From the monthly archives: "August 2011"

Giant Wasp look-a-like damselfly
Location: Pandora, Ohio – NW OH Rural town on Creek
August 30, 2011 8:51 pm
Saw this giant bug today by the woodpile. I thought it was some sort of damsel fly, but it has antennae!? Sort of looks like a giant wasp too? Very weird. I live in NW Ohio on a creek. We were cutting down trees, and it was hanging out with a smaller mate, on the wood pile. Very docile and calm. Can you identify it ?
Signature: Itching to find out

Male Giant Ichneumon

Dear Itching to find out,
Stop your scratching.  This is a male Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, probably Megarhyssa macrurus. The Giant Ichnuemons, we recently learned, are called Stump Stabbers because of the long ovipositor of the the female.  We rarely get photos of male Giant Ichneumons, so we are very pleased to be able to post your beautiful images.

Male Stump Stabber

The hole in the wood in the lower right of one of your photos is most likely the exit hole of either this individual, one of its siblings, or possibly, its host insect the Pigeon Horntail.  Giant Ichneumons parasitize the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail.  Ichneumons are classified with wasps and bees in the order Hymenoptera.  Thank you for including a photo with a human finger for scale.

Male Giant Ichneumon

Awesome !  Thanks for the info – – glad I could be of help as well !   I will go out again today to see if I see them again !
Itching

 

 

All spiders do not have venom.
August 30, 2011 11:12 pm
Thank you for your interesting web site – I have been visiting it for many years now.
Just one query pls. Your regularly indicate that “All Spiders have poison”.
I was taught at varsity that the family Uloboridae does not have venom glands and the members are therefore not venomous. Was I taught wrong?
Regards
Deon, Pretoria, South Africa
Signature: Deon

Hi Deon,
Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention.  As we have stated in numerous locations on our website, we do not have science backgrounds, but rather, we are visual artists who have an interest in the lower beasts.  We decided to research this a bit, and have now learned that there is at least one family of spiders, Uloboridae as you have pointed out, that does not have venom.  According to BugGuide, these Cribellate Orbweavers or Hackle-band Orbweavers  are “unique among spiders in our area in having no venom at all.”  The Spiders of Australia website has a nice page on them that also points out  “Uloborid spiders are unusual in having no poison glands. They rely completely on wrapping their prey in silk.”  Alas, we doubt that we will have the time to make this correction in every location on our website, but we will be sure to not make this error again.

Zebra with antenna!?
Location: Portland, OR.
August 29, 2011 11:30 pm
Hello bugman,
I nearly stepped on this guy as I crossed the street in Portland, OR. At first I thought it was a plastic toy and someone was playing a joke on me. I bent near and saw it twitch a bit and knew it was real and just had to snap a picture or two.
This looks like it fell out of a plane from some tropical exotic rain forest.
Signature: I see stripes

Banded Alder Borer

Dear I see stripes,
In our opinion, the Banded Alder Borer is the most beautiful North American Beetle.

Poisonous?!
Location: New England
August 30, 2011 7:32 am
I found this spider dead and was unsure if it is poisonous or not. I have never seen it around here before and it makes me think it’s dangerous. I have young kids and am worried. Please respond quickly!!! Thank you,
Signature: A Ditressed Homeowner

Smashed Golden Orbweaver

Dear Distressed Homeowner,
All Spiders have poison, but very few are considered dangerous to humans.  Spiders are not generally inclined to bite people unless they are carelessly handled or threatened.  This stately Golden Orbweaver,
Argiope aurantia, was a magnificent spider prior to being squashed.  Golden Orbweavers are not considered to be dangerous spiders.  Often people will smash spiders and insects because they are of the opinion that is it “just a bug” which we find quite troubling.  We cannot claim that a Golden Orbweaver would not bite a person or a small child, but Orbweavers rarely leave their webs, and if they do leave their webs, it is most likely that they were forced to leave their webs.  Conscientious gardeners will leave an Orbweaver in the garden, knowing where it has spun its web.  The Golden Orbweaver was the inspiration for the classic children’s story Charlotte’s Web.

Dear Bugman,
Thank you very much. The Golden Orbweaver was dead when I discovered it, but when I moved it to take a picture it got slightly squashed. I understand your concern and agree, bugs are very mistreated.

