From the monthly archives: "November 2010"

Unidentified insect on an agar plate
Location: Albany, NY
November 29, 2010 2:47 pm
Howdy! So I have a giant insect book at home that I can’t access right now because I am at work, but we have an unusual little guy that I found a picture of online and cannot actually identify because it was found under ”aspen mite”, and it is not an actual mite. We work in a nematode laboratory and this guy is about the length of an adult nematode (C. elegans). He is the first and only one of his kind. Contamination possibilities are: us, the air from the ventilation system and some fungus gnats that were in my potting soil. Just wondering what he is and what he does and if he thinks that C.elegans eggs are like delicious caviar or that C. elegans themselves are like delicious little noodles. Thanks and I love the site!
Signature: Cara D


Dear Cara,
This is a Springtail in the class Collembola, and by many accounts, they are the most common hexapods on the planet.  According to BugGuide which sites DiscoverLife:  “Springtails are probably the most abundant hexapods on Earth, with up to 250 million individuals per acre.
”  It probably came from the potting soil.

Is this a bristle fly
Location: Healesville, Victoria Australia
November 29, 2010 2:53 pm
Hello Bugman, I believe this is a bristle fly going on the photos I’ve seen here. This is only the second of these flies I’ve ever seen here after 13 years of living in the area. It was seen in Healesville, Victoria, Australia on Nov 29th 2010, that’s just a couple of days before Summer.
Signature: Linda

Bristle Fly

Hi Linda,
The first time we posted a photo of this distinctive fly in 2007, we posted it as an unidentified Tachinid Fly.  In 2009, we posted another image, still unidentified, and we eventually learned it is
Amphibolia vidua and the common name Bristle Fly is used for the family Tachinidae, the Tachinid Flies.  You are correct in calling your individual a Bristle Fly.

Bristle Fly

would you like some more photos for your files?  I tried to put them on yesterday but they were all too big.  I’m happy to email them to you if you want them.
Just to give you some more information-  I’ve seen one of these flies once before here, about 5 years ago, it was very sluggish and divebombed me, and in my panic I swatted and killed it.  The black shape on the rump (do flies have rumps?)  was very slightly different to this one, it was a perfect heart shape.  I assume they are the same type of fly and there’s just a bit of individual variation.
Thanks so much for getting back to me, your site is fantastic!
Linda Meerman

Bristle Fly

Thanks for the additional information and photos.

wondering what this bug is
Location: 31deg54’42.99”N, 106deg27’20.90”W
November 29, 2010 12:05 pm
One of my favorite photos. Took this in Aug. 2006 just after a record rain and flood in the desert off the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, TX. The abdomen of what appears to be a type of ant was roughly 1/2” long.
I’ve always wondered if the heavy and unusual amount of rain affected this bug’s normal appearance.
Signature: Christopher Licking

Desert Spider Beetle

Hi Christoper,
This is a Desert Spider Beetle in the genus
Cysteodemus.  Some members of this genus are known as Inflated Beetles because of the air filled abdomen.  Your beetle is the Black Bladder-Bodied Meloid, Cysteodemus wislizeni, which you may read about on BugGuide.  Rain frequently triggers activity in desert dwelling insects.

Can someone help identify this bug?
Location: Oklahoma
November 28, 2010 5:18 pm
I have these bugs under my washing machine and a few have climbed from under there and on the floor a few inches away. I moved the machine and these are ”nests” of dust, webs, or that’s what it looks like to me. They do crawl but most of time just sit still. There are ”skins” where they have shed them like a snake. The bugs are white or beige with darker on each end. There are many legs like centipedes and the back end looks like it has long antennae maybe 2. I can’t stand bugs and I have never seen these before but now I am looking for them everywhere. Under the machine and on the round legs of the machine seem to be where they are. HELP!!!!
Signature: Barbara

Carpet Beetle Larvae

Dear Barbara,
You have Carpet Beetle Larvae, and now that you have that information, you should be able to find lots of information in our own archive and on the internet.  They feed on shed pet hair and other organic materials.

Unknown insect
Location: Australia
November 29, 2010 4:39 am
This little guy has turned up in the enclosed container that our spiny stick insect eggs are in. It’s very different to the babies that have come fron the eggs.
Signature: Andrew

Hatchling Phasmid: Macleay's Spectre Stick Insect

Dear Andrew,
Your inquiry brings up numerous questions in our mind because the insect pictured is an immature Phasmid or Stick Insect.  We can’t help but wonder where your spiny stick insect eggs came from.  Did you collect them or purchase them?  Were they purchased from a supplier?  It might be possible that the supplier deals in numerous species, and a stray egg was included in your batch.  What did the other hatchlings look like?  Since Stick Insects are vegetarian, you can probably raise this guy with the others.

Identification courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Andrew:
It looks like a Macleay’s Spectre Stick Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum), a native of the Australian east coast. Giant Prickly Stick Insect and Australian Spiny Stick Insect are also common names for this species. It appears to be quite popular among Phasmid fanciers so there is quite a lot of information on the internet.  The young nymphs are apparently ant mimics, and the adults are quite spectacular. Regards.  Karl

Update from Andrew
Dear Daniel,
Thanks very much for your help and quick response.
Quite strange as the eggs were all collected from the same spiny leaf female that we previously had.
This was the only one we’ve had so I’m puzzled by the different species.
A pic of one of the others is attached. This seems to have a similar body shape to our previous one.
Thanks again for your assistance.

Stick Insect Hatchling, or Mantis????

Dear Andrew and Karl,
Now we are even more confused, and we believe this warrants tagging as a Mystery.  First to Karl, thanks for doing the research on the original image of the Phasmid hatchling and for providing us with links.  Now to Andrew, please clarify your species of spiny leaf female.  Is it the species that Karl has linked to,
Extatosoma tiaratum, or is it some other species?  Was it a wild collected female? or Was it purchased?  The reason we are persisting in our questions is that the new image you have attached of the others actually looks more like a Mantis hatchling to us.  If it is in fact a Phasmid hatchling, we would like to identify it.  Thanks for any further information you are able to provide.

December 1, 2010
Hi Guys,
Once again thank you for your help.
The species that Karl has linked is the correct one. They look identical to the previous one we had.
I bought it from a pet shop and have kept about 100 of the eggs so i can wait and see what comes from the other eggs.
The smaller mantis looking one was the first to appear and we then put in some eucalyptus leaves to feed it. The larger one that you have identified as the stick insect then turned up.
My wife is convinced that the leaves were clean from foreign insects when she did this, as they were washed and wiped.
Thank you both for your help, i’m more than happy to keep you updated with photos.

Catalan, European Moth Caterpillar
Location: Catalan Pre-Pyrenees/Pyrenees, Cadí-Moixeró. Near Bellver de Cerdanya, Catalonia.
November 29, 2010 5:23 am
First of all, thank you for the great work done here.
In a hike we went two years ago found a (probably) moth caterpillar of unknown (for me) of unknown type. It was in summer, in the catalan pre-pyrenees, near bellver de cerdanya and in the Cadi-Moixeró national park limits. Size was about 60mm long by 13-15mm.
I sent a pair of images.
Thank you very much in advance,
Signature: Victor Calvis i Ponton

Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Victor,
This gaudy caterpillar is
Hyles euphorbiae, commonly called the Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth.  You can read about it on the Sphingidae of the Americas website because it was introduced to North America to help control the spread of a European weed, the Leafy Spurge.  The Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic website has a map with the native range of the species indicated.

Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar