From the monthly archives: "June 2015"

Subject: Red legged purse web?
Location: Clarksville VA
June 14, 2015 7:22 pm
Is this a red legged purse web? Am from FL and have never seen one. (Saw last week) bLike a spider on steroids! He (she?) was crossing the street at a state park in clarksville, VA, so fast that i couldn’t get a clear video! Hubby moved it out of the road on a leaf and it stood still long enough for me to get this shot. Only the bottoms of the legs are red. And wouldja lookit those fangs!!!
Signature: Trisha

Atlantic Purseweb Spider

Atlantic Purseweb Spider

Dear Trisha,
The Red Legged Purseweb Spider,
 Sphodros rufipes, has bold red legs and a black body.  Your Atlantic Purseweb Spider, Sphodros atlanticus, which we identified on BugGuide, is a relative in the same genus.

Subject: Red and black striped beetle, High Atlas, Morocco
Location: High Atlas region, Morocco
June 11, 2015 2:33 am
Hello!
I’m a fan of your website, and I appreciate how you help people understand their insect friends.
I went hiking in the high Atlas region between Marrakech and Ouarzazat in Morocco and saw (among many wonderful bugs) these red and black striped beetles. They were hanging out at the tops of a specific type of plant, which I assumed they were doing hoping for a chance of mating(?) I haven’t been able to identify them myself. Unfortunately, the picture isn’t very clear (it was windy and rainy).
Signature: Thanks, Leanna

Blister Beetles

Blister Beetles

Dear Leanna,
Thanks for the compliment.  We have been on holiday, hence the delay in our response.  Though your image is extremely blurry, we thought these resembled Blister Beetles, and we found this image on FlickR of a similarly colored and marked Blister Beetle from Morocco identified as being in the genus
Mylabris.  A similarly colored individual from India, also on FlickR, is identified as Mylabris pustulata.  The posting provides this information:  “Blister beetles are beetles (Coleoptera) of the family Meloidae, so called for their defensive secretion of a blistering agent, cantharidin, a chemical that causes blistering on human skin. The black and red stripes on the beetle’s body warn predators that it is poisonous.”

Subject: Robber Fly?
Location: Watsonville, CA
June 11, 2015 2:33 am
Hey Bugman!
I have been finding large numbers of this mysterious (but beautiful) fly in my front yard… I’ve done a lot of internet research and cannot for the life of me figure it out… Is it a Robber Fly??? I have found them all of my Armenian Basket Flower and Artichoke… Please help! I need to know if it’s a pest or not.
Thanks,
Signature: Matt

Mating Artichoke Flies

Mating Artichoke Flies

Dear Matt,
These are most certainly not Robber Flies.  This is an introduced Artichoke Fly,
Terellia fuscicornis, a species of Fruit Fly.  Your images of a single individual are both females, as evidenced by the long ovipositor, and the image with the three flies include two males that are attempting to mate.  Interestingly, bugGuide only has images of female Artichoke Flies, and they do not provide a common name.  There are many nice images on the Natural History of Orange County site.  As an introduced species, they may pose a threat to cultivated artichokes, but we have also found information that they use Milk Thistle, an introduced pest weed in California, as a host so the jury is still out if they are an agricultural pest or a biological control agent.

Artichoke Fly

Female Artichoke Fly

August 5, 2015
Hey Daniel,
Sorry for the delayed response – I saw and read this e-mail and had to do something else. I forgot to write you back to thank you, but I really was so impressed with your knowledge and how thorough your response was! Thank you so much – very informative. I really appreciate it.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks again,
Matt

Female Artichoke Fly

Female Artichoke Fly

Subject: Some sort of louse fly?
Location: Burntwood, England
June 12, 2015 3:32 am
I recently found to of these bugs in my flat. I thought they were spiders at first as they crawled around like them, but then I noticed they had small wings and only 6 legs. However, they will not fly at all so I’m guessing the wings are useless for them.
I’ve tried looking up what they are but all I could gather is that they are some sort of louse fly.
Would you be able to tell me exactly what they are? Maybe what their hosts are so I can prevent them from getting into my home?
I live in the West Midlands, the nearest woods/forest is Cannock Chase which is about 1 mile away from me.
It is rather warm at the moment, going into summer.
The photo is the best I could get of it as it kept scuttling around. It is of brown colour and measured about 1cm long (leg to leg).
Signature: Natalie

Louse Fly

Louse Fly

Hi Natalie,
You are correct that this is a Louse Fly in the family Hippoboscidae.  The fact that you are not near woods would not be limitation to the presence of Louse Flies, though we generally think of them as being blood sucking parasites that feed on the blood of deer, sheep or other large animals.  According to BugGuide, they feed on the “blood of birds/mammals” which means they might have a flying host in your home and BugGuide also notes the common name Bird Ticks for Louse Flies.  Pigeons would be a likely host bird, so you might have encountered Pigeon Louse Flies,
Pseudolychia canariensis, that are profiled on Featured Creatures where it states:  “This fly is an obligate parasite of birds, especially feral and domestic pigeons and doves (Columbiformes). It is found wherever pigeons are encountered in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas with mild winters worldwide.”  Additional information on Featured Creatures regarding the life cycle of the Pigeon Louse Fly states:  “Louse flies have a very interesting reproductive strategy. The female produces one larva at a time and retains the developing larva in her body until it is ready to pupate. The larva feeds on the secretions of a “milk gland” in the uterus of its mother. After three larval instars, the larva has reached its maximum size, the mother gives birth to the white pre-pupa which immediately begins to darken and form the puparium or pupal shell. The pupa of the pigeon louse fly looks like a dark brown, egg-shaped seed. The pupa is found in the nest of the host or on ledges where the birds roost. When the fly has completed its metamorphosis, the winged adult emerges from the puparium and flies in search of a host.”

Subject: New moth?
Location: Clearwater British Columbia, Canada
June 11, 2015 10:01 am
Hi! I found this guy flailing around outside. I am in clearwater bc and its June… He looks like he is a moth that just came out of a cocoon as his wings are all scunched up. His bum is really heavy and really struggles to move… Keeps flipping over. He’s under observation for now. Pretty beautiful lil guys! Thanks!
Signature: Hilary

Elegant Sheep Moth

Elegant Sheep Moth

Dear Hilary,
You are correct that this Elegant Sheep Moth just emerged from its cocoon.  The Elegant Sheep Moth is found in Western North America, and by the time you are receiving this reply (we were on holiday) it should have expanded its wings and flown off.  It is also dead by now because it and other members of its family Saturniidae, the Giant Silk Moths, do not feed as adults and they only live long enough to mate and reproduce.
  We are guessing that Clearwater is at a high elevation as that is where Elegant Sheep Moths are found.

Elegant Sheep Moth

Elegant Sheep Moth

Wow! Thank you! Quite the name! Bugs are the best! FYI Clearwater isn’t very high elevation…. I’d guess 500m above sea level, however there are mountains and glaciers close by and some pretty impressive winds.
Thanks again!
Hilary

Subject: What’s this flying bug?
Location: Wales
June 11, 2015 8:26 am
This flew into my house the other day and I’m stumped at what it is. It looks like a wasp/mosquito flying thing.
Signature: Inglebee

Crane Fly

Crane Fly

Dear Inglebee,
We believe we have correctly identified your Crane Fly as
Nephrotoma crocata, thanks to an image on the Alamy stock photo site, an identification we then verified on both Diptera Info and iSpot using the Natural History Museum’s UK Species Inventory.  Crane Flies are harmless and they do not sting.