Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Subject: Meet my newest, weirdest friend…
Location: San Diego, CA
October 13, 2014 12:22 am
Hey guys,
I’m baffled. Found this guy skittering along the sidewalk in front of a friend’s house around midnight. Looks like some kind of huge, wingless wasp/ant/kewpie doll. It’s thorax, legs & head are all “ant red”, if you will, while its abdomen is this incredible striped black & gold. Couldn’t tell if he has a stinger, but he’s pretty big (thumb-sized) and has great legs. When we locked eyes (yes, he’s big enough that I could see them clearly), I could swear we shared a moment. Hahaha!
Signature: Bella

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Dear Bella,
This magnificent and unforgettable insect is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, two common names for an unusual group of insects in the genus
Stenopelmatus.  Potato Bugs are rather iconic Southern California insects, and their large size and humanoid appearance make them one of our most frequent identification requests.  They are very common, though they are not encountered that often because, according to BugGuide:  “Most of their lives are spent underground. Damp, sandy soil is preferred.”

Tagged with →  
Location: San Diego, California

6 Responses to Meet a Potato Bug

    • bugman says:

      How are you able to identify the species from the image? According to BugGuide which doesn’t identify any Potato Bugs to the species level: “Nearctica.com lists 8 species of Stenopelmatus. Capinera (1) states the genus needs revision, with 14 species currently described in the family, but more than 60 North American species likely–most presumably in this genus.” Even Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin only identifies Potato Bugs to the genus level.

  1. When my wife first saw one of these she asked me to call the National Guard. Lol

  2. Don't mind me says:

    Where I like, we call them, child of the earth. They are Egyptian crickets aka Jerusalem cricket.
    They do bite, and I heard they are poisonous. I found one on my room floor in the middle of the night. It was the biggest/fattest one I’ve seen. I heard they are rare also (though I’ve seen them more often that regular crickets.) So I don’t kill them, and just place them outside. (Though I seriously don’t know how it got inside my room, air vents?) I live in the last room of my apartment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.