From the monthly archives: "October 2012"

Subject: Strange bug!
Location: Fern Tree Gully, Victoria, Australia
October 28, 2012 6:55 am
While walking through the Fern Tree Gully reserve in Australia, we came across a strange bug. It looked like it was trying to burrow down into the soil.
There was a creek near by, so we also wondered if it was some kind of crab/lobster type bug that perhaps a bird had just picked up and dropped?
Never seen anything like it. Hopefully you can help identify!
Thanks a lot
Signature: Jason OConnor


Dear Jason,
This is a Crayfish, an aquatic, freshwater Crustacean that burrows into the mud and is able to survive periods of drought underground.  It appears that this Crayfish is missing its front claws, however, they are able to regenerate.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica:  “Lobsters and crayfish regenerate claws and legs in a straightforward manner as direct outgrowths from the stumps. As in other crustaceans, however, these regenerates lie immobile within an enveloping cuticle and do not become functional until their sheath is shed at the next molt.”

Subject: Hornet?
Location: Thailand, near Chiang Mai
October 27, 2012 9:43 pm
I saw this bug in Thailand. As I was taking its picture our taxi driver went running away in fear and told me NOT to mess with this bug. What is it?
Signature: M. Goldsmith

Unknown Wasp

Dear M. Goldsmith,
We have not had any luck identifying this amazing Wasp that might be a Hornet. We whish you had a view of the face.

Thank you for trying!  I wish I had a picture of the face too.
The cab driver ran away when he saw the bug, so I felt foolish
for taking the one picture that I did!  I ended up following him
running away!

Subject: what’s this bug?
Location: Northern Indiana
October 28, 2012 2:05 am
Hi & thanks for the great information you share.
I’ve looked up many wonderful creatures on your site and I finally have one to submit 🙂
This cool creature fell from a maple tree onto our deck in mid-August. It’s about the most exotic thing I’ve seen in Indiana so what can you tell me about it?
Again, thanks for the info. you share with the world.
Signature: ae

Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Hi ae,
Thank you for your complimentary email.  This very distinctive caterpillar is an Imperial Moth Caterpillar, one of the Giant Silkmoths in the family Saturniidae.

Subject: What kinda bug is this?
Location: Bakersfield, CA
October 27, 2012 8:15 pm
I found a bug, yellow, with a black and yellow striped abdomen, 6 legs, and about 1-1.5 inches long. i have a picture…red on the tips of its fore legs, black and yellow head.
Signature: Jerry

Potato Bug

Hi Jerry,
This is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket in the genus
Stenopelmatus, one of our most popular identification requests, especially from Southern California.  According to BugGuide:  “ lists 8 species of Stenopelmatus.  Capinera (1) states the genus needs revision, with 14 species currently described in the family, but more than 60 North American species likely–most presumably in this genus.”  We have never tried to distinguish the various species as they all tend to look so similar, and DNA analysis might be the only way for scientists to distinguish one species from another.  With that said, we have never seen a black headed Potato Bug.  We do not know if this represents a species, a subspecies or if it is just an individual variation in coloration.  At any rate, we find it to be quite unique.

Thanks for your help in identifying this bug. Is it poisonous?
I appreciate that you took the time to respond. Thanks a lot for your help.

Potato Bugs are not poisonous.

Subject: What is this Horned Thing?
Location: East of Charlotte, NC
October 27, 2012 6:38 pm
I was pruning our shrubs today and this thing got on the back of my fingers and stung/bit me. It really hurts! Took some Benadryl but am curious as to what this thing is and if I will live until morning! lol!
Signature: Not a Bug Fan

Saddleback Caterpillar

Dear Not a Bug Fan,
You were stung by a Saddleback Caterpillar,
Acharia stimulea, and you will live.  Read How to Treat a Caterpillar Sting on WikiHow.  We have never received a photo of the underside of a Saddleback Caterpillar before, Your example is a good illustration of the rationale for calling the family that the Saddleback Caterpillars belongs to, Limacodidae, the Slug Caterpillar Moth family.

Saddleback Caterpillar

Subject: Wingless wasp?
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
October 27, 2012 7:21 pm
I saw this insect working its way up a cedar tree outside the job. Thought it was an ant at first yet it appears to have some type of wing structure on its back. Not sure what it is. My guess would be a wingless wasp. It resembles a velvet ant minus the velvet. Feel free to post if you find this insect interesting.
Signature: Calvin

Broad Headed Bug

Dear Calvin,
This is an immature Broad Headed Bug which is believed to mimic the appearance of an Ant.  Ants are in the same insect order as Wasps, Hymenoptera.  Your confusion makes perfect sense.  Immature Broad Headed Bugs effectively mimic Ants.  Broad Headed Bugs are often called Ant Bugs.  Here is a photo from BugGuide of an immature Broad Headed Bug in the genus