From the monthly archives: "August 2022"

Subject:  What is this flying insect? It was about 3” long with approx a 3” stinger (?) attached.
Geographic location of the bug:  Near Battle Creek, MI
Date: 08/20/2022
Time: 04:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Appreciate you identifying this insect for us. We have never seen one of these before and have live here for over 60 years!
How you want your letter signed:  Dave Hlatko

Stump Stabber

Dear Dave,
Thanks for your inquiry.  This is one of Daniel’s favorite insects to educate about,
Megarhyssa atrataa species commonly called the Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber.  Daniel distinctly remembers as a child seeing an impressive image of a Giant Ichneumon in his copy of Insects: A Guide to Familiar American Insects.  Your individual is a female and what you have mistaken for a stinger is her ovipositor, an organ that allows her to deposit her eggs.  In the case of the Giant Ichneumon, the ovipositor is able to drill into dead and dying wood to lay an egg near the tunnel produced by the larva of the Pigeon Horntail, a type of Wood Wasp.  Because of her ability to oviposit, the Giant Ichneumon is sometimes called a Stump Stabber.  The stingers of bees and wasps are modified ovipositors that have evolved into an organ that helps to defend the insect from threats.  

Subject:  Big Swiss Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Switzerland
Date: 08/21/2022
Time: 12:18 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, this fella is easily 8cm long, nothing like I have ever seen here before!
How you want your letter signed:  Matt

Mole Cricket

Dear Matt,
This is a Mole Cricket and it is one of our most common global identification requests.  We get images of Mole Crickets from all over the world, including Australia, North America and the Middle East.  We have even gotten a report of a Mole Cricket on a ship in the Caribbean.  Mole Crickets are subterranean dwellers that are also capable of flying and they are sometimes attracted to lights.

Subject:  Potato bug? Beatle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Houston, Texas
Date: 08/21/2022
Time: 04:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy was on the ground, dead.  It’s as big as my thumb.  Big.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious Michael

Cicada Exuvia

Dear Curious Michael,
This is the exuvia or cast off exoskeleton of a Cicada, and lifeless would be a more accurate description because it is not dead. The immature Cicada spends several years underground as a nymph feeding on fluids from the roots of trees, shrubs and other plants.  When they near maturity, they dig to the surface and molt for the last time, eventually flying off as a winged adult leaving the exuvia behind.  Cicadas are the loudest insects in the world.

Subject:  Some sort of mantis
Geographic location of the bug:  Conshohocken, PA, USA
Date: 08/22/2022
Time: 07:07 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi.   Saw this outside work… Hanging in a pine tree.   Didn’t see it until it fell to the ground. The most bark-like camouflage I’ve ever seen.   Thought maybe a Carolina mantis,  but the texture and color are more elaborate than I’ve seen before. Any thoughts?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks, -Gavin.

Immature Mantis

Hi Gavin,
We agree with your Carolina Mantis identification.  It appears to be an immature male that has not yet developed wings and it resembles this individual posted to BugGuide.  So many Mantids found in Pennsylvania are invasive, introduced European and Chinese Mantids, that you are lucky to have encountered this native species whose range is not limited to the Carolinas.

Subject:  Green Leaf Wing Insect?
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Illinois
Date: 08/13/2022
Time: 09:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! My mom found this insect in her yard in central Illinois. I can’t seem to find out what it is. Its wings don’t look fully formed. Any idea?
How you want your letter signed:  Aaron

Recently Eclosed Katydid

Hello, Aaron. I apologize, but we had a glitch with submissions the other day. Would you mind responding to this with your photos attached so that the Bugman can assist you?
Daniel (The Webmaster)
No problem! Photos are attached. After submitting it, my grandfather identified it as a katydid. This came across my mind earlier, but it didn’t look like other katydids when I googled them. I think the open wings were throwing me off. Still would like to get the Bugman’s input though. Thanks! 
Dear Aaron,
Thanks for your patience during our period of transition.  Your grandfather is correct that this is a Katydid, but we can try to clarify some of your doubts.  This is a recently metamorphosed Katydid that recently underwent a final molt, and the wings have not yet fully expanded and hardened, hence the unfamiliar appearance.  The lack of an ovipositor indicates this is a male Katydid and we believe based on images posted to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources site that it is a Greater Angle Winged Katydid.


Subject:  Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  central Italy
Date: 08/07/2022
Time: 07:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Daniel!
Can you help identifying this spider spotted in central Italy?

Unknown Spider

Dear Saverio,
This spider has taken up a protective position with its legs covering most of its body.  Among the best diagnostic features for identifying spiders is their eye pattern and position, which alas are hidden by your Spider’s defensive posture.  Our best guess is that this is some type of hunting spider that does not build a web.  We are so sorry we are unable to provide you with more.