Subject: Curious bug to be identified
January 9, 2014 2:42 am
My friend recently found this bug in his Drosophila culture bottle and we are curious in its identity and, perhaps, why is it doing in that bottle. Random chance or looking for food?
The body length of this bug is around 1mm. Got a few images with the microscope and it does look odd to us. Can’t even be sure if it is a Dipteran, as its hind wings are not completely absent (Image 3, though it may be a bit hard to see).
Looking forward to your reply. Thank you.
We hope you are content with a tentative identification to the Order level. We believe this is a Psocid in the order Psocodea, a group that includes Barklice, Booklice and Parasitic Lice. You can find many examples on BugGuide. We would eliminate the subgroup that includes the Parasitic Lice, but we cannot say for certain if this is a Booklouse or a Barklouse. According to BugGuide: “barklice are always found outdoors, and occupy a wide variety of habitats; booklice often live in homes” and “Barklice feed on lichens and fungi on tree bark, booklice are best known for feeding on the starch in book bindings.” Since there is probably starch in your friend’s Drosophila culture bottle, a Booklouse would be a likely candidate, however BugGuide does not picture any winged Booklice from the family Liposcelididae. Your photos are excellent and we are sure an expert will have no trouble providing a more specific identification, however our staff is not capable of that task. If pressed for a more focused identification, we would guess this might be a Tropical Barklouse in the family Amphientomidae, based again on photos posted to bugGuide. We do not believe your friend needs to worry about this Psocid infesting the culture, though it would be curious to know how this little guy ended up there in the first place.