From the monthly archives: "November 2010"

Location: Near Marmaris in Turkey
November 22, 2010 6:06 am
I was in Turkey and came upon this little fella. I guess at a wasp, but maybe you could clarify?
Signature: Katie

Oriental Hornet

Hi Katie,
We tried unsuccessfully to identify your Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes to the species level.

Correction: November 28, 2010
Hi Daniel:
This looks like an Oriental Hornet, Vespa orientalis (Vespidae: Vespinae). The species ranges from southeast Europe and north Africa, across east and central Asia to India and Nepal.  It has also been introduced accidentally to China, Mexico and possibly parts of South America. There are lots of online photos but I was drawn to a site with an interesting (and curious) accompanying article about “Thermoelectric Effect in Hornet Silk and Thermoregulation in Hornet’s Nest”. Regards.  Karl

Thanks for correcting this glaringly incorrect identification Karl.  We dismissed the European Hornet as a possibility and jumped straight to trying to identify Polistes species.

A very pretty pink insect
Location: Lahore, Pakistan
November 28, 2010 12:08 pm
I recently saw this insect on a window sill sitting perfectly still. I have never seen something like this before. Can you please help me identify this?
Signature: Mansoor

Pink Conehead from Pakistan

Dear Mansoor,
We believe this is a Conehead in the Katydid tribe Copiphorini, commonly called the Coneheads (See BugGuide).  The pink coloration may be an anomaly.  Often typically green Katydids exhibit this pink coloration, but it is not common.  We will contact a Katydid expert, Piotr Naskrecki, to see if he is able to provide a species identification.

Hi Daniel,
I cannot tell for sure from this photo, but it is a female of either Ruspolia sp. or Pseudorhynchus sp. (Conocephalinae).

Thanks Piotr,
Is pink the typical color, or is it an anomaly like in certain North American species?

Hi Daniel,
It is not an anomaly in this katydid, and it is not an anomaly in North American species either. Pink color morphs are common in katydids, although more so in some species than others (especially in Phaneropterinae and Conocehalinae), and of course there are groups that do not have pink morphs at all. The fact that pink katydids are not seen often is only testament to the effectiveness of this cryptic coloration.

Unknown Bug
Location: Los Angeles County California
November 24, 2010 12:07 pm
Why type of bug insect is this?
Signature: The Bug Guy

Tarantula Hawk

Dear Bug Guy,
Since we offer a free service on the internet, we feel that we also have the prerogative to occasionally step up on a soap box and promote our own agenda when the mood strikes.  Your letter struck a note with us.  We pride ourselves on being able to create a dialog on the internet that promotes tolerance and appreciation of the lower beasts, but dialog is a two way street.  You have provided us with the barest of essentials required on our online form, and you did not provide any information to whet the appetites of our readership.  Upon reading your email submission, we know only that you found something in Los Angeles and you want to know what it is.  In the interest of sharing information, please provide us with some actual content.  What were the circumstances surrounding this sighting?  Was this lovely creature sighted in the city, or in a park, or perhaps in your own yard?  How was it behaving?  Was it aggressive?  Was it on November 24, or did you finally decide to try to identify a creature you photographed in the summer of 2004?  With all due respect Bug Guy, you didn’t give us much yet you want an answer.  We believe this Spider Wasp is a Tarantula Hawk, but the group does need some revision and research.  The genera
Pepsis and Hemipepsis are both known as Tarantula Hawks.  BugGuide has much information on the genus page for Pepsis, including:  “Genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis have identical biology and are not distinguishable in the field. They are discussed here together under Pepsis, though there is a brief account for Hemipepsis.  These wasps are reputed to have a very powerful sting, though they are not aggressive.”  Tarantula Hawks are considered Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae, and there may be other species in the family that resemble Tarantula Hawks.

