scary spider
Hello, I’ve been looking on the web for about an hour now trying to identify this spider that I found today in a wooded area in Maryland. It’s size(3 to 3 1/2 inches or so sprawled out) and menacing appearance scared me today when I turned over a board. Can you please identify this for me? When I tried to scare it off of the board ( I didn’t want to squash it), it released a white substance out of its rear at me.
Thanks for your help,

Hi Sid,
Your photograph of a Fishing Spider from the genus Dolomedes is pretty great. These awesome spiders are actually capable of walking on water and then diving below the surface where they can remain more than 30 minutes. Sometimes they even catch small fish, hence the common name. They are also called Nursery Web Spiders because of the maternal behavior the females exhibit. Though large, they are not dangerous to humans. Your species is most probably Dolomedes tenebrosus or Dark Dolomedes. It is one of the largest species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Help Identify This Bug For Us
Please help. We have about 20 of these bugs digging in the dirt right outside our front door. They are digging these funnel shaped holes in the dirt. I have enclosed a picture. Please let me know if these bugs are dangerous to plants etc. Also, please note these bugs play dead when you capture them. If they are harmless that would be fine. We just want to make sure they are not a nuisance.
Thank you again,
Mark and Erika Blume

Hi Mark and Erika,
Nice photo of a Doodlebug, the immature Ant Lion. They are actually helpful if you have ant problems. The larva dig pits and wait at the bottom for ants to stumble into their waiting jaws.

strange car infestation
A few months ago, I was constantly bothered by the sensation of bugs walking on me. We’ve had a lot of ant problems at our house, and frequently there would indeed be an ant walking around on me. But the problem continued even in the absence of any visible ant or other bug. Finally I stormed into the bathroom to take a good look in the mirror and find out what was walking on my face. I found a barely visible bug on my cheek, which I removed with Scotch tape. Not only would I be appalled to find that I had lice, but these bugs do not fit the description of lice. They are far smaller than a sesame seed, which is usually used to describe the size of a louse. Nonetheless, I had to do something; as I was shopping for lice spray at Walgreen’s, one of these bugs walked out onto my thumb, which provided a perfect opportunity to test the spray. It appeared to kill the bug, so I sprayed my couch, mattress, and pillows, and washed everything. The next day the problem seemed reduced but I still felt crawly. During the evening I got in my car to drive across town, and I found bugs walking across a map I had just printed out and thrown on the passenger seat a few minutes earlier. I checked some other papers on the seat and realized that my car was infested with these things. I couple of weeks earlier, the carpet behind the driver’s seat had become soaked (with clean water) when I started to wash the car without realizing that the window was down slightly. Could this have caused the proliferation? Hm. I was forced to set off a full-room insect fogger inside my Mustang convertible, despite warnings that the product isn’t to be used in a room smaller than 5′ x 5′. I taped protective plastic over the speedometer window and the radio beforehand. I’m happy to report that the bugs were eliminated, the car unharmed, and even the "pine" smell dissipated in a couple of weeks. Of course, a convertible is easy to air out. I attached pictures of these creatures taken through a microscope. The object in the main shot is the point of a thumb-tack for scale; these bugs are probably the smallest I’ve ever seen. The bugs’ legs are longer than was immediately apparent; you can see them better in one of the shots. I live in L.A. Thanks for any insight!
Gavin Stokes

Hi Gavin,
We checked with Eric Eaton who concurred you have some species of Mite. He recommends contacting an Acarlogist at Ohio State University if you need to know the species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

please identify these bugs
My property has become infested with millions of little vibrant red bugs. The look like tiny spiders or mites. if you squash them, they leave bright red marks like blood stains. They are everywhere on our driveway, the exterior walls and windows of the property. Absolutely everything outside is covered with them. They appeared last summer and were gone before winter. They have returned about 2 months ago and are much worse than last year. I have washed the driveways down with pesticides and soap which kills them off, but by the next morning, they are all back again. Please help me to get rid of them. My house is located next to allotments and there is about 1/2 acre of lawn in my backyard. a few trees and small shrubs. I think they might be red spider mites.
Thank you in advance,

Hi Lee,
Your Mites are the good guys, Predatory Running Mites. If they are plentiful, there must be a food source, possibly damaging insects or other arthropods, upon which they are feeding. Sorry we do not offer extermination advice.

