From the monthly archives: "April 2011"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big orange neuropteran(?) Seattle
Location: Seattle (Woodinville)
April 26, 2011 12:27 am
The kids spotted this
”Squee! Can it hurt us?”
”I don’t think so: no sting, and it looks like chewing mandibles”
”Ooo, it can FLY”

Giant Stonefly

”I wanna hold it”
”Mee too”
Well, it was outside, on an unusually non-rainy and warm spring day (4/24/11) here in a rural suburb of Seattle, at our new house, where there are a lot of creeks and swampy ground. We found our first-ever salamander the same day. The critter likes syrup, can fly, and is unusually …charismatic… for the area. Since there are all sorts of worries about invasives here like Asian Longhorn Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer, I thought it best to ask before letting it go. Unfortunately, I had no film for the camera with the macro lens, so I took these with a cheap little cameera while holding a magnifier in front of it.
I know you’re on vacation, but I hope you can take a look when you get back….
Signature: George

Giant Stonefly

Hi George,
What a marvelous story.  This beauty is a Giant Stonefly or Salmonfly.  See BugGuide for more information.

Giant Stonefly

Yep: Just after I posted the picture on my facebook, my college daughter (who had been with me and her sisters when we found it) popped-in with:
“Hey I searched online! it looks like a skwala stonefly, also known as the american springfly. the nymphs are aquatic, and they make good fishing bait apparently. and only the females have wings.
“I figured there weren’t that many large insects in washington with wings and orange bits. google images for the species, then searched that for an informative website. haha
So it’s apparently Skwala americana, and she’s quite a genius.
Actually, we’ve always been a critter family: One of the attractions of this new place was the peculiar superabundance of garter snakes for the kids to play with (makes for smelly laundary though). I regularly make mud for the daubers when it’s dry, and keep Polistes as pets (ask me about it sometime); the girls like to feed them, and bumbles, beetles, butterflies and whatever else will take it, with sugar-on-the-finger. Makes for good memories and pictures. I was surprized the stonefly so avidly took sugar syrup; I always thought the adults of such things were ephemeral, non-feeding.
I have quite a few pictures, and many more stories, about my childhood, adulthood, and THEIR childhood adventures with insects and other wildlife; I should write a book.
BTW, I appreciate your site: it’s a useful service, of more value than you realize. Scientists everywhere (and you do indeed qualify) need to do public outreach. Here is a discussion on the topic by a prominent and controversial scientist, famous for his obstreperousness:
Much Thanks,

Thanks for the followup and kind compliment George.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

large beetle identified
Location: Pickering Ontario Canada
April 27, 2011 12:41 pm
Hi, I sent you a photo yesterday of a large blackish beetle with blue ”trim” that I thought might be a carrion beetle. I think I’ve now identified it as a European Ground Beetle, carabus nemoralis, and have been delighted to learn that it is a voracious eater of snails and slugs (and less happily, worms). I’ve since found several more of these big beetles in my garden, so perhaps I’ll be slug-free this year. How common is this beetle in southern-central Ontario? I’m just east of Toronto. Thanks!
Signature: Pat V.

Mating European Ground Beetles

Hi Pat,
Your letter arrived when we were out of the office on holiday, and this followup email arrived just as we returned to a very full mailbox.  Alas, we are not able to respond to all the mail we received, but we are thrilled that you self identified your mating European Ground Beetles and we love your photograph.  BugGuide has a nice information page on the European Ground Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Stinging Caterpillar
Location: Guanaja, Honduras
April 26, 2011 11:14 pm
What is this caterpillar? It has a severe sting.
Signature: ??

Stinging Flannel Moth Caterpillar

Dear ??,
We have posted images of the stinging Flannel Moth Caterpillar,
Megalopyge lanata, several times in the past.  We are going to take this opportunity to create a new subcategory for Flannel Moth Caterpillars.  We love that your photo illustrates two different instars of this dangerous caterpillar.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

scary creepy bug!!
Location: salem mass, us
April 27, 2011 9:59 pm
Hi bugman. While enjoying a movie this critter glided across the floor moving so fast!! Please help identify what he is so we can sleep at night!!
Signature: thank you!!

House Centipede

Because they are nocturnal hunters, House Centipedes often startle folks while they are relaxing and watching television.  We occasionally receive a contrary comment when we post that House Centipedes are harmless, so instead, we will indicate that though a large House Centipede might bite if it is carelessly handled, their venom is mild and in the unlikely event that a person is bitten, the effects would be quite mild.  We seriously doubt that people would have much of a chance of handling a House Centipede, because as your email indicates, they are quite fast.  House Cats frequently catch and torment House Centipedes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

black widow with bess beetle
Location: Garner/Raleigh NC
April 28, 2011 6:49 am
Greetings! I don’t often have anything to post, but here’s some shots I took this morning of a black widow spider that lives in a crack in the brick mortar outside the front door of where I work in Garner, NC. I noticed the web some time ago, but couldn’t tell what was in there until it came out to ’web up’ this rather large meal of what I believe to be a Bess beetle. Sure do hope it doesn’t decide to come inside!
I apologize that the one pic of the front came out so blurry, but I had to put the camera down on the ground to take it & couldn’t see the screen. I included it anyway to possibly help identify age, as I know the spots on the back mean it is younger.
Really enjoy checking out your site, and have had many chuckles over some of your replies to those ’challenged’ posters who don’t quite get the spirit of your site. Rock on!
Signature: thank God for macro lens

Black Widow Eats Bess Beetle

Dear tGfml,
We are really impressed with this incredible Food Chain documentation.  We agree that the prey is a Bess Beetle, one of the few insects that actually has family values where adults care for and feed larvae.  Both adults and larvae are capable of making sounds by stridulation and it is believe that the sounds are a form of communication.  BugGuide has a very informative page devoted to this family of interesting beetles.  When the Black Widow matures, she will lose all of her red spots and only the red hourglass marking under her abdomen will remain on her otherwise glossy black surface, making her a strikingly distinctive creature.  Black Widows are shy, hiding by day, though they can often be found in the open in their webs once darkness falls.  Though they are not aggressive spiders, readers should treat Black Widows with respect as their neurotoxic venom is quite potent.  Again, BugGuide has a marvelous information page on Widow spiders.

Black Widow eats Bess Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

New Moth sighting in LA 4-27-11
Location: Los Angeles, CA
April 27, 2011
Hey guys.  I have another moth sighting today.  May be a variation on the one we talked about last week.  Unfortunately this one did not stick around for the mating process.  Here is a picture.
I also found this on my house near my willow.

One Eyed Sphinx

Thanks for sending us another photo of a One Eyed Sphinx Dan.  We will link to your earlier letter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination