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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

So will a rock” noted Facebook poster Kristy Day.

Subject:  What’s this spider?
Geographic location of the bug:  La Quinta, California
Date: 11/08/2017
Time: 02:20 AM EDT
Saw this tonight around 830pm in the parking lot of our post office. About 2-3 inches, not hairy like a tarantula, but we first thought that’s what it was. Very docile. We thought it was dead and nudged it slightly. It’s legs moved, but it didn’t crawl away, even after we walked away. There were two others in the parking lot several feet away. About 72 degrees, the beginning of fall in the desert.
How you want your letter signed:  L Young

Rubber Tarantula, we suspect

Dear L Young,
We suspect that either you are a prankster, or that you are the victim of a prankster.  There is something about this “Spider” that just does not look right to us.  The lack of articulation in the legs and the odd pattern on the cephalothorax, combined with the poor quality of the images (vaguely reminiscent of blurry Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster and UFO photographs) has caused us to speculate that this might be a rubber Tarantula, similar to the one pictured on Amazon or the one pictured on Alamy.  Halloween has just passed and perhaps someone at your post office was playing a joke.  This is not the first time we have had a request to identify a fake spider at this time of year.  We might be wrong, so we gladly welcome anyone able to identify this “Spider”.

Rubber Tarantula reported to move when nudged.

We took these photos at night at our local post office parking lot – it had yellow lighting, which is why the lighting was bad – and the photo was taken with my cellphone, which is why it wasn’t professional quality photography. I am sorry that you think I was pranking you – I can assure you that I was not. My husband took that photo with my phone because I was too afraid to get close to it. He nudged it with his foot and the legs moved, so I highly doubt that it was fake. I guess I will have to try somewhere else to get an identification. We live in the desert and this wouldn’t be the first time that someone had a hard time identifying a spider out here.
Sorry I wasted your time – and mine.  I’ll have to keep searching.
Laura Young

We did not mean to offend you Laura, but we honestly do not believe this is a real spider.  Should you happen to get a proper identification, possibly from your local Natural History Museum, we would gladly welcome that information.  Furthermore, we will attempt to get a second opinion and we will respond to you again with anything we learn, including any significant comments people make to the posting we have made to our site.

A Facebook Comment:
It does look pretty plastic-y… (plasticky?) Like plastic. 😜 ~Tif

Another Facebook Comment from Mercedes
Behold the passive agressive plastic spider!😄

Kristy Day from Facebook Commented:
So she’s to sacred to get close enough to actually look, but it moved when it was kicked. Gee, I know a rock will move when kicked too. There’s no pleasing some people.

Ed. Note:  Kristy’s comment really made us laugh.  We wish we could let her know directly, but our editorial staff does not deal with the Facebook interface of our site, though we will copy and paste from it and we enjoy being shared.

More from Facebook:
Jen Smith commented “Hahah a day ago last year you guys posted a fake cockroach someone asked about 😉 (time line showed, Id re posted)

Eric Eaton, author of Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America wrote back regarding our query.
Totally fake.
I just returned from the Entomological Society of America national meetings in Denver the other day.  One person knew me from WTB. 🙂
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What is this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Lexington washington
Date: 10/31/2017
Time: 06:46 PM EDT
This bug has been found in my bedroom.  I have an air conditioner in my window so I think it’s getting in through the cracks.
It has a red belly and wings but haven’t seen it fly.
How you want your letter signed:  Carol

Western Bexelder Bug

Dear Carol,
This is a Western Boxelder Bug, a species that frequently seeks shelter indoors.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed Note: We knew that we were getting close to our 25,000th posting for a few months now, and we decided to check today, but we were caught by surprise to find out we were at 24,999.  We decided to make this one special, a little different from our usual identification requests, so we decided to post the images Daniel just shot of a pair of California Mantids at the porch light, and perhaps to wax philosophically about what we hope we are accomplishing by publishing our humble site, now beginning its 16th year as a unique website.

Female California Mantis on the porch light

For years we have been running images, generally late in the season, of California Mantids attracted to the porch light to catch insects.  Male Mantids that can fly are much more common than are flightless females that have a more difficult time reaching the light, so this female was something of an anomaly.  Later in the day, she was joined by a male California Mantis who was probably attracted by her pheromones.  We thought we would take this opportunity with this significant milestone of 25,000 postings to expound a bit on our philosophy of a healthy ecosystem in the garden.  Mature predators like these Mantids catch larger insects, and adult Mantids are much more visible in the garden, but the real significance of having predators is the number of smaller insects they consume while growing.  Young Mantids, barely a centimeter in length hatch in the spring, and they perform an incalculable benefit with the large numbers of tiny insects they eat while growing.  Having a healthy population of predators in your garden throughout the year will help control many insect pests without the use of pesticides.

A pair of California Mantids

Though we have numerous identification request awaiting our attention, we have decided to take the rest of the day off and let our 25,000th posting stand alone today.  We will return tomorrow and we will try to catch up on unanswered mail.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Missouri
Date: 10/01/2017
Time: 03:49 PM EDT
This guy is on my step. He’s awesome! I would like to know more about him though. Can you help?
How you want your letter signed:  Lacy

Giant Crane Fly

Dear Lacy,
We love your enthusiasm.  This is a harmless Giant Crane Fly,
Tipula abdominalis, and according to BugGuide “adults fly from May to October” and “two generations per year (usually May/June and September/October).”  Your high quality image and your perfect timing has resulted in us naming the Giant Crane Fly our Bug of the Month for October 2017.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

January 12, 2017
From Our Facebook Fans Regarding Angry Reader #12

Jeff Lanterman
January 12 at 10:56am
Did he think that was funny? Sometimes I don’t understand people.

Sean Gaukroger
January 12 at 12:59pm
Huh? Today’s Sphinx moth brought to you by the letter “F”?

Lisa Phillips
January 12 at 2:54pm
Thank you for the identification & sorry this person is rude. I myself look forward to your posts. Keep up your fascinating work 🐛

Heather Christensen
January 12 at 3:49pm
We love your posts! I have not yet submitted any critters needing identification, but my son and I always keep our eye out. This guy is a clown, and definitely deserves the coveted “Nasty Reader” title. Keep up the great work, we love you guys. 🐌🐛🐜🐝🐞🕷🦂

An angry reader gives us the finger

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Gentle Readers,
The editorial staff from What’s That Bug? will be away from the office for the holidays.  We will not be responding to any identification requests until 2017, but we have postdated submissions to go live to our site daily in our absence.  Enjoy the holidays.

Update:  January 2, 2017
We have returned and we are trying to catch up on all the emails that arrived while we were away.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination