From the monthly archives: "November 2012"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this turquoise and black bug we found??
Location: Sydney, Australia
November 27, 2012 5:51 pm
Hi there! My kiddos found this bug on their bedroom window this morning (28/11/2012 – spring) and because it’s one we’ve never seen before we wanted to know what it was! We’re also a homeschooling family so this is a great opportunity for us to do an impromptu unit study and learn more about the things in the world around us! However, we can’t really study an unidentified insect so we’re hoping you can help. The bug is around 2cm long, is black with turquoise-coloured markings and the front of it’s face is long like a snout with antennae on the end. We understand that you can’t answer everyone but we’re looking forward to your reply if possible. Thanks so much! Regards, Amanda Ramirez.
Signature: Ramirez family in Sydney Australia

Botany Bay Weevil

Hi Amanda,
This is a Botany Bay Weevil,
Chrysolopus spectabilis, and you might enjoy this posting from our archive (Unnecessary Carnage) that has a happy ending.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: white spotted spider beetle
Location: Nova Scotia
November 26, 2012 12:29 pm
I do not see this bug species on your site. I have a problem with it. It recently appeared from a void in the BR, under the vanity. Quickly becoming a pest I have to deal with. Crawling bugs are controlable but flying is a problem. Has been identified; sharing photos; hope they come thru. I have seen egg, partially developed, crawling and flying. Is not in my kitchen or food. Does not bite, but the flying ones burn like a no-see-um if they light on me. I do not know how it got here, must have come on store products. Could almost miss the flyers for fruit flies. How prevalent are they in Canada?
Signature: Bugged

Whitemarked Spider Beetles

Dear Bugged,
Since we did not know this species, we looked it up on BugGuide and believe you are speaking of the Whitemarked Spider Beetle,
Ptinus fur.  BugGuide indicates it was:  “introduced to NA before 1870.”  BugGuide reports sightings in Ontario and the United States across the border.  Thank you for adding to our archive of Household Pests.

Whitemarked Spider Beetles

Is that really a photo of the egg?

Whitemarked Spider Beetle Egg, we suppose.

These photos surprised me when I enlarged them as it looks like a spec on the sticky paper of the monitor box I photographed. It is certainly some stage of development. I thought it had started to change color on one end?  Have not seen any nests or fuzzy pupae they describe in some writing and the “fur” is not evident without magnification, they are very small to start.  Am certain these are the developing ones.  In the further monitoring I checked yesterday there is a fully developed winged one, looks much like a common small housefly, plus there is the first I have seen that shows the spotted body really well (female?).  I will try and get a decent photo of that box.  I got the ID through Orkin pest control who contacted their lead entomologist at their Quality Control.
“It is white marked spider beetle. There are differences between females and males looks. The white patch may not always be the same.”
The worst of this specific one for control is that it flies.  I am not sure how it arrived, but I did buy a new sisal cat scratch post from a pet store in Oct.. and it sat on the floor on the opposite side of the bathroom wall, BR being where they emerged.  I have no carpets.  They are not in the kitchen, BdR or living room except a rare crawling one killed early on.  But they have moved into the basement and I see very few in the BR now.
I was surprised to find that of the ones caught on paper first (in the pictures I sent) and placed in a ziplock bag, some still had faint life a week later.  They are extremely hardy.

Update from Carol January 3, 3013
Hi Daniel:  Sorry to be so long getting this done.  In 1271 note there is an egg in the 4 o’clock position.  It is quite round and black when the picture is enlarged and in Picasa3 which I use I tried to correct the blur and it just went quite black so I left it untouched.  Enlargement is not as clear as it should be but it is the camera.
Would like to say these beetles seem to go on to become some version of a small fly from what I can tell.  There is no evidence they came on the cat post I mentioned.  I believe myself they either came on clothes from the line stored under the cabinet or under the siding and followed the double beam across the house.  I did see ants going there during our very hot dry August and got them but this could be from the same area.  No other explanation comes to mind.
I have had pest control once a few weeks ago.  They are gone now from upstairs, but not gone entirely from the basement and PC will come again to redo.  I am hopefully optimistic they will be eradicated but it is a real problem as they are so minute and even microscopic as some of this I could not see until photographed… more that I ever wanted to know about them!
Beetles Identification Guide
Ptinus fur (Linnaeus)
whitemarked spider beetle
ptine bigarré
Diagnosis: The species is distinguished from the other Ptinus included here in
having 2 tufts of setae on the pronotal disc, with the surface between the tufts
dull, punctured, and granulated.
Sexual dimorphism: Males (Fig. 224) have the elytra subparallel-sided, the eyes
larger and more convex, the antennae longer (10th segment about five times as
long as wide), the tufts of setae on the pronotal disc less defined, and the
metasternum longer and convex. Females (Fig. 225) have the elytra subobovate,
the eyes smaller and less convex, the antennae shorter (10th segment about
twice as long as wide), the tufts of setae on the pronotal disc more defined, and
the metasternum shorter and flat.
Distribution: Reported from Europe, North Africa, Asia, New Zealand, and
North America, where it was introduced before 1870. In Canada the species has
been collected in all provinces.
Economic importance: In Canada, this species is found mainly in warehouses
and dwellings, less frequently in museums, granaries, and grain elevators. It is
one of the most commonly reported ptinids in British Columbia.
Ptinus ocellus Brown (synonym: P. tectus auct.)
Australian spider beetle
ptine ocellé
Fig. 224 Ptinus fur (Linnaeus); male. Scale = 0.5 mm.
Fig. 225 Ptinus fur (Linnaeus); female. Scale = 0.5 mm.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  November 30, 2012
If you are lucky enough to live in a warmer climate in North America, you may find Monarch Butterflies or Caterpillars in December.  Monarchs are most likely flying in South America and Central America right now.  This migratory species is one of the most loved of all butterflies and we hope you enjoy these marvelous images of very young Monarch Caterpillars from Hawthorne California that our loyal reader Anna has supplied for us.  Read more about Monarchs on the Nature Works website.  You might also think about planting milkweed in your garden to help support populations of Monarch Butterflies.

