Location: Los Angeles, CA
October 18, 2011 12:35 am
We found this bug in our pool in Hollywood Hills, CA USA. What is it and is it harmful? Thanks.
Signature: Gabe Naghi
We knew by your subject line without even opening up your image that you had found a Potato Bug, one of our Top 10 Southern California identification requests. Native Americans and Spaniards gave Potato Bugs common names that referred to their humanoid appearance. BugGuide lists other common names as: “Woh-tzi-Neh (Navajo, variously translated as ‘old bald-headed man’, ‘skull insect’, or ‘bone-neck beetle’), Nina de la Tierra (Spanish, ‘child of the earth’), … Devil’s Baby.” Potato Bugs are also called Jerusalem Crickets, though they native and not from the biblical Holy Land. Potato Bugs in the genus Stenopelmatus were the only members of the family Stenopelmatidae, however recent taxonomic changes seem to have created another genus. According to BugGuide, there are “over 50 spp. in our area, mostly undescribed”.