From the monthly archives: "May 2017"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big Spider
Location: North Central Florida
May 5, 2017 3:55 pm
I was at work and was unpacking a new air handler that had been sitting in a storage shed for a good 10 years. When I pulled the cardboard off the front, this spider was staring at me right in the face. My boss said it was a brown recluse but I’m not sure. I didn’t think they got that big.
Signature: Eric Villar

Huntsman Spider

Dear Eric,
This is most definitely NOT a Brown Recluse.  It is a female Huntsman Spider,
Heteropoda venatori, an introduced species that has naturalized in Florida and Texas.  They most likely were introduced with banana shipments from Central America many years ago, so they are called Banana Spiders.  This particular species of Huntsman Spider is harmless.  They are nocturnal hunters that do not build webs and they will help keep Cockroaches under control.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  According to BugGuide:  “Can be swift and sometimes aggressive but not considered dangerously venomous to humans. May bite in self-defense if roughly handled; mildly painful bite (can be likened to a bee sting if spider injects venom).

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this caterpillar and the hairy stuff around it?
Location: Sydney
May 4, 2017 10:59 pm
Hi! I live in Sydney, Australia and it’s currently autumn. I saw this caterpillar on my cumquat (calamondin) tree. Do you know what kind it is? What is that hairy structure around it? Is it the start of a cocoon?
Signature: Carey

Lichen Moth Cocoon, we believe

Dear Carey,
We found an exact match to your cocoon on FlickR, but alas, it is only identified as a “wingless moth cocoon.”  We actually found that image after finding several similar looking, but not exact images, beginning with Butterfly House where there are images of the caterpillar, caterpillar in its cocoon and pupa in the cocoon of Cyana meyricki, and this information is provided:  “The cocoon made by the caterpillar is quite remarkable. It is an open square mesh cage, constructed out of larval hairs held together with silk. The hairs are too short to construct the cage directly, so the caterpillar attaches pairs of hairs to each other end to end, and uses these pairs to make the sides of the cage. The pupa is suspended in the middle of the cage, equidistant from the sides. The caterpillar even manages to push its final larval skin outside the mesh cage while forming its pupa. When the moth emerges, it appears to exit the cage without damaging it.”  We found another image of the caterpillar in its cocoon on FLickRAustralia Museum provides the common name Lichen Moth and provides this information:  ” This lichen moth makes an elaborate open mesh cocoon using the shed hairs from the hairy caterpillar which are held together with silk. The pupa is suspended in the middle.”  Now we will present our opinion.  We believe this is a Lichen Moth Caterpillar in its cocoon, after losing its hairs and constructing the cocoon, but before the final molt to the pupa occurs, so you are seeing a pre-pupal caterpillar that doesn’t really exactly resemble either the caterpillar or pupal stage as it is in transition.

Update:  May 17, 2017
We just approved a comment that the Clouded Footman,
Anestia ombrophanes, is another possibility, and images on Butterfly House tend to support that possibility.  The site states:  “They form a pupa inside a sparse cocoon made of silk and larval hairs, attached to a fence, a tree, or a wall.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Australian Redback in Louisiana?
Location: Leesville, Louisiana
May 4, 2017 8:35 pm
I’ve found several of these spiders over the last two years. They have red markings on the back unlike black widows that have a red hour glass on the abdomen. I also noticed some white markings as well. Curious if this could be an Australian Redback???
This one was released back to the woods this evening. May the 4th be with him.
Signature: Thanks, Lee

Immature Black Widow

Dear Lee,
This is an immature female Black Widow Spider.  When she matures, she will lose the red and black markings on the upper surface of the abdomen.  She should still have the red hourglass marking on the ventral surface.  Your confusion regarding the Australian Redback Spider is understandable as they are in the same genus as the Black Widow.  P.S.  Is your town named for you?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider in Costa Rica
Location: Pozos de Santa Ana, Costa Rica
May 4, 2017 7:02 pm
This spider is about the size of my thumb, and wandering about in our garage like it does not have a care in the world, or it just had its third martini. We have tarantulas, but I have not seen one (yet) with a white strip on its abdomen.
Signature: Family Pura Vida

Trapdoor Spider

Dear Family Pura Vida,
This is definitely a member of the infraorder Mygalomorphae, the group that contains primitive spiders including Tarantulas and Trapdoor Spiders.  It seems small for a Tarantula, so we are guessing this is a male Trapdoor Spider out searching for a mate.  We have an image in our archive of a male Trapdoor Spider from North Carolina with similar markings.

Trapdoor Spider

Perfect!  That is the same answer we got from a local source. Hebestatis lanthanus to be exact. We are relocating “him” from our house to a nice forest dwelling (with nice ground cover) nearby. Thank you!!!

Thanks so much for providing a species name for us.  We are linking to both FlickR and Arachids My Species that have images of Hebestatis lanthanus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Trying to identify this for some kids
Location: Jamaica Plain MA.
May 4, 2017 2:39 pm
I found several of these in the dirt last week while fixing a path in my garden that is generally covered with burlap. I’m guessing they are some kind of egg case or early-stage larva, but have no idea what. I volunteer in a 2nd grade classroom. The kids are studying insects, and I’d love to take this in and tell them what it is.
Thank you for any assistance.
Signature: Ms. Deb

Moth Pupa

Dear Ms. Deb,
This is some species of Moth pupa.  Many moths pupate underground without forming a cocoon.  We are sorry we cannot be more specific.  Placing it in moist, not damp, soil in a terrarium should reward you students with the emergence soon of the adult moth.  We would love a follow-up report with an image of the adult.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination