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Wings or no?
June 2, 2009
I came across this guy in my kitchen and immediately snapped a picture of it. I then got it in a jar and released it outdoors. The wing-like tentacles on its back moved around almost like an octopus. I’ve never seen an insect like this.
Curious Dude
Western NC USA

Molting Harvestman we believe

Molting Harvestman we believe

Dear Curious Dude,
Those are not wings, and this is a Harvestman in the order Opiliones, but we need to seek advice on what is actually happening in this photo.  We believe you have photographed the molting process, but we need confirmation on that.  Harvestmen are sometimes called Daddy Long Legs.

Update from Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
The harvestman looks like it has succumbed to a fungal attack.
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Found possible rare “mold” looking spider in Papua New Guinea
Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 7:14 PM
I recently returned from six weeks of work in the Papua New Guinea jungle, mostly in the Southern Highlands. While we came across many strange bugs and spiders, none were more strange than this one. I have so far been been unable to find any photos resembling anything like this species and am wondering if we may have stumbled upon something very rare or unnamed (I’m sure you get this question often). The spider was about 5 cm across and covered with fine hair, which makes it look out of focus in the photo. Evolution clearly intended this spider to look like a patch of mold. As you’ll see, the abdomen is distinctly concave and looks like a thin plate of mold. It was resting on a live tree covered in red paper-like bark. Even the locals seemed interested, leading me to believe this wasn’t an everyday sighting. As a g eologist, I know it’s imperative to include a scale, but unfortunately I forgot as I was preoccupied with work. I’m very curious to hear what you’ve got to say.
Thanks,
Brian
Near the Tari Basin, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea

Spider infested with Fungus

Spider infested with Fungus

Hi Brian,
We believe, based on its shape, that your spider is one of the Giant Crab Spiders in the family Sparassidae, but we don’t believe it is a living specimen. It is our opinion that this spider is riddled with fungus, leading to its unusual appearance. Many spiders and insects are killed by fungus infections.

Update:  Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 8:32 PM
Daniel,
Thanks for the quick response.  The possibility of this being a dead animal had not crossed my, nor the others I was with.  After looking at the image again, I noticed the spider is only attached to the tree with four legs, resting in a vertical position on a live tree.  Could he be dead and still be attached with no apparent web etc?  I’ve attached the full-sized image and filtered out some of the noise.  Thanks for your help.
Regards,
Brian Gray
Staff Geologist
URS Corporation

Hi Brian,
We are sticking to our original ID.  The fungus may have grown onto the leaf, attaching the spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Sea urchin spider??
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 10:08 AM
Hi Daniel. What the heck? I found this little guy on one of my house plants. I did not see this spider on your site and I tried looking on What’s that Bug and couldn’t find it. I’m sure it is on that site but I just haven’t gotten the hang of WTB. I get as far as spiders, and look at each group, but I don’t know how to expand it farther.
I just brought the plant in from outdoors not too long ago. I’m in Florence, MA.
Elizabeth

Spider Riddled with Fungus

Spider Riddled with Fungus

Hi Elizabeth,
This looks like one of the Ant Mimic Jumping Spiders, and it is riddled with fungus. We cannot imagine that the spider was alive when you found it, but if it was, it was doomed to an imminent and not too distant death.

How right you are!  It IS dead!  And here we just thought it was being so cooperative.  I did not know that spiders could get fungus and die.  Of course, I know nothing else about spiders either, so no surprise.  Thank you so much for a great website.
Betsy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Strange White Caterpillar from Oil City Pennsylvania
Hello Bugman!
I emailed you last week but just realized that you requested the location of the bugs found. I am resending this letter in hopes that you can help me identify the caterpillar we found in our backyard. First, I must say I love your website and check it regularly. Recently my fiance and I found this caterpillar (the first two pictures) on a small tree in our backyard in Oil City (Northeastern) Pennsylvania. There were 4 of them and I cannot seem to find it anywhere on your website or the rest of the Internet. I was hoping you could tell us what it is. The third picture I believe is the Gypsy Moth Caterpillar but just wanted to double check. Thank you for your help in advance. Keep up the great website!!! Thank you,
Shannon G.

