From the daily archives: "Wednesday, December 18, 2013"

Subject: What kind?
Location: Mexico, Quintana Roo, Yucatán península
December 16, 2013 8:25 pm
Hi,
I found these in Mexico – in Quintana Roo on top of a 40 m pyramid and I would like to know what they are, as their colours are incredible.
Signature: jana

Immature Giant Mesquite Bugs

Immature Giant Mesquite Bugs

Hi jana,
These colorful guys are immature Giant Mesquite Bugs in the genus
Thasus.  We have only one species north of the Mexican border, but Mexico and Central America are hosts to several other species in the genus.

Hi,
thank you very much for letting me know.
Jana

Subject: Bugs
Location: Melbourne, Australia
December 18, 2013 3:58 am
Hey bugman,
These bugs seem to come out in force every year in our house around this time of the year or when it is hot. They seem to be attracted to light but they tend to fly towards them. Would you happen to know what these are?
Signature: Jeremy

Termite Alate

Termite Alate

Hi Jeremy,
This sure looks to us like a Termite Alate, a member of the winged reproductive caste.  When conditions are right, Termite Alates, the future queens and kings of new colonies, will swarm, mate and establish new nests.

Subject: Bali, Indo what’s that spider?
Location: Ubud Bali, Indonesia
December 17, 2013 5:55 pm
My wife and I are on honeymoon in Alam Ubud on Bali, this guy was close to our room. What is it?
Signature: Bali explorers

Orbweaver

Orbweaver

Dear Bali Explorers,
This is a harmless female Orbweaver and we believe she is in the genus
Argiope.

Subject: Spider ID
Location: (North) Eagle Rock
December 17, 2013 3:41 pm
Dear Bugman,
First of all, I can’t tell you enough how pleased I was to come across your site, and even more so to learn that you’re a local Angeleno!!
Can you help me identify this spider?? My first thought was a juvenile tarantula, but I’m now leaning toward a Crevice Weaver upon further research. I have lived in this area (Pasadena/Eagle Rock) my whole life and have never seen a spider this impressive. See the attached photo.
Signature: Dr. Jones

Male California Trapdoor Spider

Male California Trapdoor Spider

Good Morning Dr. Jones,
Greetings from Northeast Los Angeles, the best part of our city.  Your first thought was actually a bit closer taxonomically, as this is a male California Trapdoor Spider,
Bothriocyrtum californicum.  Trapdoor Spiders are classified with Tarantulas and other primitive spiders as Mygalomorphs.  Due to habitat destruction, California Trapdoor Spiders are not as common as they once were in the Los Angeles basin.  They tend to live on sunny, south facing slopes, and much of the land in northeast Los Angeles that fits that description was built on over various construction booms in the past century.  You are lucky to have much open space in Eagle Rock along the 134 freeway, and we expect there is a healthy population of California Trapdoor Spiders in them there hills.  Sexually dimorphic Female California Trapdoor Spiders are long lived and rarely encountered as they do not leave their burrows unless forcibly evicted.  Males wander in search of mates, and they are frequently encountered after the winter rains begin.  Sadly, many male California Trapdoor Spiders fall into swimming pools and drown.  BugGuide does provide this interesting bit of trivia:  “According to Guinness World Records, as of 2009, this is the strongest spider. It has been able to resist a force 38 times its own weight when defending its trapdoor. This equates to a man trying to hold a door closed while it is being pulled on the other side by a small jet plane!(1) Unfortunately, the Guinness book doesn’t mention if it’s the strongest North American spider or if it’s the strongest in the world. Also, one thing to think about is whether or not every spider’s strength has been measured. I guess one can safely say that the information is flawed in that aspect, but it still asserts the fact that these spiders ARE very strong.”

