From the monthly archives: "March 2019"

Subject:  Spider brazil
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Brazil
Date: 03/09/2019
Time: 09:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  O Foundation this spider in a forest, near a creek. What species Is it? Is it venemous? Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Silvia


Dear Silvia,
Though it resembles a Spider, this Harvestman is an Arachnid in the order Opiliones whose members lack venom.  This Harvestman poses no threat to humans.

Subject:  Bug from Maui found in wood art
Geographic location of the bug:  In Oregon now, brought Tiki from Hawaii
Date: 03/09/2019
Time: 12:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, Our Tiki from Hawaii had sawdust around it for awhile, I put in a container. A couple months later these two guys showed up. Wondering what they are. Gave them some water but not sure I want to let them loose. They bore big holes in wood.
How you want your letter signed:  Verlan & Kristi

Kiawe Borer

Dear Verlan & Kristi,
This is a Kiawe Roung-Headed Borer,
Placosternus crinicornis, an invasive species in Hawaii.  Its larvae are wood borers that feed on Kiawe or Prosopsis, and ccording to Wikipedia, Kiawe or Prosopis limensis is a species of mesquite native to South America.  According to BugGuide:  “This beetle’s host plant, Kiawe (Prosopis pallida), is a tropical mesquite native to Peru, Ecuador and Colombia that was introduced to Hawai’i by a single seed planted in a courtyard in Honolulu in 1826. Kiawe spread to all islands and became a source of nectar for honey production, the abundant seed pods produced became fodder for a growing cattle industry, and the wood is prized for smoking meats and barbecue. The first Kiawe Round-headed Borer was collected in 1904. The beetles are attracted to felled trees and cut wood.”  Beetles with wood boring larvae frequently emerge from milled lumber many years after the tree that contained the larva was felled.

Kiawe Borers

Subject:  What in the world…
Geographic location of the bug:  Durban, South Africa
Date: 03/06/2019
Time: 10:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was strolling through my garden when I came across these weird bugs. What are they and what are they doing? They are freaky, stuck together and bubbling!!
How you want your letter signed:  Ryan

Aggregation of unknown Hemipterans

Dear Ryan,
We have not had any luck matching your images to any images on line in our initial search, so we are posting your request as Unidentified.  We are quite certain these are members of the insect order Hemiptera, the group that includes True Bugs, Cicadas and Leafhoppers.  We will continue to research this matter and perhaps one of our readers will have some free time to investigate.

Update:  Cesar Crash from Insetologia found this Spittlebug posting in our archives that looks like the same species.  North American Spittlebugs do not tend to aggregate in such large numbers, though it is frequently possible to find several individuals hiding in the “spittle.”

Hemipteran Nymphs

Facebook Comment from Amy
Spittlebugs! (Ptyelus grossus?)

Subject:  What in the world….follow up
Geographic location of the bug:  Durban, South Africa
Date: 03/08/2019
Time: 02:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi again.
Thanks for trying to identify that mass of bugs:”Aggregation of unknown Hemipterans”. I have taken a few more pictures of whats left of them, so it might be clearer on what they are. Think they are some sort of leaf hopper.
How you want your letter signed:  Ryan


Hi Ryan,
Thanks for sending additional images that include the winged adult Spittlebug,
Ptyelus grossus.  According to the Flora of Zimbabwe:  “Larvae and nymphs of this species are highly gregarious. While feeding on the sap of certain tree species they excrete a foamy liquid that forms protective nests around them. Numbers of these nymphs can by so high in a single tree that the excessive excretions can drip onto the soil below the tree and may form wet patches or even small puddles.  Widespread in tropical and Southern Africa.

Subject:  Flies
Geographic location of the bug:  Italy (Rome)
Date: 03/05/2019
Time: 05:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi bugman! Upon return from a week out, we found a lot of these ‘flies’ dead around the house, mostly in the bathroom. We had left a basket with walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts in the living room, so that might have attracted them? Not sure.
Anyway, are you able to identify them?
Thanks as always!
How you want your letter signed:  Saverio

Ichneumons, we believe

Dear Saverio,
These are not Flies.  They are Hymenopterans, the insect order that includes Bees and Wasps.  They appear to be parasitoid Ichneumons, a group of solitary wasps that parasitize their prey.  The Ichneumon larva develops inside the body of the prey, feeding on its internal organs until the host dies, at which time the Ichneumon larva pupates, eventually emerging as winged adults.  We suspect your sighting is related to an emergence while you were away.  This occurrence might be related to the basket of nuts, but we are not convinced.  How large were these Ichneumons?  Exact species identification might not be possible.  According to the North American site BugGuide:  “arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates” and many species are undescribed.

Subject:  Big bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Arizona
Date: 03/05/2019
Time: 03:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this floating dead in a pond, haven’t seen it b4
How you want your letter signed:  Anthony

Giant Water Bug

Dear Anthony,
This is a Giant Water Bug or Toe-Biter, and aquatic predator that is capable of flying from pond to pond in the event its habitat dries up.  We believe this is
Lethocerus medius, a species reported in Arizona, according to BugGuide.

Giant Water Bug

Subject:  Moth id
Geographic location of the bug:  Hoedspruit Limpopo province south africa
Date: 03/05/2019
Time: 04:02 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help wuth the identification of this huge moth. Emperor family perhaps. Currently summer in south africa
How you want your letter signed:  Andriette

Giant Silkmoth

Dear Andriette,
You are correct that this is an Emperor Moth or Giant Silkmoth in the family Saturniidae, and we believe it might be Pseudobunaea irius based on images posted to Lepidoptera Barcode of Life.

Bill Oehlke Responds
I agree with irius.