Hi Shannon,
Your white caterpillar is, we believe, infected with Fungus that will probably kill it. It is difficult to determine the species of caterpillar from your photo. BugGuide has a big section on Fungus riddled Flies, but not one for caterpillars. In trying to research Fungus attacking Caterpillars, we found references to a fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, that is host specific on Gypsy Moth Caterpillars, but it does not resemble the Fungus in the image you have provided. The Gypsy Moth Fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, is an important biological control of this invasive species, and you can read more on the Country Gardener. The Cornell University Biological Control website has a photo of an infected Gypsy Moth Caterpillar. Your second caterpillar is a Gypsy Moth Caterpillar.

Correction: (07/29/2008) Strange White Caterpillar from Oil City Pennsylvania
This looks a lot like the “Butternut Wooly Worm” images on bugguide. Found them while trying to see if the fly/wasp I sent matches any of their sawflies.
Audrey

Thanks for the correction Audrey. Seems someone on BugGuide also entertained the fungus idea. The Butternut Wooly Worm is actually a Sawfly, Eriocampa juglandis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Do you know?
Hello!
I was hoping you could help me identify this ‘thing’ I found wrapped around the end of one of our cedar tree branches. We live in Western Massachusetts and no one I have asked has any idea what it is…cocoon, chrysalis, disease, pest, nest, dead caterpillar? I’ve heard every guess but no one knows for sure. It’s just under 1" diameter in either direction and is the color of cinnamon. I tried searching your site but not knowing if it’s even a bug has me stumped as to where to look. Pictures below. Thanks!
Rebecca M.

Hi Rebecca,
What you have found is most interesting. It looks like a Gall caused by an insect, but it is actually Cedar Apple Rust, a Fungus. According to the Ohio State University Fact Sheet site we located: “There are a number of ‘cedar rust’ diseases in which the fungus completes its life cycle on two plant hosts; one in the cypress family and one in the rose family (the rosaceous host). 1. Cedar apple rust (pathogen: Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae). The fungus alternates between Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and mostly apple and crabapple.” Later the site indicates: “Diagnostic Symptoms Cedar apple rust: On junipers, tan to brownish round to kidney-shaped fungal galls are present in winter and early spring (Figure 2). With moist weather, gaudy bright orange masses of gelatinous spores develop from these galls, and galls swell to several times their original size (Figure 3). Spore masses are several inches in diameter, with a central core and radiating hornlike tendrils, and are highly visible during moist weather in mid-spring. On apple and crabapple, bright orange-yellow leaf spots develop on upper surfaces of leaves in late spring (Figure 1), followed by light colored, fringed cup-shaped structures on lower leaf surfaces several weeks later. Damage on junipers is generally minor and involves presence of the galls and twig dieback. On apples and crabapples, fruit infections and leaf drop also can occur. ”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Stumped two Universities so far with this amazing white spider…
February 20, 2007
Hello there:
So far two Universities have no idea what this amazing white spider is. It was found with many others in an old house my friend *was* considering buying in Easton, CT. ABOUT PHOTO: Subject’s photo was taken in Easton, CT- USA. Estimated size 2-4 inches. This photo has not been altered in any way except reduction of resolution. Oh, the spider was very much alive. Many of his brethren too. In fact, my friend could not sleep for many nights after observing all the crawling.
Cary

Hi Cary,
The reason we asked if the spider was alive is that this looks like it could be a fungus infection on one of the spiders in the Pholcus genus. Your further clarification tends to rule that out. We do not recognize your spider, nor have we ever seen a spider that resembles this. Sadly, your image does not have enough critical focus to reveal any details. We will try to search for information as well as check with some of our contributors. One of our readers wrote back to us: ” Oh gee, this is really ridiculous-looking. Sorry but no way is this thing alive, despite what Cary’s friend said. There is no real focus, so you can’t even be sure what you are looking at, but to me it looks either as you say, like a dead 2 inch daddy-long legs completely ‘bloomed out’ with a fungal growth, or perhaps more likely it is a molted exoskeleton hanging on an external wall which got coated with freezing condensation (sort of like frozen dew) in winter. I can well believe there were living daddy-long legs running around in the basement in this place, but they would have been normal color and normal appearance, not like this. “

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination