From the monthly archives: "October 2018"

Subject:  A face only a Predator could love
Geographic location of the bug:  Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Date: 10/24/2018
Time: 11:06 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this fellow happy and healthy on the kitchen floor amidst the corpses from a cockroach spraying.
From one tip to another the spread of the antennae is about 4 inches.
I’m having trouble looking him up online.   Any help would be greatfully received.
How you want your letter signed:  Tim

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Tim,
This Tailless Whipscorpion is a harmless, shy, nocturnal predator that will help keep you kitchen free of Cockroaches.

Subject:  What type of Grasshopper?
Geographic location of the bug:  St Johns County, FL
Date: 10/23/2018
Time: 01:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Spotted this extremely large colorful grasshopper in a local park. Would like to know exactly what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks, Michele

Eastern Lubber

Dear Michele,
This is an Eastern Lubber Grasshopper, a flightless species that often appears in great numbers.  Your individual is a light colored individual.  There is also a dark variation of the Eastern Lubber.

Subject:  Strange furry purple caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Florida panhandle
Date: 10/23/2018
Time: 05:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey bug man this little guy fell out of a tree in my windshield on my way home today  I’m semi new to Florida and know there are lots of crazy bugs here. Never seen one of these tho. It is about an inch long dark purple with some reddish orange on the underbelly. Did a reverse image search to try to find the species. No luck. Made it all the way home and took him off the car and realeased him in the grass. Thanks for any help!
How you want your letter signed:  Jordon

Monkey Slug

Dear Jordon,
You should be commended on even recognizing that the Monkey Slug is a caterpillar.  Handle with caution.  Monkey Slugs can sting.

Subject:  Bee or wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Andalusia, Spain
Date: 10/22/2018
Time: 12:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Are these bees or wasps? where feeding on bottle brush. They where not small, much bigger than paper wasp, but they looked much more wasp like than a bee.
Malaga province,  Spain,  October 22, 2018
Thanks in advance
How you want your letter signed:  Perry

Vespid Wasp:  Vespa bicolor

Dear Perry,
This is definitely a Wasp and not a Bee.  It looks to us like one of the Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes, but we have not found any images from Spain on the internet that resemble your individual.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to substantiate or provide a correction.

Vespid Wasp:  Vespa bicolor

Correction:  December 29, 2018
Thanks to comments from several of our readers, though the species is still not identified, we now know that this is one of the Hornets or Yellowjackets in the subfamily Vespinae.

Update Regarding Permission to use images:  February 28, 2019
Dear Mr Marlos,
Thank you very much indeed for the pictures and the information on the terms of use!!  The main reasons I’m interested in using one of these images in my paper are that they show the species close-up and in great detail and that what you see is the living wasp going about its business, as opposed to any photographs of preserved, pinned specimens I could have contributed using my own material. Now let’s hope “Perry” does provide information on the locality where he took the photographs: it’s likely to lie inside the wasp’s known Spanish range, but, who knows, it might be a new locality/area, and that would increase our knowledge of the subject.
Best wishes,
Leopoldo Castro.

You are most welcome Leopoldo.  The submitted letter indicates the images were taken in “Malaga province,  Spain,  October 22, 2018.”

Dear Mr Marlos
My little investigation has born fruit, and here’s the “happy ending”.
On Friday I spent some time surfing the ‘net, with unexpectedly good results: first I found out what the photographer’s full name was, then I got hold of his email and finally I was able to contact him. He has kindly provided the exact locality (Mijas), as well as some other relevant details. This part of the puzzle is now complete, and I can move on to the next phase, thanks to your help and his.
Best wishes,
Leopoldo Castro.

Congratulations on your diligence Leopoldo.  I began What’s That Bug? in 1998 as a column in a zine called American Homebody that eventually became a website when the zine editor, and a collaborative artist on other projects I did, decided she wanted to learn web design, so What’s That Bug? became an online column on a website.  When Lisa Anne suggested I purchase the domain name in 2002 because my column generated more mail than the rest of the website combined.  I have been answering inquiries for 17 years, and I no entomological credentials, nor any science background.  I am an artist, so it gives me great satisfaction each time I am contacted because of the important sightings documented in our extensive database.  I’m so happy I was able to facilitate your research.

Dear Mr Marlos,
After a very short editorial process, I’ve had the paper on Vespa bicolor published by an entomological journal, and you can find it attached. As you’ll see, your valuable help is duly acknowledged at the end of the article (sorry that it’s in Spanish… the paper’s mostly aimed at Spain’s scientific community) (but’s it’s got a lot of international hits in the seven days it’s been available on the ‘net).
Best wishes,
Leopoldo Castro.
2019 Castro =V. bicolor[CAS19A]

Hi again Leopoldo,
Congratulations on your quick completion of your paper.

Subject:  Found in Seville
Geographic location of the bug:  Seville, Andalusia
Date: 10/22/2018
Time: 04:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this mighty bug flapping around in my office late one night. For reference my middle finger is a shade over 3.5 inches, so this rather sturdy grasshopper is close to 3 inches in length. I believed grasshoppers to prefer open plains to city centre life. I’ve certainly never seen one this large before.
How you want your letter signed:  Ben

Egyptian Grasshopper

Dear Ben,
We believe we have identified your Grasshopper as an Egyptian Grasshopper,
Anacridium aegyptum, thanks to The Insects of Southern Spain where it states:  “Egyptian Grasshoppers are sometimes mistaken for locusts, but the diagnostics for the former are the vertically striped eyes and the pronuptum, the shield type shape behind the head … is distinctly ridged, like plates of armour.”  Nightengale Trails has some nice images as does TrekNature.

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Antigua Guatemala
Date: 10/21/2018
Time: 03:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
I found these caterpillars in my garden in Antigua Guatemala in July.
I made some research and it could be a Costa Rican hairy caterpillar (Automeris metzli ?) but I am not sure as Antigua is located at 1600 m in the mountains…
What do you think ?
Thank you !
How you want your letter signed:  Voiz

Automeris Caterpillar

Dear Voiz,
We believe you have the genus
Automeris correct, but we are not certain of the species.  It looks to us like it might be Automeris boucardi, but we will check with Bill Oehlke to see if he can verify the species identity.