From the monthly archives: "October 2010"

funky bug that appears blue
Location:  Lawrence Kansas on Sidewalk during October
October 3, 2010 8:20 pm
I found this bug while walking my dogs. It was during a cool (60ºs) and sunny. We are in Lawrence, Kansas. I saw the bug zipping across the sidewalk during the early morning on Oct 2nd.
Signature:  Mary

Unknown Beetle Larva

Hi Mary,
We believe this is a Beetle Larva, and it appears to be predatory, but we need to do some research before we are certain.  We are posting your photo and indicating that it is unidentified and perhaps our readership will be able to beat us to an identification.

Eric Eaton provides an Identification
Looks like the larva of a Dicaelus ground beetle to me:
Pretty strange indeed 🙂

Thanks Eric, for providing a link to the Notch Mouth Ground Beetle in the genus Dicaelus for us.  BugGuide has several images of the larva and they do appear to match the photo we received.

French’s Longicorn
Location:  Etty Bay, Far North Queensland, Australia
October 4, 2010 1:58 am
Thanks so much for your wonderful site. It has helped me to identify a friend that decided to visit our tent whilst we were on holiday at Etty Bay, Far North Queensland, Australia.
Signature:  The O’Brien Family

French's Longicorn

Dear O’Brien Family,
We are thrilled to read that you were able to use our extensive archives to self-identify your French’s Longicorn,
Batocera frenchi.  We will once again cite the vintage postcard upon which it appears that also contains the data:  “This is one of the finest Longicorn Beetles in Australia. It is found in the rain forests from northern New South Wales to north Queensland. It measures 2” or more in length and is found in certain native fig trees, in the branches and trunks of which its grubs feed. This beetle is a common species of the family Cerambycidae.”  It is also pictured on the Csiro Entomology website.  Your male specimen sure has some impressive antennae.

October 4, 2010
Dear Bug Man,
I’m happy to respond to your inquiry about the Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer and how it’s elytra is used in Shuar jewelry.

Although it is true that I spent several weeks in a remote Shuar village in Ecuador, I am not an expert on the beetles of the Amazon.  I can, however, attest to the great variety and quantity of bugs and beetles in the area, as well as the Shuar’s use of beetles to make decorative ornaments.

I was in Ecuador to make a documentary about headhunting– a complex ritual that had been outlawed many years before I visited the Amazon (although many of the elders were able to clearly describe the practice from memory).  The morning I took leave of the village, I traded my rain jacket and rubber boots for several wonderful handmade objects from local villagers, including three beautiful necklaces.

I am attaching a close view of one of the necklaces, which is made of beetle shells, as well as various seeds, bones and claws.  I’m not sure if these are the same beetles you are researching, but I thought the necklace might be of interest to your readers.

Shuar Necklace with Beetle Heads

Regarding Shuar food, I didn’t intentionally eat any beetles during my time in the Amazon jungle, but I did swallow a few bugs accidentally.  I also found many large beetles in my sleeping bag before I learned that I should keep it in a giant plastic bag until I was ready for bed.  Finally, I had part of an Amazonian bug (unidentified) removed from my ear a few weeks after I returned from my trip.

I didn’t eat Sunday dinner in Ecuador, but I enjoyed a number of festive communal meals that I believe served a similar function — to join in celebration of friends and family through a good meal.  The Shuar are extremely hospitable and prepared many wonderful dishes for the crew.  Our most delicious and memorable meal consisted of guinea pig steamed in large, fragrant leaves in the ashes of a fire pit.  Some of the more squeamish members of our team preferred to refer to the meat as “chicken”, despite the fact that there was a hut that housed at least thirty guinea pigs near the kitchen facilities.  We also drank chicha, a highly viscous drink made of fermented yucca.  To make chicha, the women of the village collect the yucca root, chew pieces of the yucca until it has the consistency of a fibrous paste and then spit it into large buckets.  The saliva begins the fermentation process that creates the alcohol content of chicha.  It is still used as a ceremonial drink to welcome visitors.  Chica tastes vaguely like beer and is rather pleasant if you don’t mind the fact that it’s two main ingredients are yucca and human saliva.  After a few days in the Amazon, I liked drinking chicha.

Sunday dinner or not, I enjoyed good food, good drink (at least drink with alcohol content) and good company while visiting the Shuar– that says “Sunday Dinner” to me!

Susan Lutz

Shuar Necklace detail of Beetle Head

Dear Susan Lutz,
Thank you so much for your response to our query.  The beetle parts on your lovely necklace appear to be the heads of Scarab Beetles, though we are not certain of the species.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to contribute an identification.  There are several metallic green species in North America, including the Emerald Euphoria pictured on BugGuide and the Figeater from our own archives.  Though you were unable to provide any additional information on the Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer, we are certain our readership will be enthralled with your personal account of your Amazon exploits as well as the artifact you have illustrating the decorative use of insects by the indigenous people of the Amazon.

Are these Crane Flies?

