Subject:  Colourful fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Oak Beach qld
Date: 02/14/2019
Time: 09:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Spotted this beautiful fly.  First time I have seen one like this.  Just wondering what it is
How you want your letter signed:  Rhonda

Tachinid Fly

Dear Rhonda,
This is a parasitic Tachinid Fly, and according to BugGuide:  “Larval stages are parasitoids of other arthropods; hosts include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some tachinids are very host-specific, others parasitize a wide variety of hosts. The most common hosts are caterpillars. Some tachinids deposit their eggs directly on the body of their host, and it is not uncommon to see caterpillars with several tachinid eggs on them. Upon hatching the larva usually burrows into its host and feeds internally. Full-grown larva leaves the host and pupates nearby.”  Your individual resembles this colorful Tachinid Fly from New Guinea.  The Museums Victoria Collection has a similar looking individual identified in the genus Rutilia.  This Rutilia species on FlickR also looks similar, but not exactly correct.  The Brisbane Insect site has images of several species in the genus Rutilia, and we believe the genus is correct, but we are not certain of the species.  Tachinid Flies are called Bristle Flies in Australia.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Is this a fly or a wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Stamsund, Lofoten Islands, Norway
Date: 02/15/2019
Time: 07:19 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I took this picture a couple of years ago in my garden and I never was able to find a proper answer. I wonder if you maybe can give me a clue at least? The colors are very much like a wasp, but the shape doesn’t. From what I remember, it’s bigger than a normal fly.
Cheers from Norway
How you want your letter signed:  Alberto Martinez

Hover Fly

Dear Alberto,
This is a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae, and many harmless members of the family benefit from mimicking stinging Bees or Wasps.  Based on this Wikimedia posting, we believe Blomsterfluer is the common name for Hover Fly in Norway.  Your individual looks very similar to 
Chrysotoxum arcuatum which is pictured on

Very cool! Thank you very much for all the information!
Regards from Norway

Hi again Alberto,
21 years ago, Daniel traveled to Oslo and had an exhibition at UKS called Rudimentary Particles.

Subject:  It looked like its legs were leaves
Geographic location of the bug:  Poland
Date: 02/15/2019
Time: 09:32 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I found this bug in my curtain, i’ve searched through google – its not phyllium and I dont think its coreidae’s family. I took it outside, but Im really curious what it is
How you want your letter signed:  Nikola

Masked Hunter

Dear Nikola,
This is an immature Masked Hunter, a beneficial, predatory Assassin Bug that will prey upon unwanted visitors in your home.  Masked Hunters seem to have adapted quite well to cohabitation with humans.  The appearance of its legs is due to the debris that sticks to its exoskeleton, a camouflage technique that benefits the Masked Hunter.  There is another family of True Bugs known as Leaf Footed Bugs, but that is a different family.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar eating water hyacinth
Geographic location of the bug:  Lake Hiawassee, Orlando, Florida
Date: 02/12/2019
Time: 02:02 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Closest I can find is Larva of the arctiid moth Paracles sp.
How you want your letter signed:  Phil

Tiger Moth Caterpillar on Water Hyacinth

Dear Phil,
We believe you might be correct.  We found an posting of
Paracles tenuis and the site states:  “Host:  common water hyacinth” and we are presuming the water hyacinth is the invasive species in question.  iNaturalist lists the genus Paracles in South America.  We don’t find the species listed on BugGuide, so this might be a new North American sighting.  Right now we are being thwarted in our research by a glacially slow internet.  We want to browse all Arctiinae caterpillars on BugGuide before we eliminate any native species.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks for the reply and your efforts in this matter. The one I sent you a picture escaped when I wasn’t looking. I found a second smaller one (earlier instar, picture attached) and am continuing to look for others as I am mechanically removing the water hyacinth from the lake as it is an exotic and extremely invasive plant. I will attempt to rear this and any others I find to the adult moth to better secure the identification.
Thanks so much for your help.

Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Dear Phil,
Good luck eradicating those water hyacinths, an invasive plant species from the Amazon.  We wonder if the caterpillars you found are part of a program to help control the water hyacinths with biological methods.  We look forward to any further updated you can provide, including images of the adult moth.

Tiger Moth Caterpillar



Subject:  What are these
Geographic location of the bug:  My shirt
Date: 02/12/2019
Time: 04:15 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  There are over a 100 all over my shirt but I can not see them well up close because they are so tiny. They look red but leave a yellow looking stain
How you want your letter signed:  Sue


Dear Sue,
We cannot determine with any accuracy what has caused the stains on your shirt.  Have you eaten spaghetti lately?

Subject:  Unknown bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  North California/Salinas
Date: 02/11/2019
Time: 02:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello. I’ve been plagued with this unknown bug almost a year. In all textiles in home & feels fine a “sting” to me. They hide in rug or cracks or under things & have what appears to be hair/horn they stick out above opening. Not sure but I assume pics are of different life-cycle stages. Can you identify?
How you want your letter signed:  Lelia

Unknown Plague

Dear Lelia,
We are unable to identify what is plaguing you.

Unknown Thing

Unknown Thing

Comment from Facebook follower Ayla Claire:
The third “unknown thing” appears to be a sunflower seed! Seek psychiatric help.

We agree with Ayla that the third unknown thing does appear to be a sunflower seed.  We thought that when we posted the image, but refrained from stating such an obvious observation.