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

Subject: Slow-moving, clawed, & bug-eyed
Location: Nanaimo, B.C., Canada
May 26, 2017 9:43 pm
I saw this slow-moving insect on a sunny, dry, mossy hillside, crawling very slowly. It was about 1 inch long. It had a large claw on each foreleg, and a thin shaft attached to the underside of its head. I wonder what that shaft is for? It also appeared to have two pairs of wing buds. The head reminded me of a dragonfly larva, and the abdomen, a wasp. I have more photos if you like. What kind of critter is this very interesting specimen? Thanks a lot!
Signature: John Segal

Cicada Nymph

Dear John,
This is a very exciting posting for us.  This is a Cicada Nymph, and because immature Cicadas spend their entire lives underground, we rarely receive images of them, though we do receive many images of the exuvia of Cicadas, the cast off exoskeletons left behind when the nymph digs to the surface and molts for the last time, flying off as a winged adult.  Based on comments on this BugGuide posting, including “At this time of the year, in the Pacific Northwest, about the only thing it ‘could’ be is a species of
Platypedia” by Eric Eaton in late April 2009 and “we have only one species in that genus in Victoria. Platypedia areolata” by James Miskelly.  According to BugGuide, this species is called a Salmonfly.  BugGuide data lists sightings from April through June in British Columbia.  According to Backyard Nature where it is called an Orchard Cicada:  “Its small size of about 25 mm (a little less than an inch), its long-hairy body and the chestnut-colored, spiny-bottomed section of its forelegs distinguish it from other cicadas I’ve seen. Bea in Ontario, who helps with my insect IDs because of my slow modem connection here, thinks it’s probably PLATYPEDIA AREOLATA, and I suspect she’s correct, for I find that species described as ‘the Orchard Cicada, the common cicada of the Pacific Northwest Region.'”

Cicada Nymph

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for quickly identifying this cicada nymph for me.  It’s exciting to know that my sighting is quite rare, which is a reminder to this senior citizen that there is always something new to see in this world.
Now that I know what it is, I can do some reading about this species, and try to learn more about it.  I would be especially interested in learning how close my specimen is to developing wings, and how long it might live from this point onwards.  I’m also curious about the function of that slender shaft underneath its head or thorax.
Hi John,
We are happy our response excited you.  Our mission is to provide information for the web browsing public in order to foster a greater appreciation of the lower beasts.  Since this individual has dug to the surface, we suspect final molt might have already occurred.  The proboscis is used to pierce the roots of plants upon which the nymph has been feeding underground.  The mouths of Hemipterans are designed to pierce and suck fluids.

Cicada Nymph

Hi Daniel,
I have always appreciated the “lower beasts”, so I appreciate the great service you do on their behalf.  Thank you very much for explaining about this insect’s proboscis, and also its molt timing.  It’s fascinating to learn how different animals live their lives, isn’t it?
I know the sound of adult cicadas, so if I hear one in the area where I saw this specimen, it will mean much more to me now, as I wonder if it’s “my” cicada!
Thanks again,
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Scorpion type insect
Location: London
May 27, 2017 5:04 am
Hi good afternoon I have found what looks like a scorpion type insect in my back garden I am located in Hayes Middlesex London I would really appreciated if someone could identify what type it is as I have very young kids the youngest being four months old and feel a little bit nervous. I hope you can help thank you
Signature: Stephen

Stag Beetle Carnage

Dear Stephen,
We are very disturbed by your image of a very dead male Stag Beetle,
Lucanus cervus, because indications are that it was alive when you found it.  Stag Beetles are perfectly harmless as they have neither venom nor poison, and the large mandibles of the males are not used for biting people, but rather to fight among themselves when competing for a mate.  This is considered an endangered species throughout much of Europe.  According to The Wildlife Trusts:  “Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.”  The Wildlife Trusts also states:  “The Stag Beetle is the UK’s largest beetle and is found in south-east England, particularly in south and west London. It prefers oak woodlands, but can be found in gardens, hedgerows and parks. The larvae depend on old trees and rotting wood to live in and feed on, and can take up to six years to develop before they pupate and turn into adults. The adults have a much shorter lifespan: they emerge in May with the sole purpose of mating, and die in August once the eggs have been laid in a suitable piece of decaying wood. Look for the adults on balmy summer evenings, when the males fly in search of mates. Once the male has found a mate, he displays his famously massive, antler-like jaws to her, and uses them to fight off rival males, in a similar fashion to deer.”  According to People’s Trust for Endangered Species:  “Spectacular stag beetles are one of our largest beetles. Sadly their numbers are declining across Europe and they are now extinct in some countries. In the southern parts of the UK they are doing much better but they still need our help.”  According to UK Safari:  “Stag Beetles are the largest beetles found in the U.K. and they’re now quite rare.  The decline of our Stag Beetles is mainly as a result of habitat loss.  Some are killed by cars on roads, and since they spend such a long time in the larval stage they are also vulnerable to predation.”  According to BBC:  “One of the UK’s most iconic insects is under threat and becoming increasingly rare to find, and that’s a real shame.”  We hope the next time you encounter an unknown creature, you resist the urge to kill it because there are really very few animals in London that pose any threat to humans, and that you make an attempt to identify it before taking such an irreversible action.  We hope you teach your children to appreciate the wonders of the natural world and not to fear them.  Our mission from our inception has been to provide information to the web browsing public so that they have a better appreciation of the lower beasts.  Alas, we have no choice but to tag this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

