Currently viewing the category: "Potato Bugs, Wetas and Parktown Prawns"

Subject:  Bu Jiminy, it’s a huge cricket!
Geographic location of the bug:  Borneo
Date: 09/29/2017
Time: 06:33 PM EDT
Dear Bug-dudes, on the road up to Mt. Kinabalu I foolishly picked this monster up to get a size comparison photo – it chomped the end of my bird-flipping finger and drew ridiculous amounts of blood … for a cricket!! I guess it’s about 3 1/2″ long.  A fantastic beast indeed, as are so many on this amazing island.  I’m very surprised that my googling has not revealed the animals true identity – help would be appreciated.
How you want your letter signed:  Paul Prior

Large Ensiferan from Borneo

Dear Paul,
This looks to us like a close relative of North American Potato Bug, or a King Cricket from Australia or Parktown Prawn from South Africa.  We located an image on ShutterStock, but alas, it is only identified as a “giant cricket in Sabah, Borneo.”  We hope to have a better identification for you soon.  We will attempt to contact Piotr Naskrecki.

Possibly Sia incisa

Piotr Naskrecki provides an identification
Hi Daniel,
This looks like Sia, possibly S. incisa, a distant relative of North American Jerusalem crickets.
Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Ed. Note:  We found a matching image on Wikiwand.

Large Ensiferan

Thanks guys, this is brilliant. Certainly looks pretty close to the pics I see on the internet. No mention of size and the map doesn’t show Borneo, but perhaps there’s another larger species occurring on that island (which so many examples of “gigantism”!).

Subject:  What IS this???
Geographic location of the bug:  Kennewick, WA, USA
Date: 09/27/2017
Time: 02:14 AM EDT
This thing was making the creepiest tapping sound outside my door and is pretty large. (May need to zoom in on the picture). Never seen one before. Help! Should I worry???
How you want your letter signed:  Curious and a little creeped out

Potato Bug

Dear Curious and a little creeped out,
Commonly called a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, this fascinating creature is quite common in Southern California and other parts of the American southwest, but BugGuide data indicates a far greater range including Washington.  Potato Bugs are not considered harmful toward humans, however, they do have powerful mandibles and they might bite if carelessly handled.

Subject:  who is THIS?
Geographic location of the bug:  solvang California
Date: 09/18/2017
Time: 04:34 PM EDT
this bug invaded our high school girlfriends weekend reunion in cali & caused lots of screaming & near-wetting-of pants
How you want your letter signed —
queenie & lulu

Potato Bug

Dear Queenie & Lulu,
Just out of curiosity, was the high school that inspired the girlfriends’ weekend reunion from elsewhere?  The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket is a real Southern California icon, and most children who grow up in the southland know about them.  Based on your images, it appears that it headed to the pool.  That might be a sign it has been parasitized by a Horsehair Worm or Gordian Worm, an internal parasite that causes the Potato Bug to seek water, at which point the long, hairlike worm burst out, killing the Potato Bug.  Seeing that might have caused some actual “wetting of pants.”

thank you for your reply! yes, indeed we went to high school in des moines, iowa. two of the girls live in california (we were staying at one of their homes near santa barbara, at alisal ranch) and they have lived there for many years so i guess they are lucky not to have encountered such a creepy cali icon previously!
i knew i would find out what this bug was because my one time grand dog’s portable water dish got a cricket in it that DID spawn a horsehair worm so i’ve had that experience as well….SO ICKY (did not wet my pants tho, whew).
i forwarded the girls my email to you folks with the attached note to them:  Kate, Karla & Becky…do you remember me telling you on the way to the airport I would figure out this bug based on my experience of finding out about horsehair worms that hatched out of crickets that got into Oliver’s water when I took him to nitefall on the river? HOW.CRAZY.IS.THAT.

Subject: Bug ID
Location: California
June 23, 2017 8:52 pm
Found in California. Very unusual to see something like this in California.
Signature: Joan C.

Potato Bug

Dear Joan,
We beg to differ with you.  The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket is a Southern California icon, and it is one of the most frequent identification requests we receive.  Potato Bugs are subterranean dwellers that use their front legs to quickly dig through the earth like a mole.

Potato Bug

Subject: Koring kriek
Location: South africa thabazimbi
December 31, 2016 2:27 pm
Hello mr bugman .
Can you please confim if this is a koring kriek
Signature: Za kriek

African Jerusalem Cricket

African Jerusalem Cricket

Dear Za kriek,
The Koringkriek and your insect are both Longhorned Orthopterans, but they are in different families.  Your individual is an African Jerusalem Cricket in the genus
Sia based on images we located on iSpot.  According to iSpot, the family is known as Sand Crickets or Sandkrieke.

Aaa great stuff thank you for the effort

Subject: What this bug is
Location: LA
December 10, 2016 5:16 pm
Does anybody know what this giant bug is?
Signature: bug id

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket is one of the most iconic southern California insects.  Most sightings occur in the fall and winter, and sightings usually coincide with rain.