Tarantula Hawk

Thanks for the response. I,m sorry, but I am not an insect enthusiast. The intent of my inquiry was exactly that, “What type of bug is this”. I have lived in Southern California all my life (49 Years) and have never seen such an interesting creature.
This particular insect was spotted by me on Wednesday November 24, 2010 approximately 1:30 PM in Castaic California in front of my garage door. I was walking out to my car when I saw it hanging to the stucco. I became very interested in it because I had never seen anything like it. I went into the house I got my digital camera decided to take some pictures of it. When I came back outside it was on the concrete and walking along the length of the garage door. I walked awkwardly and some what wobbly like a beetle. I got a piece of cardboard and picked the insect up by sliding the cardboard under it. It never tried to fly away and nor was it aggressive. I moved it to a planter area because I did not want it to get stepped on or ran over.
That particular day was cool and Windy. I just wanted to know if this was a rare species for the area I live in.
Thank-You for the prompt response.
Craig Thompson

Thank you so much for providing us with additional information, and please don’t think of us as monsters after our first response.  You might want to try to read more about Tarantula Hawks because they are truly warriors in the insect world to be able to sting and incapacitate a Tarantula to provide the nourishment needed for the larval wasp to develop and mature.

What bug is this?
Location: California, USA
November 25, 2010 5:32 pm
This bug looks kinda transparent but with black triangles and shapes on its back. What bug is this?
Signature: Kelsey

Mediterranean Seed Bug

Dear Kelsey,
After three days of searching BugGuide under True Bugs, we are ready to admit defeat.  We cannot identify your True Bug, but we suspect it is a Plant Bug in the family Miridae, a family with countless individual species represented on BugGuide, but we could find no visual match.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck scouring the internet.  We wish you had provided additional information, like perhaps “This bug is swarming our elm tree” or “We cannot understand why there are several of these bugs in our kitchen each morning”, but alas, you gave us nothing to work with, and California is a very large state.

Hi, Daniel:
Your insect is a “Mediterranean Seed Bug:”
Easy to get all those non-descript heteropterans confused, believe me.

help identifying a bug
Location: New York City
November 27, 2010 9:33 pm
Can you tell me what type of bug this is – see 2 attached photos.
I was told it was a carpenter beetle but it does not seem to match the photos online. I am concerned it might be a bed bug.
I apprecaite any help you can offer.
Signature: ds

Spider Beetle

Dear ds,
It is our casual observation that in recent years, Bed Bug Paranoia has reached epidemic proportions and it affects far more people than actual Bed Bug infestations affect.  Every imaginable household intruder or household visitor becomes suspect as Bed Bug infestation coverage saturates the media.  We in no means intend to disparage the media for attempting to make the public aware of a possible health crisis, but the fallout to the information has the public flocking to extermination services in situations that would be better remedied with a thorough cleaning of the kitchen cupboards.  Your creatures are NOT Bed Bugs.  They are relatively harmless Smooth Spider Beetles,
Gibbium aequinoctiale, which according to BugGuide, is found “Mainly in houses, flour mills, occasionally in warehouses, hospitals, and stores”.  BugGuide also indicates:  “This species is a scavenger, feeding on a wide variety of dead plant and animal materials.  It has become a pest by feeding on dry stored products.”   We would recommend that you search for the source of the infestation, including possibly stored flour products that have been on your kitchen shelf for more than a year, that jumbo size of pet food that saved you $2 but takes Fido a year to consume, or even the cookie crumbs that have fallen between the couch cushions.  Standard extermination services often do nothing to eliminate pantry pests like Spider Beetles because the actual food is not sprayed with the insecticide.

bug identification request
Location: Manteca, California
November 28, 2010 4:19 am
We’ve found this bug 3 times now – twice on the bed and once in the garage (which is directly below our bedroom). Haven’t been able to find a picture of it anywhere – I hope you can tell us what this thing is! It’s about half an inch long and can move very quickly. The first one my husband saw went in a sandwich bag to try and get identified – I was very surprised that it’s still alive a week later – no food, no air, no water.
Thanks for your efforts – looking forward to your answer.
Signature: Brenda W.

Snakefly Larva

Dear Brenda,
The beneficial and harmless Snakefly Larva you have imprisoned in a plastic bag would be much better off if you released it where you found it.  According to BugGuide:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods. Adults take efforts to clean themselves after feeding. Females have been observed to ‘have a curious habit of frequently wagging their ovipositor during the process of eating, as though expressing satisfaction with the food.’ [pg. 104, Carpenter, 1936]