Subject: Daniel – Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars
Location: Hawthorne, California
November 26, 2012 4:16 pm
Just wanted to update you on the Monarch caterpillars in the back. They’re on to solid food now and it’s much easier to find/photograph them. Hopefully our warm weather holds, as I counted eight this morning in just a few minutes!
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Early Instar Monarch Caterpillar

Hi Anna,
What did they eat before the “solid food” which we suspect means the leaves of the Mexican milkweed you grow in your garden.  What do they eat after the egg shell.  In Elyria Canyon Park they seem to eat the flowers first and then move to the leaves of Indian Milkweed.  We love your continuing saga on Monarchs.  Have these Monarch hatchlings molted yet, meaning are they first or second instar?

Five or Six Day old Monarch Caterpillar

Hi Daniel,
They were piercing the seed pods (rather than eating them from the top down as they did last year when they were older), so I can only think that they must have been drinking liquid from the pod(?)  They did eat their egg shells.  I don’t notice them eating the flowers, though.  They went straight from the Mexican milkweed pods to the leaves themselves.  I haven’t yet noticed any molting, but will check later this morning.

November 28, 2012
I did notice today that they are sprouting antennae.  Hope this is helpful.

Growing Monarch Caterpillars

Thanks for all the additional information Anna.  We are continuing to update your posting.

Update:  November 29, 2012
Hi Daniel,
It’s a bit wet out this morning, so I did not get a chance to spend as much time out back as in previous days.  Today’s count is four, yesterday’s was 12.  I’ve been watching some videos of Monarch caterpillars molting at You Tube and also some time reading a bit about the different instars.  I think the caterpillars in the photo attached are second instar.  I’m no expert, and it is wet out there, but I think the one on the left may have just molted.  Their antennae are definitely longer today than yesterday when they were just little horns.  Waste not, want not, I’ve read that they eat their old skin.  I’ll check a little later on to see if that bit of junk just below the caterpillar on the left is gone.

Second Instar Monarch Caterpillars

Thanks Anna,
It is time to make this posting a feature.

Update:  November 30, 2012
Hi Daniel,
Here are today’s photos.  It is wonderful that we finally have some measurable rain, but, as a result, the little guys are hiding out further into the milkweed where I can’t find them.  Only counted five this morning.  Thanks very much for the honoring them with your “Bug of the Month” designation for December 2012!
I haven’t found any concrete evidence of their molting, but will keep looking!

Monarch Caterpillar

Read More


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of beetle did I photograph?
Location: Kinabalu Park, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
November 26, 2012 6:17 pm
Dear sir, I’m curious what kind of beetle I photographed during my trip to Malaysia. This picture was taken in Kinabalu Park, Sabah, Borneo. The phone over which the beetle walks has dimensions 119 x 60.4 x 14.2 mm (4.69 x 2.38 x 0.56 in), giving a clear image of the size of this beetle. Hope you can give me an answer 🙂
Signature: Regards,

Stag Beetle

This is some species of Stag Beetle.  We will try to do additional research to see if we can determine the species.

Thanks to a comment by Mardikavana, we know that this is a male Odontabilis species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Swordtail From Peru
Location: Aguas Calientes, Peru
November 26, 2012 3:53 pm
Hey there Bugman
I was soaking in the hot springs at Aguas Calientes, Peru, just outside of Machupicchu yesterday when we saw this gorgeous Swordtail drinking water left by wet footprints. He was very friendly! What kind of bug is a transparent winged butterfly?? I knew you’d have the answer!
Thanks again!!
Your friend, Julie
Signature: offthegridinperu

Swordtail Butterfly from Peru

Hi Julie,
This is our first posting since returning from a Thanksgiving holiday and we are already running late our first day back, so there might be some factual errors.  Your subject line indicates that you have already identified this Swordtail Butterfly, but the body of the email indicates you don’t know the identity.  This is a Swordtail Butterfly in the Metalmark family Riodinidae, and it looks very similar but not identical to this Swordtail we posted from Argentina several years ago.  We suspect it is in the same genus,
Chorinea, but that it may be a different species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of Insect is this?
Location: East Hampton, NY
November 18, 2012 7:20 pm
Took this in the garden in East Hampton, NY on Nov. 17, 2012. We have a big vegetable garden, and while harvesting some fall crops we encountered many of these. They were near the escarole. Never seen them before in 25 years of gardening. When you touch them it seemed like they would lay down and play dead. Also appeared as idvthey were mating. Very interested in knowing what they are…
Signature: Edward Del Gado

Oil Beetles

Hi Edward,
These are Oil Beetles, a type of Blister Beetle in the genus
Meloe.  Blister Beetles should be handled with caution as they produce a compound cantharidin that can cause blistering in human skin.  Your submission will go live in the next week as we are preparing postings on a daily basis in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Daniel… Thnaks so much for the response.  Why did they suddenly appear?  Do they come from underground?

Hi again Edward,
BugGuide has this nice description of the life cycle:  “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.”  Pupation is underground, so adults will emerge from underground when they complete metamorphosis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination