Currently viewing the category: "Neuropterans: Lacewings, Antlions, and Owlflies"

Subject:  Bug Near Monarch Chrysalides
Geographic location of the bug:  Mahopac, NY
Date: 07/20/2019
Time: 03:28 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
This year is my first year raising monarch butterflies. I came across this small brownish-tan bug on the same leaf as a chrysalis in my potted fuschia plant outside. I didn’t think much of it being a potential parasitic predator until I saw it extend its abdomen downward toward the top of the chrysalis. I pinched off the leaf with the chrysalis and brought it indoors, leaving the other bug outside. One day later I saw another one crawling on top of my monarch habitat/chrysalis support. I’m wondering what this insect is, and if it will cause any harm to the butterfly. I’ve read about parasitic wasps and tachinid flies, but nothing like this. I will definitely be raising monarchs indoors next year, but this was an unexpected experience, one that shows how vulnerable these creatures are. The pictures I’ve attached show the bug on the indoor wooden support, another in the plant outside with the chrysalis, and a separate, tainted chrysalis I found had fallen previously in my fuschia plant. I did take the  withered, fallen chrysalis inside (about 5 days ago) and attached it to the support, and am now wondering if the bug I found iside emerged from that chrysalis…
How you want your letter signed:  Emeline

Monarch Chrysalis and Aphid Wolf

Dear Emeline,
The insect in question is a Lacewing Larva, commonly called an Aphid Wolf.  It is a predator, and we cannot entirely discount that it might try to feed off a Monarch chrysalis, but we doubt that possibility.  It most definitely did not emerge from the Chrysalis.  Lacewing Larvae are generally thought of as beneficial in the garden as they eat Aphids and other small insects, and they hatch from an egg that is suspended above the leaf from a silken thread.

Aphid Wolf

Subject:  Doodlebugs in Western WA?
Geographic location of the bug:  Puyallup/Tacoma
Date: 06/26/2019
Time: 11:18 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We recently bought a new home and have found these numerous tiny divots all over the bark in the yard. I did some digging and found the culprit to be, what looks like, doodlebugs. Yet, I read that they seem to live in warmer, sandier climates. Should I be surprised to have found these little guys here? Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Shannon BH


Dear Shannon,
This is indeed a larval Antlion or Doodlebug.  Though they are frequently found in sandy soil, that is a generalization.  According to BugGuide data, Antlions are found in all 48 continental United States.

Subject:  Never seen this bug before
Geographic location of the bug:  Knoxville, TN
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 11:21 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I thought this bug looked cool and was trying to identify it! Found it on the bed in my house.
How you want your letter signed:  Jessie


Dear Jessie,
This is an Antlion larva, commonly called a Doodlebug.  They are generally found at the bottom of a pit in sandy soil where they lie buried with only their impressive mandibles exposed, waiting for unsuspecting prey, often Ants, to fall into the pit right into the hungry Doodlebug’s waiting jaws.  Interestingly, we just posted an image of an unknown larva that the querent mistook for an Antlion larva.

Subject:  Extinct trilobite found!
Geographic location of the bug:  Oklahoma
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 04:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this out by our pool. I realize it’s not really a trilobite, but it looks like one. Maybe an ant lion?
How you want your letter signed:  Gage

Owlfly Larva

Dear Gage,
We believe this is a Beetle larva, and we also believe we might have a similar image in our archives, but we cannot remember its identity.  Daniel is currently in Ohio, using pirated and very slow internet connections, and research is time consuming.  We are posting your marvelous submission as Unidentified and we hope our readership will come to our rescue and provide comments as to its identity.
  We would not rule out that it might be some species of Woodlouse (see BugGuide).  Can you perhaps provide an image of the ventral surface or tell us how many legs it has?

Update:  Owlfly Larva
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we researched Owlfly larvae on BugGuide and located this matching image.  Mystery solved.

Subject:  A nymph of some kind?
Geographic location of the bug:  Sappemeer, Netherlands
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 08:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
This looks to be a nymph of some kind. But I have no clue what it is. At first I thought it was a ladybug nymph until I saw the picture enlarged on my computer. This was taken just a couple days ago, on June 10, 2019.
How you want your letter signed:  Lizzie

Aphid Wolf

Dear Lizzie,
This is a beneficial Lacewing larva, sometimes called an Aphid Wolf after its preferred prey.

Subject:  What is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Southeast texas
Date: 05/12/2019
Time: 03:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Almost sat on it in car
How you want your letter signed:  holly

Aphid Wolf

Dear Holly,
This is a Lacewing Larva, commonly called an Aphid Wolf.  Many folks experience unprovoked bites from Lacewing larvae, and the irritation from a bite might last a week or longer, so in that sense, you are lucky you did not sit on it with exposed skin.  Though it causes some irritation, the bite of a Lacewing larva is not considered dangerous.  We are incredibly amused at the composition of your image.