From the monthly archives: "November 2010"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location: Columbia
November 24, 2010 9:56 am
I’d like to know if it is possible to identify precisely this Micrathena. I guess it’s some variation of M. Gracilis, but cannot determine further. I suppose we need a specialist. Can you help me or direct me to such a specialist?
Signature: J-L

Spiny Orbweaver from Columbia: Micrathena lepidoptera

Dear J-L,
You are correct that this is a Spiny Orbweaver in the genus
Micrathena, but we need to research the species and that takes time.  We just looked at the clock and realize there is no time for research this morning as we must rush off to work.  This is just the type of challenge that our faithful reader Karl undertakes quite often and we hope he can do a bit of research.

Thanks for the time taken to answer. I don’t *need* to know what it is exactly, and certainly not immediately.
But, as I searched the net and could not find any picture like that one, I’m just damn curious 🙂
Have a good day.

Karl provides an identification
Hi Daniel and J-L:
I am not the specialist you seek but I was able to do some research. According to Sabogal and Florez (2000) there are 49 species of Micrathena in Colombia, but M. gracilis does not make it that far south. Fortunately your spider is quite distinctive. The compound spines place it in the lepidoptera Group, of which there are two species in Colombia. Only M. lepidoptera, however, has three sets of compound spines on the abdomen, and most of the other characteristics are consistent with your spider as well. I wasn’t able to find any online photos for comparison but you can try linking to a paper by Levi (1985) entitled “The Spiny Orb-Weaver Genera Micrathena and Chaetacis (Araneae: Araneide)” published in the Harvard University Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology ( It has excellent descriptions and illustrations of this and many other Micrathena species. I can’t be certain of the identification but I believe that is it.  Regards.  Karl

Thanks for that. It looks like we have identification, then.
Pity there is no photographic catalog online 🙂
Thanks again for your time!

Hi again J-L,
But now there is some photographic evidence online thanks to your excellent photograph.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location: Nashville, TN
November 23, 2010 10:52 pm
I found this guy in my backyard during midsummer.
I live in Nashville, TN and someone from the forestry service asked me where I found him and what he was.
The first two photos are of the same caterpillar that is in question.
The last photo that I was told was a spiny oak caterpillar. I’m not sure how accurate that is.
Anyway, any help is appreciated!
Signature: The Bug Man

Emperor Caterpillar

Dear Bug Man,
This caterpillar is one of the Emperor Caterpillars in the genus
Asterocampa, which includes the Hackberry Emperor and the Tawny Emperor.  Here is a photo of the caterpillar of a Tawny Emperor from BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is this some kind of Elephant Weevil?
Location: Robertson NSW Australia
November 23, 2010 1:07 am
Hi bugman, Recently I have gain a great interest in macro photography. I do try to identify all the bugs I photograph to gain a greater knowledge of my subjects.
I camera across this little guy, about 1.5-2cm in length. Is it some kind of Elephant Weevil?
Regards Richard


Hi Richard,
This is definitely a Weevil, but not an Elephant Weevil.  The angle is not ideal for identification, and Weevils can be difficult to identify.  We believe it is one of the Broad-Nosed Weevils in the family Adelognatha, and there are several on the Brisbane Insect Website including the Peanut Weevil.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Freaky bug
Location: Sydney, Australia
November 24, 2010 2:50 am
Hi! Could you please help to identify this freaky looking bug that got stuck in my fish bowl outside? It has 4 main legs and 2 short upper legs, no wings. This one is only 4cm long but we have seen one that is about 7cm long.
Signature: CL

Mole Cricket

Hi Cheryl,
We are certainly curious about how this Mole Cricket got stuck in your fish bowl with what appears to be an artificial koi.  Mole Crickets are common insects that can be found in many places around the world.  It is one of our most frequent identification requests from military troops stationed in Afghanistan and other places in the Middle East.  Mole Crickets live underground, but many species are capable of flying and they are sometimes attracted to lights.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Metallic Green Beetle?
Location: About 200’ elevation, 1 mile north of Oregon boarder and 40 miles from Pacific Ocean
November 23, 2010 1:59 pm
This is a lady bug sized beetle that I found on a plant that I think is St. John’s Wort.
The grass seed was grabbed when capturing the insect. They seem to drop quickly from the plant they are on when they are being pursued.
I have not found any identification for this insect. There does not seem to be any damage to the plant from this insect. I have seen a dozen or so on a plant at one time. They seem to mostly be around the flower clusters before blooming.
You have my permission to use these images.
I would also appreciate a reply if you know what this is and if it is a beneficial or an insect that should be watched.
Thank you for your time,
Jim Koepke
Longview, WA
Signature: Jim Koepke

St. Johnswort Beetle

Dear Jim,
Your beetle is
Chrysolina hyperici, commonly called the St. Johnswort Beetle.  It is an introduced species, that according to BugGuide, can be found from “Nova Scotia to Ontario, plus British Columbia and adjacent parts of United States native to Europe and Asia.”  BugGuide also indicates:  “Introduced to North America to control growth and spread of St. Johnswort, and to reduce the spread of native St. Johnswort disease (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)  Adults are more tolerant of cooler and wetter summers than the related Chrysolina quadrigemina, whose larvae and adults are killed by May frosts, and whose adult dormancy is disrupted by summer rains.”  BugGuide describes its food and feeding habits as:  “larvae feed during the night on shoot tips and basal and developing leaves of St. Johnswort (Hypericum spp.)  adults feed in clusters during the day on flower buds and terminal leaves of St. Johnswort.”  The British Columbia Government Forest Practices Branch website has this information on this biological control agent :  “Early spring larvae feedings on fleshy new growth cause the most damage.  This timing is the controlling key.  Although adult feeding can be impressive, it has less impact than larvae feeding.  Heavy fall feeding may cause some impact on the plants ability to overwinter.

St. Johnswort Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Moth unknown
Location: Naples, FL
November 23, 2010
Hi Daniel,
Thank you for you reply.  I have a large “Orange Jasmine” bush that flowers often and profusely. This brings in lots of flying insects and the flying insects attract tropical orb spiders.
I have attached some photos.  You may use any of the photos I have sent to you, my compliments.  If there are numbers in the file name they are the year, month, day.
The file named Moth_unknown:  I see many similar types of moth when the jasmine blooms.
I live on eight acres, about 8 miles east of Naples, FL.
Robert Lenahan

Streaked Sphinx: Protambulyx strigilis

Hi again Rober,
This gorgeously aerodynamic Sphinx Moth is
Protambulyx strigilis.  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website it is commonly called the Streaked Sphinx

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination