From the monthly archives: "April 2014"

Subject: Ant mimicry?
Location: Case Grande, AZ
April 29, 2014 5:51 pm
My father’s cat was playing with a large bug yesterday night (4/28/14) that I have not been able to identify on the internet. He lives in Casa Grande, Arizona where there is a vast amount of desert. It is the tail end of Spring and currently 90 degree weather during the day and in the 60’s at night. He sent me this photo of the bug inside a medicine bottle but it isn’t all that clear. It appears to have four sets of legs which indicate that it is not an insect but likely an arachnid though not likely a scorpion since it is missing pinchers and a stinger. It also seems to have an abdomen, thorax and a head with antennae and what looks to be mandibles, which means that it is not a spider unless it is ant mimicry. As far as the whereabouts of this thing at the present time, my father dropped it off by a canal near his home because he does not like to kill things.
Signature: Erika H.



Hi Erika,
Despite its common name of Windscorpion, this Arachnid in the order Solifugae is considered harmless since it does not have venom.  Large specimens might deliver a painful bite if carelessly handled.  Because of your father’s kindness to the lower beasts, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.  Windscorpions are also called Sun Spiders.

Subject: what’s this bug
Location: 1 hr north of Houston TX
April 29, 2014 6:17 pm
I only got one pic of this bug before it flew away, so it can fly. It has a very unique marking on the top of the thorax, huge eyes. Looks like a digging or stabbing beak. Hairy legs. this bug is between 1 1/2 and 2 inches long.
Signature: I don’t know the answer

Robber Fly:  Laphria saffrana

Robber Fly: Laphria saffrana

And we are very happy you managed to get that one photo.  This is a Bee-Like Robber Fly, Laphria saffrana.  We identified this magnificent predator on BugGuide where it states:  “Bromley (1934) considered this species to be a mimic of the queen of the southern yellowjacket, Vespula squamosa.”  Laphria saffrana is also represented on iNaturalist.

Subject: Fluo from Rome
Location: Rome (Italy)
April 29, 2014 6:48 am
Hey bugman,
A friend of mine found this spider on a curb this morning in Rome.
I did some digging, and think it might be the Misumena Vatia. However, I am not sure. The pictures I was able to find online are not 100% identical to the spider in the picture.
Any idea?
Signature: Saverio



Hi Saverio,
This is most definitely not a Crab Spider.  It is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, possibly
Araniella cucurbitina, a green species found in the UK and parts of Europe and pictured on UK Safari.

Thanks Daniel. Very helpful

Subject: Bug in China
Location: Wuhan, Hubei, China
April 27, 2014 3:36 pm
During our visits with family in Wuhan China, we came across this interesting bug. We’ve tried to figure out what it is, but have had little luck identifying it. We saw it in April in Wuhan China, on some stairs, with foliage near by. We almost stepped on it, and it reared up with it’s pincers.
Just curious what it is, everyone in China just told us to stay a way, it’s not a good bug.
Please enlighten us if possible.
Signature: Kathryn



Dear Kathryn,
You have had an encounter with a Whipscorpion in the Arachnid order Uropygi, and while we hesitate to say it is perfectly harmless, you really don’t have too much to fear as they are generally shy, nocturnal hunters.  Unlike true Scorpions with venomous stings, Whipscorpions lack venom, however, they do have a rather unique means of defense.  According to an online article we found on SpringerLink, several genera from North America and East Asia:  “are known to use acetic acid and caprylic acid as a defense mechanism.”  This weak acetic acid, a component in vinegar, has led to the common name of Vinegaroon in North America.  Whipscorpions also have powerful mandibles, and they might bite if carelessly handled.

Subject: Carlos
Location: Costa Rica
April 29, 2014 6:10 pm
Este insecto no lo había visto antes y lo encontré en un pueblo llamado Zarcero de Costa Rica.
Signature: CarlosAS



Hola CarlosAS,
Este insecto es una CHICHARRA.  The Cicadas are very vocal insects, and they are considered among the loudest insects in the world.  According to the Book of Insect Records:  “The African cicada,
Brevisana brevis (Homoptera: Cicadidae) produces a calling song with a mean sound pressure level of 106.7 decibels at a distance of 50cm. Two species of North American cicadas, Tibicen walkeri Metcalf and T. resh (Haldman), produce an alarm call with a mean sound pressure level of 105.9 dB(50cm). Brevisana brevis is likely the loudest insect species on record. Cicada songs are species-specific and play a vital role in communication, reproduction, and possibly defense.”  We will attempt to identify your species of Cicada.

Subject: tiny bugs on outside walls of house
Location: Phoenix AZ
April 28, 2014 3:22 pm
we just noticed these buggers on our outside walls. they don’t appear to fly; when i touch the wall near one, it falls,. the photo is of a bougainvillea petal floating in our pool, with what (i think?) appears to be a queen! either that, or something wanting to eat them all. please help, so we know what to do, if you can. they are getting inside one window which doesn’t seal properly and a parakeet lives near that window! thank you!!
Signature: suzy

Possibly Immature Dirt Colored Seed Bugs and Syrphid Fly

Possibly Immature False Chinch Bugs and Frit Fly

Dear Suzy,
These immature Heteropterans look remarkably like some still unidentified, possibly Dirt Colored Seed Bugs we posted from Montana in 2012.  The Fly may be a Syrphid Fly, a family that has many species with larvae that feed on Aphids, members of the same insect order as your True Bugs.  We will try to get Eric Eaton’s opinion on this identification.

Eric Eaton Responds
Wow, immatures are really hard.  I suspect something in the “Lygaeoidea” like you do, but….Fly might be a Chloropidae [Ed. Note:  See BugGuide].  This whole image looks like something out of a sweep net sample through a grassland.

Ed. Note:  May 2, 2014
We posted some images of a very similar Heteropteran nymph that might be a False Chinch Bug,
Nysius raphanus, and the same is likely true for this posting.  According to Colorado State University Extension:  “Mass migrations of false chinch bugs in the vicinity of buildings are primarily associated with very hot, dry weather. This may force the insects to move from drying weed hosts to seek shelter and higher humidity. Migrations indoors may occur through openings and cause nuisance problems. However, false chinch bugs do not bite, do not feed nor damage anything indoors, and will ultimately die out if trapped inside.  Irrigated landscapes adjacent to buildings may further encourage false chinch bug migrations to these areas. Therefore it may be desirable to temporarily discontinue watering in the immediate vicinity of the building when a problem migration is in progress. Providing cool, humid areas at some distance may encourage the insects to move away more rapidly.”  According to BugGuide:  “3 (or more) species are introduced N. caledoniae, huttoni, vinitor” which supports our believe that this might be an invasive exotic species.