Update From Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Predatory running mites. All of the mites in the photos you call by this name are species in the family Erythraeidae, genus Balaustium. I think you have these confused with species in the family Anystidae, genus Anystis. Both of these mites are relatively large (for mites!), red in color, and commonly occur in aggregations. Anystis are the very fast moving, predatory mites. Their body is almost circular in outline. They run in what appears to be a random fashion until they encounter small arthropod prey. These are harmless to people. Balaustium, on the other hand, are more elongate as seen in your photos, with a distinct gap between the 2nd and 3rd legs. Species of Erythraeidae have piercing mouthparts and are also predatory on small arthropods or eggs in their post-larval stages, but Balaustium are unusual in being pollen feeders. They can be found in large numbers in flowers, but are most often seen by people on flat surfaces where pollen falls. These mites have been reported to bite people, causing some irritation, although why they do this is uncertain since they’re not parasitic.

Can you identify this?
I found this in forest litter in foothills of Colorado at about 8000 ft. elevation last fall. I saw several of them glowing green in the dark and was able to find a couple and photograph them. I am attaching several photo’s and from looking at your site it may be a firefly, but I have lived here for 45 years and have never seen these before. I appreciate any information you can provide as to what this is. I can’t believe I found this web site and still have the photo! Thanks!
Bill Trust

Hi Bill,
We wrote to Eric Eaton to see if he knew a species name for your Glowworm. We wrote back saying he would check with another expert. Here is Eric’s query followed by the expert’s thoughts: “Q Dear Art: I did not know there was anything like this in Colorado! Any ideas? A John Wagener Green revised Microphotus in 1959 (Coleopterists Bulletin 13: 80-96). The only species he lists from Colorado is Microphotus pecosensis Fall. Fall described this species in 1912 from specimens collected in June and July in New Mexico. Green also recorded this species from Arizona, California, Texas, Utah, and Chihuahua. His Colorado records include Royal Gorge, Junction Creek, San Luis Valley, and Stollsheimer. He notes that they were all females collected in June and July and that, although their identities are not certain, they are probably pecosensis. The pink females are said to closely resemble the more common CA species, M. angustus LeConte and have 6-segmented antennae, 4-segmented tarsi. The CO specimens all have 3-segmented “

Update:  June 12, 2018
Based on a brand new posting, we realized we never changed the subject line of this posting to correctly identify this as a Firefly and not a true Glowworm.

Let’s I.D.this one that whines when picked up
I’ve got another one for you, I have looked all around your beetle pages and can’t seem to id this one. When It was picked up it may a noise like a crying baby and once again we need you assistance to identify it. I thought it may be some type of stag beetle because of the jaws, but it just isn’t the right color. Thanks again, Tiffany

Hi Tiffany,
We thought this looked like one of the ground beetles, but we checked with Eric Eaton for a second opinion. Here is his response: “Well, yes, this is a carabid….sort of:-) Depends on whether you still consider tiger beetles a separate family! This looks to be a specimen of Megacephala virginica. If it has ivory marks on the tips of the wing covers then it is M. carolina. Yes, they are cool!” Tiger Beetles belong to the Family Cicindelidae and they are voracious hunters that prey on many injurious insects.

Update (08/22/2006)
Hello Lisa Anne and Daniel, I recently came across your website and I was pleased to see such a vibrant (and well-done) site. I’m an entomologist and evolutionary biologist (specializing on the systematics, taxonomy and evolution of tiger beetles and their close relatives) and I have to say that I’m impressed with your accuracy rate! It’s much, much better than other comparable sites I’ve come across over the years. The two of you must really love insects. In any case, I noticed that you are open to information from specialists, so I thought I’d give you a few ID’s of species that I came across on your pages. I was having trouble sleeping, so I went through all of the tiger beetles, scaratines, etc and checked them out. Here you go: I’ll bookmark your site and check it out when I’m having trouble sleeping again!
This is indeed a Megacephala (Tetracha) species, but actually M. carolina. You can most easily tell the two US species of Megacephala apart by coloration. M. carolina has a rainbow-colored back… red, green, and unpigmented cream-colored areas at the tip of the back (elytra). M. virginica is much bigger (17-22 mm) and is entirely dark metallic black-green on the back except for the cream-colored markings. It also has a noticeably rougher texture. Hope that helps! The whine is called “stridulation” and often occurs when some species of insects are picked up (a number of insects do this). And yes, the majority of professional insect systematists recognize tiger beetles as a subfamily/supertribe within the Carabidae. Nice photo!
Daniel P. Duran
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN