 am
Hi Bugman!
First and foremost, I wanted to say that I think what you’re doing here as an educational (or shall we say, ”ent”ucational!) service is awesome! I truly hope that you achieve the dream of meeting up with Martha one day and I’m pulling for you! Secondly, I was hoping you could identify this bug which was sighted by my twin sister during her brave, charitable, summer journey via bicycle from Arizona all the way to Panama. It was found metamorphosizing or perhaps laying eggs, as it remains unclear to the layman viewer what exactly is happening, although I suppose one would think as a ”layman”, I could at least identifying egg laying properly. Please excuse the bad pun, and I hope that doesn’t hurt my chances of getting this enigma identified! So, in your expertise, what is going on in this picture, and by which kind of bug? Your knowledge and eagerly anticipated response is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Signature:  Paco and Brunilda


Urgent ID priority escalation! Re: Identification Request: Metamorphosizing Bug in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?
September 20, 2010  11:50 AM
Hello again Bugman!
Perhaps it was the letter riddled with awful puns the first time or just the mere fact that you are a staff of single digits fielding an onslaught of mail from the masses on a daily basis, however, I have yet to receive a response from my original inquiry below, and in light of this, I wanted to provide an update regarding the request.  In the event that the puns were the turn-off in the first place, I hesitate to apologize for “bugging” you, as this will certainly not help my chances of getting some closure on this insect any time soon, but I am sorry for disturbing you, as you are a busy guy, especially with the release of the new book which I can’t wait to get my hands on!  (No, honestly, I mean that, and this was not said in hopes of getting my question answered sooner, I promise.  But does it help?)  Okay so to make a long story short, although it looks as if we’re too late for that, the identification of this bug is the subject of a heated bet, in turn, escalating the urgency of this request, as it’s not just any bet…it’s a bet with a guy who always has to be the one to know it all.  He cannot stand being wrong, and no matter what, he insists on being right, and the most unfortunate part for the rest of us is that he IS RIGHT most of the time.  He claims that the insect appearing in our photo is a queen termite laying her eggs, however, to be quite honest, we’re not so sure about that, and think we may have finally entrapped Mr. Trivia into admitting he is human and fallible!
He wanted me to assert what I thought it was, however, I have held him at bay merely by telling him that it’s NOT THAT.  I’m running out of time, however, in committing to an actual answer, as he keeps probing for a more definite response.  Now, of course, if you do indeed identify it as being a queen termite laying eggs, then I will quietly thank you, and hope that he doesn’t stumble upon “What’s That Bug” for more ego stroking satisfaction that we certainly don’t need to see!  Though, should our bug turn out to be something NOT of the termite family, then we can consider this a win-win, as I revel in proving him wrong, and you would shortly receive an incredible spike in web traffic, as there are legions of us who would like to see that just once, Mr. Trivia hiccuped with an answer!  Just to be clear, the bet is a friendly one of no material value made between rivals, and there is no money being changed hands here, nor is someone going to lose a house, car, or spouse as a result of high stakes betting.  So, the pressure is off, Bugman, in terms of being responsible for someone’s life going down the tubes in response to a bug identification, however, let us not underestimate the value of being able to reference this slip up on his part, basking in eternal glory from the point of a non-termite identification, on!  Thank you again for your consideration to elevate the priority of this review!
Paco and Brunilda

Dear Paco and Brunilda,
Collect your debt.  This is no termite, queen or otherwise.  It is a Caterpillar, more specifically a Bagworm in the family Psychidae.  Bagworms are known for constructing bags from silk and bits of plant material from their food plants, like leaves, stems and conifer needles.  We were not familiar with any Bagworms that make strictly silken bags, so we turned to BugGuide and found an example from Arizona in the genus
Oiketicus that looks very similar to your Bagworm.  Since insects do not respect international borders, it may be the same genus as your example.  Sorry for the delay, but we can only answer so much mail.

Hi Daniel!
Thank you so much for taking the time to identify the little border crossing Bagworm who I suppose didn’t want to stick around to see what ultimately would come of the Arizona SB 1070 Immigration Laws (SB standing for Suspicious Bagworm, of course), if he/she was on the run (or as much as this little critter can try, anyway)!  We cannot tell you how liberating it feels to finally conquer Mr. Trivia in what, at times, became a rather bugly battle of aggressive words, and thanks to you, the win was literally in the BAG!  I’ll stop with the “pun”ishment now, I promise.  Thanks again, and best of luck in the future with all your endeavors!
Paco and Brunilda

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