Hi Bugman,
Could you help me identify this spider. We have these every year, usually from spring to fall and they seem to enjoy the bathroom more than anywhere else. Some of them are small and other very large measuring about 3 – 5 inches of leg span. They come back very quickly, it doesn’t matter how many times we remove them and clean up after them. They are back within a couple of days. Sometimes we have up to 20 at a time. They aren’t bothersome. They seem to like to use hair and thread in their webs and I never see them catch food and eat. What are they? This particular one seems to have a big ball she / he is holding onto with little bumps all over. Is that an egg sack. I have searched for many years trying to find this spider but have had no luck. We live in the Northwestern mountains of New Jersey. I have a few other spiders that I have yet to get pictures of and will post them also when I do.

Hi Kathy,
Search no further. You have Long Bodied Cellar Spiders,
Pholcus phalangioides. These are domestic spiders, often found in the bathroom. Sometimes when the web is disturbed, the spider gyrates wildly. That does appear to be an eggsac. One of your photos also shows a discarded skin from a prior molt.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what is this?
Hi – We love your site.
Hopefully you can help us. We live in Mid Michigan (Lansing) and my son (age 6) found this exoskeleton on a walk today. I don’t even know where to begin to find out what it is. (Well, I do, because I’m sending you an email.)
Lysne (and Liam)

Hi Lysne and Liam,
I’m guessing you found this exoskeleton near a pond or other body of water. It is the final molted skin of a dragonfly. The larvae, known as nymphs, are aquatic and predatory. They have an amazing detachable jaw that emerges as the nymph attacks prey, small aquatic insects, tadpoles and even fish. The nymph eventually crawls out of the water, molts and flies away as an adult dragonfly. Isn’t metamorphosis amazing?

I found this guy while fishing for brown trout near a little spring feed creek in Southwest Michigan (8/30/04). The creek has dense tree cover over it. This guys was on a telephone pole by the road. The body was about three to four inches long and with it’s legs it outstretched, it was easily as big as my hand. It seems like a bigger version of a crane fly. I suspect the trout probably feast on these guys when they are in their emergent phase? Here is a couple images. Thank you.

Thanks Russ,
I can’t give you an exact species name, but you do have one of the larger Craneflies from the Family Tipulidae. The insect is nicely camoflauged against the dead wood. You are probably right that they make good trout food. They are sometimes thought to be giant mosquitos, but they are in fact harmless to man.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Huge Scary Spider, I’m shaking as I type this!
I am from Austin, Texas and we have a very scary spider we’ve been keeping alive (sometimes even feeding it!) on our wooden porch Might I add that this area is wooded with no water close by. His/Her web is a typical spider’s web you see in movies, not a funnel web or an orb web. It usually only comes out at night, burrowing between the metal and the glass during the day. It also usually sits with its legs drawn in. Today I got a special treat, because it had just finished with its molting phase and its web was disturbed so its legs were extended and it out during the day to pose for my camera. The pictures lighten its abdomen markings as they are more of a dark brown with visible hairs, and there are dark brown and white stripes on his legs. In addition his butt is kind of raised up, in the shape of a tear drop. Might I add that I just went outside to check on it, and it jumped from the wall, falling to the ground. I’ve never noted aggressive behaviour before like this, nor have I seen it jump before. I’m so scared now because its very fast, and when its legs are extended, its larger than a half dollar.
Please help!
PS, I took a picture of the molted shell, and feel free to edit any of this!

Hi Rissa,
You have a Barn Spider, Araneus cavaticus. The spider builds a large orb web at night and stands in it, but generally seeks shelter above the web during the day. It is usually found in shady locations.

Apologies for the bad photo; I used my camera/phone. The insect is brown with darker brown stripes length-wise down its body. Its legs are striped width-wise. He’s soft-bodied (like a caterpillar), and quite clean, cleaning each leg meticulously. Not knowing what to feed it, I gave it strips of fresh carrot, and a few pieces of dry dog food. It has 14 pair of legs, 2 antennae in the front, and 2 antennae-like in the rear. His legs move in a wave-type motion. It has a pair of claws in the front, 2 eyes, and a ’round’ face (for lack of a better description). I searched different sites trying to ID this creature. I was unsuccessful. Would you assist me in identifying this great insect?
Thank you!

Hi Judy,
Your House Centipede pet is not an insect. Try feeding it live insects, like flies. You can even buy crickets from the pet store as food. They will not bit. Most people who send us letters concerning House Centipedes are terrified. Your letter was refreshing.

ID help
I would like some help with the attached photo. My first thought is its some sort of egg case. I’ve done a lot of searching on the INTERNET and have asked a few knowledgeable friends with no luck. The photo was taken 08/25/2004 in the Charlotte North Carolina area.

Hi Rod,
You don’t have an egg case, but a caterpillar. It is a Skiff Moth, Prolimacodes badia, one of the Slug Caterpillars. There are several color variations of the caterpillar, but this site has a photo that closely resembles yours. The caterpillars which can be found from July through October feed on cherries, oaks, and many other woody plants.