Insect Collection

Are these Crane Flies?
Location:  Wilmington, Delaware
October 3, 2010 12:53 pm
We are doing a bug project in fith grade. My school is The Independence School in Delaware. I’ve been collecting insects in the past 4 months. I have these 3 flies that look almost the same. I know the one at the right bottom is a Crane Fly. The other two I could not identify in the bug guide. The top one has 1 pair of wings and the abdomen/tail ends with a bulb. The bottom left fly has two pairs of wings and a skiny abdomen. The eyes are bigger and it looks more like a Dragonfly or a Damselfly, but the legs are very long. Can you please help me? Thanks
Signature:  Austin


Dear Austin,
First we want to congratulate you on doing your research well for your science project.  We will respond to the easier of your two queries first.  The Crane Fly with the bulb shaped abdomen is actually a male.  Females have pointier abdomens.  An excellent resource for information on Crane Flies is the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania website.  The Morphology page of the site indicates this:  “Abdomen is long and slender and with nine evident segments.  The apex of abdomen in male enlarged into a club-shaped hypopygium, in female extended into elongate, acutely pointed ovipositor.  They can be sexed visually in the field by these two characters.
The bigger mystery is the extra pair of wings.  We don’t know if this is a genetic mutation or something else entirely, but if it is a mutation, we suspect some museum would love to have your specimen.  We are going to contact Dr. Chen Young, and expert in Crane Flies, but a few days ago we got an “out of office” reply to an email indicating that he is collecting in the field.  It appears that you have three Crane Flies and one is an aberration.  Identifying the exact species of Crane Flies is a real challenge and we do not feel confident enough to attempt anything conclusive.  With that said, the individual on the right of your photo showing all three might be Tipula paterifera, based on a comparison to photos posted to BugGuide.  We hope Dr. Young gets back to us soon to solve the other mystery.

Crane Fly male

CORRECTION:  Thanks to Eric Eaton
Not a crane fly.  This is a “hangingfly,” a type of scorpionfly in the order Mecoptera, family Bittacidae:
Neat find!

Thanks so much Eric.  We feel a bit embarrassed at this moment because the thought of a Scorpionfly did run through our mind, yet we didn’t research that before posting.

Dr. Chen Young provides some identifications
October 5, 2010
Hi Daniel,
This bug is not a trur fly it is a hangingfly in the family Bittacidae of the order Mecoptera.  It does look like a crane fly except it has four wings.

Thanks Chen,
I have already learned about this embarrassing misidentification.

Hi Daniel,
Hey we all make misidentifications and mistakes.
The two crane flies in his project are:  the male is Tipula borealis
and the female is Tipula oleraceae, one of the two introduced european crane flies.
I have already forwarded my answer to your mating crane flies from India to you.  Let me know when you get it.

Update from Austin
October 8, 2010
Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you for your help.  My project is to collect 10 insects and identify them.  My teacher gave us 8 orders to find and pin. We are allowed to find two from the same order.  Now, this would be the 9th order not on her list.  I am glad that I found an order that is not on her list.  I will send you a picture of my project when I am done.  It is due on Oct 18, 2010.
I like your web site.  It helped me a lot on my insect project.  I could not identify some of the insects until Mrs. Godsey told us about your web site.  The first time I logged into your site, one of the insects was your bug of the month for September.  It was the Stump Stabber, Giant Ichneumon.  I found it during my summer vacation in Canada.  I could not identify it for a long time before then.  I was so excited when there it was on your front page.  Then I saw a leaf footed bug picture someone had send you a question.   And there it was again look just like one of my insect.
Thank you and have a great weekend.

Dear Austin,
We are happy that you and your teacher, and hopefully your entire class, has found our website helpful.  It is our mission to try to share a sense of wonder with the lower beasts and to educate the public regarding the important place these bugs fill in the intricate web of life that occupies our fragile planet.  It is also refreshing to hear from such an industrious student since we get so many desperate requests to do people’s homework when they realize that they have procrastinated on their entomology collection projects.

WTH is this?
Location:  Paris, France
October 2, 2010 12:18 pm
Oh please help me identify this Spider! I am living in the suburbs of Paris and I am forever seeing these in my window. Can you tell me what kind of Spider it is and if it is dangerous?
Signature:  American in Paris

Orbweaver: Wasp Spider

Dear American in Paris,
The Spiders of Northwest Europe website identifies this lovely Orbweaver as
Argiope bruennichi, and it is commonly called a Wasp Spider, though it is unclear where that common name is used.  We doubt it is the common name in France since the name is in English.

Location:  Salt Lake City
October 2, 2010 10:24 pm
My wife and I were hiking in the foothills just north of Salt Lake City in City Creek Canyon when we happened on this big hairy guy (or maybe gal). The Utah Museum of Natural History website has information on a Salt Lake City Brown tarantula. Could this be a SLC Brown?
Signature:  Chris

Salt Lake City Brown Tarantula

Hi Chris,
Your Tarantula is beautiful.  It matches a photo of
Aphonopelma iodius which we located on BugGuide. or the Desert Blond Tarantula, Aphonopelma chalcodes, which is also pictured on BugGuideBugGuide also has this information posted on the genus page:  “The Aphonopelma of North American are poorly known. Although many species have been described few specimens can be properly identified either by using available keys or by wading through species descriptions . Most identifiable specimens belong to species found in Mexico or Central America that are easily recognized by unique color patterns, such as that of A. seemanni . Correct identification of specimens collected within the United States is often suspect since determinations must be based on the process of elimination using collection dates and locality data in combination with coloration, coxal setation, and metatarsal scopulation ” and the quote is attributed to  At the very bottom of the Spiderzrule Tarantula page we found a photo of the Salt Lake City Brown Tarantula and it is identified as Aphonopelma melanium.  Interestingly, the Salt Lake City Brown Tarantula on the Utah Museum of Natural History website is identified as the first spider we mentioned, Aphonopelma iodius.  It was found in Salt Lake City and it is a brown Tarantula, so we are content calling it a Salt Lake City Brown Tarantula.

Salt Lake City Brown Tarantula