From the monthly archives: "August 2018"

Subject:  What is this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Omaha, NE
Date: 08/23/2018
Time: 10:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this bug my marigolds. Will it hurt my flowers?
How you want your letter signed:  Mary P

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Dear Mary,
The Goldenrod Soldier Beetle will not harm your marigolds or any other flowers.  According to BugGuide:  “Adult: pollen and nectar of fall flowers, esp. goldenrod (
Solidago); larvae feed on locust eggs, insect larvae, cucumber beetles, and other Diabrotica spp.”  One could infer your garden will be benefit from the presence of Goldenrod Soldier Beetles since they don’t harm the blossoms and their larvae will feed on many creatures that will eat plants in your garden.

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Upstate New York
Date: 08/23/2018
Time: 09:34 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m having trouble identifying this caterpillar…
How you want your letter signed:  Katy

Io Moth Caterpillar

Dear Katy,
This distinctive caterpillar is an Io Moth Caterpillar, and it should be handled with caution as it has stinging spines.  The adult Io moth is sexually dimorphic, with male Io Moths having yellow upper wings while those of the female Io Moth are brown.  Both sexes have pronounced eye-spots on the underwings that might help to startle predators.

Subject:  What is it?
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Date: 08/22/2018
Time: 01:10 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, my sister sent me these photos of what looks like a furry dragonfly.  I did a bit of research and found that it looks similar to a red footed cannibalfly…. what do you think?
How you want your letter signed:  Astrid

Robber Fly

Dear Astrid,
This is a large Robber Fly, judging by the ash seed used as scale, but it is not a Red Footed Cannibalfly, an eastern species.  It looks similar to this
Machimus species pictured on the Natural History of Orange County site, but we cannot state for certain that is a correct genus identification.

Subject:  Beetle bee?!
Geographic location of the bug:  Lincoln Nebraska
Date: 08/22/2018
Time: 09:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey bugman!
Question! May be an easy one but I’ve never seen anything like this before. I was sitting on my patio when this fella flew up. Looks like pollen maybe on the hind leg? It looks like a beetle and a bee but reminded me of a spider the way it sat and was quick moving like a startled spider?!
Thanks for the help!
How you want your letter signed:  Curious

Common Eastern Bumble Bee

Dear Curious,
As you can see from this BugGuide image, this is a Common Eastern Bumble Bee.  Perhaps due to pesticides, or habitat loss, or some other reason, populations of native and Honey Bees are on the decline, making these once very common and easily recognized insects much less familiar to the casual observer.

Subject:  Odd looking ant
Geographic location of the bug:  London, Ontario Canada
Date: 08/22/2018
Time: 05:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this ant at my workplace today. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen one like it before. Its mandibles were pretty impressive. What is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Mike Woodford

Ant Mimic Jumping Spider

Dear Mike,
Count the legs on your “Ant” and you will see that unlike other ants (and insects) which have six legs, your individual has eight legs.  This is actually an Ant Mimic Jumping Spider,
Myrmarachne formicaria, a European species first reported in Northeast Ohio in 2001, but now spreading to other areas.  Your individual is a male, and according to BugGuide:  “It is the only ant-like North American jumping spider in which the male chelicerae project forward more than 50% of the carapace length.”

Subject:  Spider Wasp: Entypus unifasciatus
Geographic location of the bug:  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Date: 08/22/2018
Time: 06:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Encountered this Spider wasp attempting to haul off his bounty today…wolf spider. A rather large wolf spider at that.
Respect for anything that takes care of these nasty spiders for me.
How you want your letter signed:  Stefanie

Spider Wasp with Wolf Spider Prey

Dear Stefanie,
Only female Spider Wasps hunt for prey to feed the brood.  We agree your wasp is
Entypus unifasciatus, and according to BugGuide:  “Females dig a burrow that ends in a terminal chamber off of the side of a mammal burrow or large crack in the ground. The serrations on the hind tibiae are used to aid the movement of soil out of the burrow entrance. The position in which the egg is laid is unknown. Larvae feed on one large spider and, as in all Pompilids that have one generation per year, overwinter as pupae.”

Correction:  January 23, 2018
In reference to the August 22, 2018 photo of Entypus unifasciatus from Oklahoma City, OK by “Stephanie,” the host spider is Syspira sp. (Prowling spider)(Miturgidae). Of 414 host records for this species of wasp, this is the first host record (1/414, 0.02%) for this family of spider. We do, however, have the same genus and family host record for the congener Entypus aratus from Mexico. We should like to acknowledge “What’s That Bug” and Stephanie for this extremely rare and highly unusual host record. Does Stephanie have a last name to accompany this record in our forthcoming publication on spider wasps? Thank you. Keep up the good work.

Retraction of Correction:  March 4, 2019
When I first saw the image I thought it was a lycosid (wolf spider).  I sent it to an arachnologist at the CAS and he identified the spider as Genus Syspira, Family Miturgidae.  Since then I have consulted two other arachnologists, one from SDSU in CA, and they both informed me that the genus Syspira does not occur in Oklahoma.  They checked hundreds of museum records for this genus through a third arachnologist at Colorado State University and the genus does not occur in SE CO nor in N Texas.  They think the spider is in the genus Hogna (Lycosidae) but cannot be certain because, unfortunately, they cannot see the eye arrangement from the side view photograph.  I’ve sent your higher resolution out for additional study but, since the genus Syspira does not occur in Oklahoma, this is probably a moot exercise.  Thank you for your effort in aiding this identification dilemma.