Subject: Southern House Spider?
Location: Richmond, VA
December 17, 2013 10:22 pm
I found this little friend behind my couch while looking for something. She appears to be a southern house spider.
What are they like — temperament, environment, bite, etc?
I have her in a jar. I might find a more semi-permanent solution for her later (a container I used to house a baby terrestrial tarantula who outgrew it). I don’t want her to go back to her home behind my couch (I found her webs as well as evidence of past feasts she made of escaped tarantula food — I think we’ve been “roomies” for some time, and I’ve found young males inside before as well) because I don’t want her to get squished or for her to end up in a situation where she might feel the need to bite — or to get eaten by my dog. However I don’t want to throw her outside because it’s very cold right now (I realize she is a native wild animal, but I don’t know what her species does to combat the cold, if anything special — I don’t want to just throw her out into the cold unprepared). I was thinking I could feed her for a few months and release her in an abandoned barn on a local plantation this spring.
Can you give me any general information on these guys, and confirm that she is what I think she is? Thanks!
Signature: Denise Elliott

Female Southern House Spider

Female Southern House Spider

Hi Denise,
We concur with your identification of this female Southern House Spider which looks exactly like this individual posted to BugGuide.  There is not much information on the Southern House Spider on the BugGuide info page, except for this comment: “Females are frequently mistaken for small tarantulas or trapdoor spiders. Males are often mistaken for recluse spiders (Loxosceles). This is a totally harmless species that builds “messy” webs emanating from crevices, often on the outside of homes.”  So, she is totally harmless, but that does discount that a large individual might bite if carelessly handled.  We will turn elsewhere to seek additional information.  According to Featured Creatures:  “Females may live up to eight years” which means you might want to entertain the idea of keeping her as a pet as long as you have tarantula rearing experience.  While Spiders.us does not have any information on the bite, there is a photo of a large female being held.  Some of the best firsthand information we found is on a BugGuide posting by Mamata Polle who writes:  “These make suprisingly good house guests if you can tolerate their highly effective, (Though not very pretty,) web making style. Females tend to stay put until either they grow out of their retreat, they are starving to death, or their web is destroyed. For the past 13 years I’ve been living with this type of spider and have never been bitten by one, they are docile and very good at snaring flies, roaches and other household invaders. Usually when I see their webs I just leave them be, but one of our cats has recently decided he likes to eat spider webs… (Weird huh,) and that is how I ended up with Kholi, (Pictured above.) She was wandering around looking to rebuild her web where it had been, (And said cat would have come back to eat it again!) so I decided to capture and provide a home for her. She produces webbing as needed and without hesitation, which is good because she won’t eat without it! Southern House Spiders totally depend on their webs to catch food; their eyesight is poor, so they seem to, “Feel” their prey when it gets stuck and squirms, then they pounce. It is VERY dificult to get them to eat from a pair of tweezers, one must be very… patient. However they will take water very easily when they’re dehydrated, even off your finger. The first time I had one do this I thought it was biting me, but it wasn’t, it was just sucking the water out of my damp hands, which didn’t hurt. One of the best ways to distiguish this species other than their general appearence is the very fine silver hair they possess, which is most visible at the joints.  BTW: They will sometimes very convincingly play dead when threatened…:P And if they don’t mate, they can live an incredibly long time. (I have been watching one adult female for three years!)  Be Well, God Bless and Thanks for Reading. :)”
Regardless if decide to keep her as a pet or to release her back into a plantation barn in the spring, because of your sensitivity regarding the welfare of this female Southern House Spider, we are tagging your posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Subject: is this some kind of wasp?
Location: victoria bc
December 17, 2013 9:05 pm
Hi, I’ve seen this bug crawling on the window of the house, all I know that it fly’s, it walks slowly, and it smells rather old when you step on it (probably a defense mechanism). it look like an assassin bug but those live way the heck it the amazon. What is it? it look like halfway between spider and a wasp.
Signature: yes

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Western Conifer Seed Bug

This is a Western Conifer Seed Bug, and it is a Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the family Coreidae, not an Assassin Bug in the family Reduviidae.   The Western Conifer Seed Bug is a native species for you in British Columbia.  The range for the Western Conifer Seed Bug expanded significantly in the 1960s, and it is now found across much of the northern portion of North America.  The travel patterns of human most likely played a role in the range expansion, and in the early years of the 21st millennium, the Western Conifer Seed Bug was reported in northern Europe where it is now established.  This species has a habit of entering homes to hibernate when the weather cools, and that habit likely played a part in the range expansion with stowaways in suitcases.  The best way to avoid the smell produced when stepping on Western Conifer Seed Bugs is not to step on them.  We would also like to clarify your erroneous assumption that Assassin Bugs are only found in the Amazon.  There are different species in the Assassin Bug family found all over the world.