We Stand Corrected
All spiders do not have venom.
August 30, 2011 11:12 pm
Thank you for your interesting web site – I have been visiting it for many years now.
Just one query pls. Your regularly indicate that “All Spiders have poison”.
I was taught at varsity that the family Uloboridae does not have venom glands and the members are therefore not venomous. Was I taught wrong?
Regards
Deon, Pretoria, South Africa
Signature: Deon

Hi Deon,
Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention.  As we have stated in numerous locations on our website, we do not have science backgrounds, but rather, we are visual artists who have an interest in the lower beasts.  We decided to research this a bit, and have now learned that there is at least one family of spiders, Uloboridae as you have pointed out, that does not have venom.  According to BugGuide, these Cribellate Orbweavers or Hackle-band Orbweavers  are “unique among spiders in our area in having no venom at all.”  The Spiders of Australia website has a nice page on them that also points out  “Uloborid spiders are unusual in having no poison glands. They rely completely on wrapping their prey in silk.”  Alas, we doubt that we will have the time to make this correction in every location on our website, but we will be sure to not make this error again.

 

Red butt bug….
Location: Mount Dora, Florida
August 30, 2011 7:10 am
Hey Bugman-Please solve this mystery for us. We finally captured this guy and got photos this weekend. We have several insect books for Florida, but have been unable to identify this gorgeous critter. He hangs out in my butterfly garden and seems to like the same plants as the butterflies do. He is not aggressive. We have been going crazy the past seven years trying to identify this insect. Please help…thanks.
Signature: Monique & Chuck

Polka-Dot Wasp Moth

Dear Monique & Chuck,
What took you so long to write to us?  We have been available on the internet at a different location since late 1998 and  at our current URL since 2002.  This is a Polka-Dot Wasp Moth,
Syntomeida epilais, a species that is a very effective harmless mimic of a stinging insect.

Dear Daniel-
THANK YOU so much for your response and solving this mystery for us…and to think I don’t have oleanders in my garden because of my past experience with those “awful” defoliating caterpillars…they turn into this beautiful insect!! I have plenty of other plants to accomodate various species of butterfly larva and don’t seem to mind that they are summarily defoliated…I think it’s time for an oleander in my garden. I want more of these ‘artistically painted’ insects. You have made our day. We are so glad to have discovered your website and didn’t write earlier because we were unable to actually capture one of these…as we were afraid they were a stinging insect and I am highly allergic to stings of all kinds….and, yes, his “very effective mimic of a stinging insect” worked on us. (We did release him when his photo session was over.)
Thanks again…we will be making a donation to your site for you to be able to continue to do your work. Monique & Chuck

So sorry to send so many
Location: Hawthorne, CA
August 29, 2011 6:14 pm
Hi,
Here is one that is on a flower that I haven’t been able to identify. I do know that it’s tiny flowers go to seed much as a dandelion. Guess I should pull it up right away if I don’t want my whole garden to be taken over. Just wanted to wait until I could get a somewhat decent photo of this tiny guy. Can you help? I’m sending a photo of a bloom with a Mexican Sunflower leaf behind it so you can get an idea of the size. We know you’re very busy right now, but would appreciate any help you can give.
Anna
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Carrot Wasp

Hi Again Anna,
We actually identified this one much more quickly than we anticipated.  We opened the digital photo up yesterday before we did any research and this morning we zeroed in on the Carrot Wasps in the genus
Gasteruption on BugGuide.  There is not too much information on the information page on BugGuide, except the unexplained common name Carrot Wasp and this statement regarding food:  “Adults take nectar; larvae are predators or predator-inquilines of other Hymenoptera that nest in twigs or other woody sites.”  We suspect the adults are fond of taking nectar from the umbel blossoms of carrots and related plants, including many herbs like parsley, dill, and anise.  Your specimen is a male, as he lacks the ovipositor of the female.  This Cirrus Images website has some beautiful photographs and from there we were directed to the Tree of Life website that more thoroughly covers the parasitic habits of the group.

Daniel,
Thanks very much!  This is such a small wasp and is very hard see, much less get in focus.  I’m so glad you were able to identify it for me.  I also appreciate the links to Cirrus Images & Tree of Life websites.
Anna