Subject: a recording of the voice of a leafcutter ant
Location: Eagle Pass, TX
September 18, 2016 1:27 pm
Dear bugman,
Years ago I caught a very large leafcutter soldier ant, and temporarily put her inside a tiny transparent plastic box for an SD card. The box was barely big enough for the enormous ant, so small that if you pressed your finger down on the box, it would cause discomfort to the ant. I noticed what seemed to be noise coming from the ant when it experienced this discomfort, so I got a digital microphone and set it over the edge of the SD card box (so that the stronger edge would support its weight and not press on the ant), then squeezed the ant a little bit with my finger, just enough to get a reaction (I am sorry, but I did it for science, the ant was not harmed at all but it did go through an annoying time for a few seconds). I converted the recording to an mp3, which you can download below. I thought you might be interested in hearing this. I had no idea ants had a voice!
http://img.2yr.net/leafcutter_ant.mp3
Signature: Humberto

Texas Leaf Cutting Ant

Texas Leaf Cutting Ant

Dear Humberto,
Thanks for sending in both your excellent images of a Texas Leaf Cutting Ant or Leafcutter Ant,
Atta texana, as well as your marvelous sound recording.  According to BugGuide:  “In Texas these ants damage weeds, grasses, plum and peach trees, blackberry bushes and many other fruit, nut and ornamental plants as well as several cereal and forage crops. The ants do not eat the leaf fragments they collect, but take them into their underground nest where they use the material to raise a fungus garden. As the fungus grows, certain parts of it are eaten by the ants and fed to the larvae. This fungus is their only known source of food.  Leaf cutting ants will attack pine trees but ordinarily they do little damage when other green plants are available. During the winter when green plant material is scarce, seedling pines are frequently damaged in parts of east Texas and west central Louisiana. Where ants are abundant, it is almost impossible to establish natural pine reproduction. In such sites, young pine seedlings often are destroyed within a few days unless the ants are controlled before planting.”

Texas Leaf Cutting Ant

Texas Leaf Cutting Ant

Thank you, Mr. Marlos! I am happy to contribute the images and audio to your website. J
Cheers!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Arrow spider and goldenrod
Location: Troy, VA
September 18, 2016 12:22 pm
Hi Daniel,
I’m trying hard not to inudate you with photos, but I thought you might like this image of an arrow spider by some goldenrod. While the spider is not using the goldenrod as direct source of food, it is nicely camouflaged by the goldenrod and seems to be using it as a way to hunt insects that do feed on the goldenrod. The yellow of the spider and the yellow of the goldenrod are remarkably similar. Also, it’s such a cool little spider.
Signature: Grace Pedalino

Arrowhead Micrathena

Arrowshaped Micrathena

Dear Grace,
One couldn’t help but to disagree more with your belief that this Arrowshaped Micrathena “is not using the goldenrod as a direct source of food” because though it is not eating the goldenrod, it is eating the insects that are attracted to the goldenrod.  While Arrowhead Micrathenas would survive without the goldenrod, we believe that they and other orbweavers as well as carnivorous insects including preying mantids thrive in a goldenrod meadow.  This is a marvelous addition to our Goldenrod Meadow tag and we agree heartily that the coloration of the Arrowshaped Micrathena is perfect with the goldenrod.  Here is a nice BugGuide image of an Arrowhead Micrathena.  We forgot that we had a 10 Most Beautiful Spiders tag, and we are adding your Arrowhead Micrathena to that tag.

Arrowhead Micrathena

Arrowshaped Micrathena

Arrowhead Micrathena

Arrowshaped Micrathena

Subject: More Spider Fungus?
Location: Milwaukee, WI
September 18, 2016 1:45 pm
Took this photo in the crypt area in the basement of the Cavalry Cemetery Chapel in Milwaukee, WI. A living spider is in the picture too as well as something else that is much more prominent. It reminded me of this: https://www.wired.com/2012/12/spider-building-spider/, but then I saw your posts and concluded that it was a living spider alongside a dead one overtaken by fungus (definitely dead because I touched it and, thank goodness, it didn’t move!). I wonder if the living one will soon suffer the same fate. Anyway, I thought you’d like another photo of this phenomena. Thanks for your great website!
Signature: Allison Jornlin

Spider with Fungus Infection

Spider with Fungus Infection

Dear Allison,
Thank you for submitting your image of a Cellar Spider infected with fungus.  There has been quite a robust challenge to our stand that these Fungus Riddled Spiders are generally dead.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth?
Location: Northeast Oklahoma
September 18, 2016 3:58 pm
Found this walking into my house on my front screendoor. The bottom looks like hundreds of tiny legs like fibers
Signature: Amber

Asp

Tabanid Eggs

Dear Amber,
This is an Asp, the stinging Caterpillar of a Puss Moth.  Asps should be handled with extreme caution to avoid contact with the stinging hairs.  We love your image through the screen which shows the ventral surface.