Thank you very much for your email it was my four-year-old son whom found it in the garden  lying upside down in that position and was already dead,  but thank you for your advice.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: crane fly or ichneumon wasp or something else entirely?
Location: Dover, PA
May 27, 2017 5:25 am
Hi – a friend of mine asked me what this is. He said it was ‘bigger than a normal wasp’. Thank you !!!
Signature: Sue

Stump Stabber

Dear Sue,
This is indeed a Giant Ichneumon, probably
Megarhyssa macrurus, and Giant Ichneumons are frequently called Stump Stabbers because the female uses her very long ovipositor to lay eggs in dead and dying wood that is infested with wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntail, a species upon which the Stump Stabbers prey.

Thank you so much !

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of bug is this
Location: MIchigian
May 26, 2017 7:36 am
I would just like to know what kind of bug this is?!
Signature: Catie

Mating Crane Flies

Dear Catie,
These are mating Crane Flies, and in some locations they are called Mosquito Hawks or Skeeter Hawks because people mistakenly believe they eat Mosquitoes.  Crane Flies are harmless.  They neither sting nor bite.  According to Texas A&M City Bugs:  “Crane flies are among the gentlest of insects. Some are nectar feeders, sipping sweet sugars from plants and possibly helping out a little with pollination in the process. Other species lack mouth parts entirely. Instead, the adults live out their short lives relying on fat reserves built up during their underground larval stage.”  The site also states:  “Enjoy crane flies while they last.  And keep in mind that as adults, these flies only have love on their tiny minds.  The sole purpose of the adult crane fly is to mate and, for the females, to lay eggs for next spring’s crop of flies.  Crane flies are harmless to handle, so the next time one makes its way indoors, simply cup it gently to release outdoors.  Think of it as a romantic gesture.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cicadas
Location: Columbus, OH
May 26, 2017 12:23 pm
So the cicadas have arrived, guess that means its officially summer. I’m including a pic of an adult and the shell of a nymph (?) it came from (maybe, I think, Lol). Don’t know which kind of cicadas this is (how many years it spent under ground), but its out in Columbus, OH now.
Signature: Amber

Periodical Cicada: Brood X Straggler

Dear Amber,
This is a Periodical Cicada, and in your area, Periodical Cicadas normally remain underground for 17 years, leading to the common name 17 Year Locust, though Cicadas and Locusts are not related.  2017 is the year Brood VI Periodical Cicadas are due to emerge in Georgia and the Carolinas according to Cicada Mania.  For some reason, this year is also producing Brood X Stragglers and according to Cicada Mania:  “Brood X stragglers have emerged in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, & New Jersey (around Princeton)! They are chorusing in many locations.”  Cicada Mania also includes this fascinating information:  “Note: because of the significant number of cicadas emerging ahead of time, this might be an acceleration event. Periodical cicada accelerations occur when a significant group of an established brood emerge in years ahead of the main brood, and sometimes the accelerated group are able to reproduce and create what is essentially a new brood. Brood VI was likely part of Brood X at one point of time1. We’ll have to see if the Brood X stragglers are able to survive predation, and reproduce in significant numbers to sustain future populations. They are certainly trying.”  The exuvia or cast off exoskeleton of the nymph is a nice addition to your submission.

Exuvia of a Periodical Cicada

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Pleasant Surprise!
Location: West Losangeles
May 26, 2017 11:41 am
Hi Bugman,
I’ve been planting fennel for years to attract anise swallowtail butterflies with sporadic success. Can’t tell you how surprised I was to see a parsley plant covered with caterpillars. I counted 14, but there are probably more. Did a bit of research and learned the plants the larvae eat are in the carrot family, so, I guess parsley is in the carrot family?
One thing I didn’t like about fennel is the caterpillars are exposed and easily seen by predators. With parsley, at least when they are small, the caterpillars are hidden by leaves.
Thx, Jeff
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars

Congratulations Jeff,
We are concerned that 14 caterpillars will soon defoliate your parsley plant and that without any food, the Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars will starve before reaching maturity.  You might want to consider buying a few more parsley plants to help ensure survival.  We occasionally find Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars munching on carrots and parsley in our own garden.

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars

Hi Daniel,
More parley is on my list.
I have another question for you: Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of the butterflies we’ve lured into our back yard (including caterpillars, chrysalises and eggs). Would you be interested in them or know of any organizations that could use them?
Thx, Jeff

Hi Jeff,
Hundreds arriving at one time would be overwhelming for our tiny staff, but trickling them in slowly to our site would be wonderful.  Please continue to use our standard form for submissions and please confine your submissions to a single species.  Eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides and imagos or adults of the same species arriving together though would be most welcome.  We are especially curious when you first documented the Giant Swallowtail and its caterpillar the Orange Dog as this species was first reported in Los Angeles in the late 1990s, we believe.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination