From the monthly archives: "March 2017"

Subject: Tiny praying mantis?
Location: Gilroy, CA, Watsonville Road near Uvas Creek: 37.02912ºN, -121.65475ºW
March 1, 2017 2:07 am
My grandson and I found this tiny bug dragging a moth across the screen of my tent. Although it looked like a praying mantis, it was so tiny that I wondered if it really was one. Could it be an instar? I I remember instars from Entomology at Cal Poly, but I couldn’t tell if it had wings. I released it after the photo shoot, but, alas, the moth was dead.
My grandson and I caught it October 3, 2010 around 5 pm and I have always wondered about it. I just ran across the pictures about the same time I received notification that there was a new comment about the Pacific Green Sphinx I submitted 1/17/2015, which reminded me to get in gear and find out about my tiny friend.
Signature: Bob

Thread Legged Bug eats Moth

Dear Bob,
This is actually an Assassin Bug in the subfamily Emesinae, a group known as Thread Legged Bugs.  The moth appears to be a Geometer.  We are happy to hear the notice you received on the Pacific Green Sphinx triggered this new submission.

Thread Legged Bug

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your super fast reply.  Wow!  An Assassin Bug?  I would not have ever guessed that!  The way it held its front legs made it look like a praying mantis to me, but I knew something was amiss because the rest of it looked more like a walking stick.
Thanks again.

Subject: Can anyone identify this beetle?
Location: Tampa/Lutz
March 1, 2017 7:41 am
If you know the common name and species name of this beetle please let me know! Photo taken in the Tampa/Lutz area in Florida
Signature: Francis Pinciotti at Learning Gate Community School

Diaprepes Root Weevil

Dear Francis,
This is a Diaprepes Root Weevil,
Diaprepes abbreviatus, a species “Native to the Caribbean, adventive and established in so. US: so. & central FL (1964), so. TX (Cameron & Hidalgo Cos 2000, Corpus Christi 2005, Houston 2009; map), so. CA (2005), LA (2008); further north in greenhouses” according to BugGuide, which also notes “color highly variable (from gray to yellow to orange to black).”  The Diaprepes Root Weevil is a significant agricultural pest, and according to BugGuide:  “Major pest of citrus crops: larvae often girdle the taproot, which may kill the plant and provide an avenue for Phythophora infections. A single larva can kill young hosts while several larvae can cause serious decline of older, established hosts.”  According to Featured Creatures:  “Diaprepes abbreviatus has a wide host range, attacking about 270 different plants including citrus, sugarcane, vegetables, potatoes, strawberries, woody field-grown ornamentals, sweet potatoes, papaya, guava, mahogany, containerized ornamentals, and non-cultivated wild plants.”  Since it is the first of the month, we will be featuring your submission as the Bug of the Month for March, 2017.

Diaprepes Root Weevil

I greatly appreciate your response and am honored that this photo will be the feature of the month! We’ll be sending more photos to share from Learning Gate Community School.


Subject: Large Weevil from Madagascar
Location: Ifaty Spiny Forest, Madagascar
February 27, 2017 10:53 pm
Here’s a photo of a large (>1″) weevil. Any ideas as to species?
Signature: R Lockett


Dear R Lockett,
Like you, we have not had much luck finding out a species name, and the closest visual match we found in our brief web search was this FlickR image of a much darker colored, unidentified Weevil from Madagascar, however, the markings on the legs do look quite similar, which causes us to speculate that perhaps this is a species that shows much variability in its markings.

Update from Cesar Crash who identified Rhytidophloeus rothschildi
Cesar provided us with a link to FlickR that identifies Rhytidophloeus rothschildi.