Asp

Horse or Deer Fly Eggs

Karl Provides a Correction:  Horse Fly Eggs
Hi Daniel:
The photos provided by Amber are a little fuzzy but this doesn’t look like a caterpillar to me, especially the underside (head, legs and prolegs should be visible). I think this may actually be a Tabanid egg cluster, perhaps ta deer fly. The Bugguide site has an underside photo that looks very similar. Regards Karl

Subject: Can you identify this beetle?
Location: East Windsor, CT
September 18, 2016 1:17 pm
Hello,
A beetle flew in my drivers side window & struck me in the forehead. After safety pulling over I found between my seat a interesting bug I’d not seen before. It looks like a cross between a bumble bee & beetle. Orange and black back curtly Anita, about the size of a Quarter. I snapped some pictures, could you help me identify it?
Signature: Michael Liebler

Tomentose Burying Beetle and Mite

Tomentose Burying Beetle and Phoretic Mite

Dear Michael,
This is a Tomentose Burying Beetle,
Nicrophorus tomentosus, a species that can be distinguished from other Sexton Beetles in the same genus, according to BugGuide, by “dense yellow hair on pronotum distinctive,” a trait that adds to its resemblance to a Bumble Bee.  Burying Beetles or Sexton Beetles get their common name because they locate bodies of dead animals like mice, birds and even snakes which they bury after laying eggs on them.  According to BugGuide:  “Remarkable parental care: adults bury a small carcass, lay eggs in it, and stay to feed the young on regurgitated carrion.”  If you look closely at the image with the linoleum-like background, you can see a Phoretic Mite crawling on the pronotum.  Phoretic Mites have symbiotic relationships with Sexton Beetles, often covering them in great numbers for the sole purpose of hitching a ride to a prospective food source.  According to BugGuide:  “Phoretic mites are invariably present on Nicrophorus adults and may be involved in a symbiotic relationship with the beetles. These mites feed on any fly eggs that may be in the surrounding soil or on the carcass and which would otherwise hatch into maggots, competing (with Nicrophorus larvae) for the carrion (Springett 1968). In turn, the mites receive transportation to and from food sources that would otherwise be inaccessible to them, because carcasses are randomly distributed in place and time, and are a highly unpredictable resource. Four families of mites occur on the beetles: Parasitidae, Anoetidae, Uropodidae, and Macrochelidae. Poecilochirus mites (Parasitidae) form the largest and most active group of mites on the adult beetles….”

Tomentose Burying Beetle

Tomentose Burying Beetle

Subject: Re: Leaf Footed Bug / Unknown??
Location: South East of England, Harwich, Essex
September 15, 2016 4:09 pm
Dear Daniel (The Bugman),
Please would you kindly consider helping me identify the bug in the photos? We have come across 4 of these bugs in less than 72 hours. The first one found on my wardrobe door – the next appeared on the bathroom net curtain. Just tonight, we found another walking across a bed and to our horror another in that same bed less than 20 minutes later. As you can imagine it’s proven to be quite alarmingly as we have never seen one or these before in our life – let alone four of these in quick succession. It’s a worry in case they are dangerous insect. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but a person in my household got bitten twice on the arm in the night a week ago and whatever it were pierced the skin to draw blood. She often gets beaten by gnats due to having a rare blood group though it never pierces the skin like it did on this occasion. I could be over-worrying here for nothing although the insect had similar resemblances to “Leaf Footed Bug” except I don’t think we get those in the UK. We also found a Black Widow Spider in our shed in recent weeks meaning anything is surely possible given this heatwave and hotter weather.
I would appreciate your assistance if your team has time. 🙂
Thank you so much,
Signature: Chris

Hi Daniel,
Here is an update. We just found another one since my email.
This is a crystal clear photo
Any ideas please? :/
Cheers,
Chris

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Dear Chris,
Thanks for sending a sharper image.  This is indeed a Leaf Footed Bug, more specifically a Western Conifer Seed Bug,
Leptoglossus occidentalis, a species native to the Pacific Northwest.  Its range began expanding in the in the mid 20th Century, and now it is found across North America as evidenced by this BugGuide map.  We suspect the range expansion is related to human travel and to the fact that this species often enters homes to hibernate as the weather begins to cool.  Early in the 21st Century, Western Conifer Seed Bugs were reported in Europe and now sightings in the UK and other parts of Europe are relatively frequent.  According to BugGuide:  “recently introduced to Europe (first record: Italy 1999) and now widespread there.”  According to British Bugs:  “A very large and spectacular squashbug which has characteristic expansions on the hind tibiae and a white zigzag mark across the centre of the forewings.   Native to the USA and introduced into Europe in 1999, it has since spread rapidly and during 2008-2011 influxes of immigrants were reported from the coast of southern England, with a wide scatter of records inland.  The bug feeds on pines and is probably well-established here; nymphs have been found at several locations. It is attracted to light and may enter buildings in search of hibernation sites in the autumn.”

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for the quick response! 🙂
I must apologise for my delayed response thought had already replied.
Your response was very reassuring and a huge relieve!
Keep up the great work! 🙂
Cheers,
Chris