From the monthly archives: "May 2012"

Subject: Bullet Ant
Location: Ecuadorian Amazonia
May 23, 2012 4:29 pm
This bullet ant had just killed a wasp and was carrying it towards its nest. Being on a narrow jungle trail, I did not witness the confrontation, but a team mate said the ant flipped its abdomen over its thorax and stung the wasp three times. I was fortunate to see the ant moving his trophy up the tree.
Signature: John R. Anderson

Bullet Ant preys upon Termite Alate

Dear John,
We decided to look up the Bullet Ant to get some information and here is what we found on Cracked.Com:
“Bullet Ant (
Paraponera clavata)
From: Rainforests from Nicaragua to Paraguay
Why you must fear it: It’s a full inch long, it lives in trees and thus can and will fall on you to scare you away from its hive–the one you didn’t know was there, because it’s in a f^<#ing tree. Before it does this, it shrieks at you. This ant, you see, can shriek.  It’s called a Bullet Ant because its ‘unusually severe’ sting feels like getting shot. On the Schmidt Sting Index, Bullet Ants rate as the number one most try-not-to-s#!t-out-your-spine painful in the entirety of the Kingdom Arthropoda.  Also–and we do feel the need to stress this–they f^<#ing shriek at you before they attack.”  Ed. Note:  In an attempt to maintain a PG rating, we bleeped out the foul language.  We don’t believe the prey in this photo is a wasp.  It appears to be a Termite Alate, the reproductive caste.

You may well be correct on the prey. I’m a photographer and not an entomologist. There are certainly many more termites than wasps in the rain forest although they seem to share many habitats. This did, however, look very large for a termite. The workers are no bigger than the ones we have in New England.
I’m certain of the bullet ant, and during my first trip to Ecuador in 2009, one of our Kichua guides was barefoot when he stepped on one. He yelled numerous things in his native tongue as he beat it to death with his machete. The ants I have seen are about 1-1/4″ in length, and they are everywhere. I barely avoided a sting when one fell into the rolled up sleeve of my safari shirt. I backhanded it out and moved on. In April of this year, one of our guides beat on the base of a tree with a stick. There was a bullet ant nest in the ground, and the audible “shrieking” before they emerged en mass to defend their home was almost unnerving. From what I have seen and learned, these ants live up to their reputation in a serious way.
Thanks for your interest, and I would avoid this species for the home ant farm.
John R. Anderson

Thank you for all the additional information John.

Subject: What kind of bug is this
Location: Long Island New York
May 26, 2012 5:39 pm
can you tell me what kind of bug this is
Signature: From Tara

Luna Moth

Hi Tara,
This ethereal creature is a Luna Moth.  We hope it didn’t get run over when the car started.

Thank you! No it did not we shooed it away and it flew off. 🙂

Subject: Flying ant with Stinger?
Location: Lakewood Washington 98499
May 27, 2012 12:25 pm
I live in Washington State, Lakewood to be precise. I discovered these yesterday flying around my front door. This one has what looks like a stinger, and the other two had no ”stinger.”
Signature: Scott

Square Headed Snakefly

Dear Scott,
While we knew immediately that this was a female Snakefly in the order Raphidioptera, it looked different, so we checked BugGuide where we learned it is a Square Headed Snakefly in the genus
Negha.  The “stinger” is the egg laying organ of the female and it is known as an ovipositor.

Subject: Can you tell me what these are?
Location: North Central Tennessee
May 27, 2012 11:26 am
I have been replacing my folks deck in Tennessee for the past week and have come across 15-20 of these beautiful little bugs. They walk rather slow as they haven’t a care in the world and are rarely alone. However, I’ve never seen more than 3 together. The photo doesn’t show the colors as brilliantly as they were. the smallest was nearly yellow the next largest was bright orange and the largest was brilliant deep red. Only the bigger ones have the stripe of black. They seem to be fairly well armed with what look like some impressive fangs and are hyper aware of being watch. They move under and around things to keep from being seen.
Anything you could tell me about them would be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Much Thanks, Tracey

Wheel Bug Nymphs

Hi Tracey,
These are immature, predatory Wheel Bugs and they might bite if carelessly handled.  The bite may cause local swelling, but it is not considered dangerous, though it is reported to be quite painful.

Subject: Unknown Bug
Location: Alpine Tennessee
May 26, 2012 9:21 pm
I flipped a rock over on the nettle carrier creek in Alpine Tn. on may 26 of 2012 and found a horrifying bug. I am curious on if this bug is ever been found before or if it is endangered? please help..
Signature: Michael Downs

Dobsonfly Pupa

Hi Michael,
This is the pupa of a Dobsonfly, and we receive very few photos from the pupal stage, however, we get numerous identification requests to identify the larva, which is known as the Hellgrammite, as well as even more requests to identify the impressive adult Dobsonfly

Subject: Can you identify this bug?
Location: Western Tokyo, Japan
May 27, 2012 3:08 am
Hi there,
I found this winged bug on the side of a wall in Tokyo in late May this year, 2012. I think it might be a cicada, but I’ve never seen one this color before. I’ve attached an image and hope that it can be identified! Thanks!
Signature: JK

Cephonodes hylas

Dear JK,
Diurnal Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae are often collectively called Hummingbird Moths because they are often mistaken for hummingbirds as they hover before flowers imbibing from the nectar.  Your moth is
Cephonodes hylasYou may read more about the life cycle of this species on the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic website.

Thank you for your quick reply and identification!  Your site and service is amazing!