From the yearly archives: "2018"

Subject:  Listroscelis or Arachnoscelis?
Geographic location of the bug:  La Cangreja National Park, Puriscal, San José, Costa Rica
Date: 01/09/2018
Time: 06:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Months ago I found this weird looking katydid. I know  it is from subfamily Listroscelidinae, but I’m confused about its genus. I think is a Listroscelis or an Arachnoscelis but can’t find out which the difference between them. Hope you can help me.
How you want your letter signed:  Dariel Sanabria

Male Katydid:  Arachnoscelis species

Dear Dariel,
Immature insects are often more difficult to identify than adults for several reasons.  First, they often look very different from adults, and secondly, adults are frequently more well documented than are immature stages.  We will send your image to Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide a conclusive identification for you.

Piotr Naskrecki provides a correction and identification.
Hi Daniel,
This is indeed Arachnoscelis, an adult male. Hard to say which species without seeing a closeup of the abdominal apex.
Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Subject:  Large Scarab with Extremely Long Legs
Geographic location of the bug:  South Mississippi
Date: 01/07/2018
Time: 09:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi bugman, I am an environmental biology student with a love for all things nature. I’m usually pretty good at identifying animals and insects but this one has stumped me. I found it on a box turtle carcas in a pitcher plant bog/ wetland area. I’m pretty sure it is in the scarab group, but it has acceptionally long legs. The 3rd set are about 1.25 inches long, and the 2nd set are about 1 inch long. I have yet to see it poke its head out but it has 4 little spikes near its mouth.  If you can help me identify this beetle I would really appreciate it! Thank you for your time!
How you want your letter signed:  Jaden

Humpbacked Dung Beetle

Dear Jaden,
We quickly identified your Scarab Beetle as a Humpbacked Dung Beetle,
Deltochilum gibbosum, thanks to this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Large, round, dull black beetle. Male has a prominent hump on each elytron. Front tarsi absent. Clypeus has two sets of teeth, the inner ones pointy, the outer rounded (hard to see in photos)” and the habitat is “wooded places; on carrion, dung, rotting fruit, fungi.”   According to Encyclopedia of Life:  “Found in woodlands from Virginia south to Florida and as far west as Texas and Illinois. Also occurs in Mexico.”

Humpbacked Dung Beetle

Dear Bugman,
This is Jaden just emailing you to thank you for identifying my humpback dung beetle! He was very interesting to come into contact with and snap a few pictures of! I appreciate your time and effort! Keep up the good work!
Thank you again,

Humpbacked Dung Beetle

Subject:  Cricket identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Piet Retief, Mpumalanga,  South Africa
Date: 01/08/2018
Time: 08:15 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I spotted this insect on the grass under a large paperback acacia thorn tree. It is almost the same colour of the lichen on the tree ( see photograph). I thought it was a grasshopper but now think it is a cricket. It is small (2cm).
How you want your letter signed:  Lynn Volker

Lichen Mimicking Katydid

Dear Lynn,
Even though immature Katydids can often visually differ greatly from adult Katydids, and given that there are more images of identified adult Katydids on the World Wide Web than there are of frequently undocumented immature stages, and we acknowledge that though they share some visual similarities including looking like lichens, we do not believe your (probably) immature Katydid nymph to be the same species as this South African individual pictured on Photographs from South Africa.  We are going to attempt to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he recognizes your comely specimen.

Piotr Naskrecki provides an identification.
Hi Daniel,
This is a nymph of Eurycorypha sp. (possibly E. varia).
Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Ed. Note:  We located images attributed to the genus Eurycorypha on Africa Wild, but the adult looks nothing like this gorgeous nymph.

Subject:  Spider named Aragog
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Date: 01/07/2018
Time: 01:27 PM EDT
I can’t find a thing on this lovely ‘lady’. My son purchased an old Airstream Trailer, drove it home (apx 30 miles) and saw her trying to climb up one of the tires the next morning. We have no clue as to ‘where ‘ she actually came from. We live in the mountains where it gets very cold and my concern for her was if she was from ‘down the hill’ it was far too cold for her up here. She is now set up in a quite comfy critter keeper. I have 2 Tarantula Females that I have owned for 20+ years now. What’s another spider to care for! Can you please tell me what she is? We have freaked out about a ‘Recluse’ but she has built a ‘Widow’ type web into her little tree branch in her keeper. She does not appear aggressive or fast moving whatsoever. I’m actually stumped. She’s larger than a quarter.  Spread out I’d say half dollar coin sized. She’s big! We are now calling her Aragog. Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Keeper of T’s

Female Southern  House Spider

Dear Keeper of T’s,
We are posting your Spider images prior to identification.  It appears that the eyes on this individual are not very well developed, indicating is most likely spends its time in low light situations and also that it does not depend upon eyesight to hunt.  We will do additional research and then get back to you.  Perhaps one of our readers will have an idea how to classify your Spider.

Female Southern House Spider

Update:  Female Southern House Spider
Thanks to Cesar Crash who wrote in that this is a female Southern House Spider, a species pictured on BugGuide.

Goodness Gracious Thank You! Now I shall provide a bit more Branchery for webbing! hehe

Subject:  Katydid
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Nicoya Peninsula
Date: 01/07/2018
Time: 12:00 PM EDT
Can you identify this bug?
I took these pictures a couple of days ago in a house near Santa Teresa.
It looks a bit like a Haemodiasma Tessellata but the body is flatter and the shape of the head looks different. It has very long, thin antennae, approx twice the length of the body, which are not fully visible in the pictures.
Thanks a lot!
How you want your letter signed:  Matteo


Dear Matteo,
We agree that your individual does resemble a Moss Mimic Katydid,
Haemodiasma tessellata, and it also resembles the Panama Sylvan Katydid, Acanthodis curvidens.  We will attempt to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide a species identification.


Piotr Naskrecki provides the identification.
Hi Daniel,
Happy New Year to you, too! This is Acanthodis curvidens. Haeodiasma tessellata has a stouter body and the strongly curved spines (“curvidens”) on the hind femur are a giveaway.
Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Dear Daniel
Thanks a lot for your answer.
I am a total novice in entomology but since I moved to Costa Rica I am surrounded by all kinds of wildlife and I often bump into weird looking creatures.
So proud my guess was spot on! Hahaha!
Please forward my thanks to Piotr Naskrecki.

Subject:  Saturniid butterfly in Brazil
Geographic location of the bug:  Brazil, Santa Catarina, Benedito Novo
Date: 01/07/2018
Time: 11:43 AM EDT
Hello, I found this caterpillar and I have no clue what it is. At first it seemed like an Automeris, then a Pseudautomeris, then a Molippa… Now I don’t know what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Oscar Neto

Saturniid Caterpillar

Dear Oscar,
Though they both belong to the same insect order Lepidoptera, most English speaking countries differentiate between butterflies which are primarily diurnal, and moths which are primarily, but not exclusively nocturnal.  There are also structural differences between them that is clarified in the taxonomic process.  We agree that this caterpillar belongs to the moth family Saturniidae, and it also appears to be an earlier instar caterpillar.  Many online images are of more mature caterpillars that sometimes differ in appearance from earlier stages.  Our initial guess would also be the genus
Automeris, and our second guess would be Leucanella, and both genera are well represented in Brazil.  We will attempt to get Bill Oehlke, an expert in Saturniids, to attempt to provide you with a species identification.  By chance, was if found feeding on a plant?  Often knowing the food plant is a great assistance in the identification process.