From the monthly archives: "October 2011"

Mystery (to me) hornet
Location: Deep southern Illinois
October 31, 2011 3:12 pm
While hiking the other day I found this ”hornet” alone and chilly early one sunny day. Can you let me know what kind of bug this chilly fellow is?
Signature: JimmyDean

Potter Wasp

Dear JimmyDean,
This is a Potter or Mason Wasp in the subfamily Eumeninae, though we are uncertain if Potter Wasp and Mason Wasp are synonymous or if they are two distinct groups within the family.  We believe we identified your Potter Wasp or Mason Wasp as
Pseudodynerus quadrisectus, based on photos posted to BugGuide which states it “Nests in borings made in wood, preys on caterpillars” and that it is found from “June-September (North Carolina)”.  Your individual was sighted significantly late in the season.  Perhaps a change in weather patterns is responsible.

Editor’s Note:  If you have a late Potter Wasp or other insect sighting, please submit it.

Identity crisis
Location: Lake Travis in Central Texas
October 26, 2011 9:35 pm
Help! I came across this beautiful bug while camping on Lake Travis in Central Texas earlier this month. It is obviously a bug with good taste since it is hanging out on a prickly pear cactus tuna. My guess is that it is a stinker or a leaffooted something but I don’t know what kind of stinker exactly.
Your pal,
Karen Sue
Signature: Karen Sue

Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Karen Sue,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae, and we believe it is in the genus
Leptoglossus.  It might be Leptoglossus clypealis based on the structure of the head.  According to BugGuide:  “A spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (technically known as the tylus) distinguishes this species.”  It is difficult to be certain that your specimen has this tylus because of the angle of the photo.  Also, since your individual is an immature nymph, exact species identification may be difficult.

Is this some sort of wasp?
Location: Northern Indiana (Goshen)
October 31, 2011 9:43 am
Can you help my family identify this bug/wasp/whatever-it-is? We found it on our sliding glass door last week (mid-October, late afternoonm, in Northern Indiana, weather is about 50 degrees F).
We strive to teach our children (ages 1 through 10) that bugs are fascinating, not scary, but this one looked rather menacing to all of us. So, we’re hoping for your help in identifying so that we can appreciate this glorious critter!
Signature: Many thanks! the Norris family

Stump Stabber

We might have figured it out…
Location: Goshen, Indiana
October 31, 2011 9:52 am
Just sent an email moments ago, and have since looked over your top ten. I think that the critter on our sliding glass door is a Giant Ichenumon? Thanks for your great website! Fascinating and fun!
Signature: The Norris family

Dear Norris Family,
We agree that you have identified one of the Giant Ichneumons in the genus
Megarhyssa, though we are not certain of the species.  We are especially fond of the common name Stump Stabber for these parasitic hymenopterans.

Stump Stabber


30 legs of ”what the heck” in my room
Location: Peruvian rain forest ( within 25 miles of 12° 36′ 0″ S, 69° 11′ 0″ W)
October 30, 2011 10:35 pm
On vacation this summer, i spent time in the Peruvian rain forest. We slept in an abandoned schoolhouse, and i found this little creature hiding in my room. I took this picture late July/early August
Signature: Adam Protter

House Centipede

Dear Adam,
This is a House Centipede, a beneficial nocturnal predator that is perfectly comfortable cohabitating with humans and feeding off the other nocturnal arthropod residents like Cockroaches.  For years we have been claiming that House Centipedes are perfectly harmless, though larger individuals may be capable of biting and Centipedes do have venom.  The venom of a House Centipede is not considered to be harmful to humans, and we also maintain that bites from House Centipedes are extremely rare.

I do not know what this is
Location: DeKalb Illinois
October 30, 2011 10:51 pm
I was sitting at a table outside on my schools campus when I looked down at my arm and this thing was climbing up my arm. I have no idea what it is and cannot find any sort of description of it.
Signature: Desmond Wafers

White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Desmond,
This caterpillar is a White Marked Tussock Moth or Rusty Vapor Moth,
Orgyia leucostigma.  The caterpillars from this genus are quite distinctive and they should be handled with care.  According to BugGuide:  “CAUTION:  Contact with hairs may cause an allergic reaction.”

what is this bug
Location: Southwest Virginia
October 27, 2011 3:50 pm
Every fall I see these things in my backyard. They gather together on a certain plant and I guess they eat it. Anyway it always dies where they were.
Signature: Connie

Oil Beetles

Dear Connie,
These are Oil Beetles, a group of Blister Beetles in the genus
Meloe.  There are 12 similar looking species on BugGuide, and we don’t have the necessary skills to differentiate your species from the others.  Because of your location and the time of year, we believe the most likely species candidates based on data information on BugGuide are Meloe campanicollis and Meloe impressus. Oil Beetles have an interesting and complex life cycle that includes laying eggs that hatch into mobile larvae that attach themselves to solitary bees.  When the bee returns to the hive, the beetle enters with the bee and begins by feeding upon the egg of a bee as well as the food that has been provided to nourish the bee larva.  Here is the explanation on BugGuide:  “First-instar larvae climb to the top of a grass or weed stalk as a group, clump together in the shape of a female solitary ground bee, exude a scent that is the same as, or closely resembles, the pheromones of the female bee, and wait for a male ground bee to come along. When he does, he tries to mate with the clump of larvae, whereupon they individually clamp onto his hairs. He then flies away, finds and mates with one or several real female bees, and the larvae transfer to the female(s).  Each impregnated female bee then flies off and builds one to several nests in burrows she digs in the soil, and the larvae transfer again to the new nests. The female bee stocks these nests with honey and pollen for her own young, but the hungry blister beetle young are there to gobble up the provisions. They eventually pupate and finally emerge as adult flightless beetles. Brothers and sisters find each other and mate, produce eggs and the hatchlings start the process all over.”  BugGuide does not provide much information on the food plants for the various species.  Have you been able to identify the plant that your beetles are feeding upon?  Is it something that you cultivate in your garden or is it a native plant?  The Backyard Arthropod Project has a nice set of photos and some interesting observations.