From the monthly archives: "March 2015"

Subject: Star Trek brain eater
Location: Mississippi River, central Louisiana
March 28, 2015 5:14 pm
Don’t go near the water! Found this thing in the Bayou of central Louisiana at the end of March. My research has turned up some similar creepy crawlies but nothing quite the same. What is it?
Signature: Boatswain

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler

Giant Water Scavenger Beetle Larva and Mosquito Tumbler

Dear Boatswain,
We absolutely love your colorful description of what we originally thought was a Water Tiger, the aquatic larva of a Predaceous Diving Beetle in the family Dytiscidae, but once we searched BugGuide and compared your individual to images of larvae of Giant Water Scavenger Beetles in the family Hydrophilidae, we determined that was the correct identification for your creature.  According to BugGuide contributor Andrew Tluczek:  “I have a masters in Entomology and have worked with aquatic insects. It is a Hydrophilidae. The mandibles have ‘teeth’ which Dytiscidae larvae do not have.”  Your individual has “teeth” on the mandibles, and other research turned up additional physical similarities.
  According to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Field Station site:  “WSB [Water Scavenger Beetles] larvae are described as ‘sluggish’ and are found crawling on the pond floor or climbing on underwater vegetation. The larvae is a ‘couch-potato’ version of the sleek PDB [Predaceous Diving Beetle] larvae/ water tigers (pictured) (they sometimes share the ‘water tiger’ moniker). WSB larvae often have paired, gill-like structures protruding from the sides of their abdomens. Their feeding category is ‘engulfer-predator;’ they use their hollow jaws to suck out the juices of their prey. Their food-list includes their brethren; they love mosquito larvae but will go after mini-fish and so are an unwelcome addition to a koi pond. Larvae back their abdomen up to the water’s surface and take in air through spiracles (pores) at its tip. They spend a month underwater as larvae and about 12 days pupating in a cell in moist soil.”  That information thrilled us as we can now safely use the term Water Tiger to describe the larvae of aquatic beetles in both families.  According to Bugwood:  “Larvae, which occur in water, have an elongate body and large dark head with prominent curved jaws. Elongated spiracles through which they acquire oxygen arise from the end of the abdomen. … The immature stage is a predator, working by ambush to lie in wait, seizing and crushing prey that comes within reach. Most of their diet is made up of small insects and other aquatic invertebrates. However, their jaws are quite powerful allowing them to consume snails whole as well as catch large prey such as tadpoles and small fish.”  A Mosquito Tumbler, the pupa of a Mosquito, is visible in two of your images.  We have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for April 2015.

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler (front and center)

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler (front and center)

Water Tiger

Giant Water Scavenger Beetle Larva

Subject: Spider
Location: Mesa, AZ
March 28, 2015 12:09 am
Hello,
I found this spider in my apartment in AZ. Not sure what it is since I grew up in IL and don’t think I’ve seen this kind before. Any help would be appreciated! 🙂
Signature: Brittany

Possibly Spitting Spider

Possibly Spitting Spider

Dear Brittany,
We believe we have correctly identified your Spider, and if our identification is correct, this will represent a new category on our site.  This looks like a Spitting Spider in the family Scytodidae which we found on BugGuide, and where it states:  “Spitting spiders have 6 eyes and are slow moving. They are usually fairly easy to identify by their large round cephalothorax and their long, thin legs.”

Spitting Spider, we believe

Spitting Spider, we believe

Subject: SE Oregon in March
Location: Near Malheur Basin in Burns, OR
March 27, 2015 10:10 am
Found this crawling across a parking lot in Burns, OR. Looks almost cockroach-like, but doesn’t have antennae.
Signature: Visiting in Burns

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Visiting in Burns,
This is a Giant Water Bug or Toe-Biter, an aquatic predator that can also fly from pond to pond in search of prey.
  The Giant Water Bug was our featured Bug of the Month in June 2008.

Subject: Help me identify this thing
Location: Los Angeles
March 27, 2015 3:28 pm
This lil creatures keep flying around my room I don’t know what they are is it possible you can identify it and let me know what I’m dealing with I’m attaching a pic
Signature: Help me

Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth

This is an Indian Meal Moth, a common, cosmopolitan household pest that has larvae that infest stored grain products.  Check the pantry for an old box of corn meal or oatmeal, or check for that bargain bag of pet food or bird seed.

Subject: Which fly?
Location: Pune, India
March 27, 2015 9:39 pm
Hello,
I came across this fly on the bark of a Mahogany tree.
It’s got a single pair of wings and measures about 2cms or so.
Any clues much appreciated.
Thanks & Regards,
Signature: Rahul

Unknown Fly from India

Unknown Fly from India

Dear Rahul,
We do not recognize your colorful Fly, but we will post the image in the hope that one of our readers will be able to assist in the identification.

Thanks for trying Daniel!
Cheers,
Rahul

Subject: On our burr oak, in Texas.
Location: Arlington, TX
March 27, 2015 10:49 pm
Hi,
My partner asked me to grab a picture of this and see if I could help him identify it. He’s been seeing these on our burr oak, here in North Texas, since the leaves started budding this week. He’s says there are “lots” of them. He seems to think they have been laying eggs, but I haven’t seen what they have been up to to confirm this impression (and, obviously, he’s not really a Bug Guy).
For the record, it is late March, and the weather has been warming up here for a couple of weeks. (it’s up to the 70’s and low 80’s this coming week, already.)
I have included both the closer detail crop, adjusted for clarity, and the wider shot for some idea of size. They are small, probably… a half-inch? Maybe? Those are very early leaf buds at the end of an almost twig-like branch that this one is sitting on. (Sorry it is not more clear, it was already evening when he asked me to take the photo.)
Thanks! I hope you can help us out!
Signature: Kelly in Texas

Sawfly, we believe

Sawfly

Dear Kelly,
We believe this is a Sawfly, a non-stinging relative of wasps and bees.  The theory that it might be laying eggs is valid.  The larvae of Sawflies are often confused for caterpillars, and if they are numerous, they can defoliate some plants.  We are going to continue to research this request and we are also going to try to get an opinion from Eric Eaton.
  The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center website mentions “oak leafmining sawfly (Profenusa lucifex)” as an insect that feeds on Burr Oak, and though we could not find the species pictured on BugGuide, members of the genus look similar.

Eric Eaton confirms Sawfly and provides possible species identification
Yes, definitely a sawfly, perhaps Pristiphora chlorea.
Do you know how to do an “advanced search” in Bugguide?  That is often how I come up with answers for you.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the challenge of finding you an answer! 🙂
Eric