Green and Yellow Caterpillar
Location: Kasane, Botswana
January 14, 2011 5:05 pm
This is rainy season in Kasane, Botswana and I saw this beautiful green and yellow striped caterpillar with a spike on his back end. Can you please let me know if it is poinsonous and what it will become? Thank you.
Signature: Laura Marchitto Massie

Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Laura,
This is a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth Caterpillar, known as a Hornworm.  We believe it is an early instar of the Death’s Head Hawkmoth,
Acherontia atropos, based on a photo on the Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic website.  As the caterpillar molts through successive instars, the horn becomes proportionally smaller.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Texas woods insect
Location: River Legacy Park, between Dallas and Fort Worth, TX
January 14, 2011 11:42 pm
I found this insect clinging to a tree as I wondered through a wooded park in Arlington Texas. It’s a fairly moist area, with elms, oaks, willows, pines, and cottonwoods, and an assortment of low growing brush and vines.
Unfortunately this guy looked like he’d been dead a while and has possibly been decapitated. The body is almost beetle like, but the long protrusions/legs on the back end have me stumped. If that is the back end.
The body was around .75” long, with legs 1.5”. Wish now I’d collected it. 😛
Thanks! Hope to hear from you guys.
Mandy
Signature: The Little Katydid That Could

Mutilated Carpenter Ant we believe

Hi Mandy,
We are in agreement with you that this image does not represent a complete insect, but we disagree with you that it has been decapitated.  At first we were confused, as were you, regarding the front of the creature, but we now believe that this is a mutilated Carpenter Ant with a missing abdomen.  In most insects, the abdomen contains the most nutritional value, and predators will often feed on the abdomen of the prey leaving behind the harder head, thorax and extremities.  Think of eating a lobster.  It is all about the tail.  We are linking to an image of a Carpenter Ant on BugGuide that you may use as a comparison.  What you have mistaken for legs on the back end would seem to be the antennae on the head.

OH! Now that you say that I can see it. 🙂 Good grief, that sucker was huge. Thanks, Daniel!

Bee Fly from Ecuador
Location: Quito, Ecuador
January 15, 2011 1:44 am
I photographed this insect just outside Quito, Ecuador, on 2-Nov-10. I believe it to be a Bee Fly but know almost nothing about inscts of Ecuador. Can anyone help with identification?
Signature: Bill

Tachinid Fly

Hi Bill,
In our opinion, this is a Tachinid Fly in the family Tachinidae.  According to BugGuide, a website dedicated to North American species:  “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. Most 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. Some tachinids lay their eggs on foliage; the larvae are flattened and are called planidia; they remain on the foliage until they find a suitable host.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Spider I between front door and glass door
Location: Gloucester, Virginia
January 14, 2011 12:43 am
I have never seen a spider like this before, nor have I since taking this picture. I took it with my cell phone so its not the best in the world but you can get the idea. It was whitish with a dark maybe black line all the way down its body. It was pretty big also.
Signature: Sleeps

Nursery Web Spider

Dear Sleeps,
This gorgeous spider is
Pisaurina mira, a harmless Nursery Web Spider, and by the looks of her full body, she is ready to lay eggs.  A Nursery Web Spider constructs a nursery web for the eggs and spiderlings and fiercely guard her brood.

I am glad I caught her and released her in the woods then.  I normally kill spiders that get inside the house but this one looked different so I decided to let it go.

Thank you for your thoughtfulness.  She is much better off in the woods where she can protect her brood.

Mites in worm farm?
Location: Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia
January 13, 2011 9:33 pm
Dear Bugman
I’m wondering if you can help me identify these bugs which seem to be taking over my worm farm? The worms look a little distressed (crawling up to the very top and down to the very bottom of the farm) but not too worried (none have escaped yet.
Do these bugs feed on worms? Bite humans?
Thanks for your help!
Signature: Jess

Mite

Hi Jess,
Identifying Mites to the species level, or even family level is something well past our means and requires the expertise of an acarologist, however we will post your excellent photos in the hope that someone with more knowledge in the field than we possess might someday provide an answer to your questions.  It does appear that you might have two different Mites in your worm farm.

MIte

Curious bug found in kitchen
Location: Camarillo, Ca
January 13, 2011 2:50 am
Hello bugman,
I live in Southern California, Ventura county, and found a bunch of these bugs on my kitchen floor. They all seemed to perish soon after I discovered them.
Anyway I took a picture, and was hoping you could identify these bugs. To give an idea of scale, pictured next to the bug are the tines ofn a fork.
Signature: Mystified in Camarillo

Lawn Shrimp

Dear Mystified,
This is a Lawn Shrimp or House Hopper, a terrestrial amphipod that can become quite numerous in gardens.  Though it needs a damp environment to survive, it shuns saturated soil, so heavy rains cause Lawn Shrimp to seek drier locations like garages and homes where they promptly dry out and die.  The Lawn Shrimp is not a native crustacean, but an introduction to Southern California that was accidentally imported from Australia.  Like many Australian natives, Lawn Shrimp find the climate in Southern California to their liking and they proliferate.

Dear Bugman,
Thank you so much for solving this mystery and maintaining your website.  I will definitely contribute!
Regards,
Mystified