What this bug?
Dear Bugman,
First, congrats on a great site!
Attached are two closeups of a bug, possibly a bed bug, found when stripping the sheets from our mattress. (We do this every week, but this is the only ‘visitor’ we’ve ever seen). Bug was not dead, but just lying there waving its little legs slowly. Could be because we had had a flea infestation (we>lying there waving its little legs slowly. Could be because we had had a flea infestation (we>sprayed the house and mattress with flea spray last year. Any way here it is…

Dear Richard,
I really wasn’t positive, so I sought out a true expert, Weiping at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles. Here is his answer:
“Thank you very much for your image. This is a Thylodrias larva (Coleoptera: Dermestidae: Thylodrias). It is very common in Los Angeles area. I collected it many times in our museum. Hopefully, the information will help you. Sincerely, Weiping”
I can add the Dermestidae is a family of beetles known as Carpet Beetles or Buffalo Bugs. They are fond of eating skins, furs, woolen materials and dried animal matter, and as a family, are the bane of the entomologist since they can quickly devour a prized insect collection.

Many thanks for the reply – I’m greatly relieved that its only a carpet beetle, and not something worse! Attached the second picture, which was of the head/jaws of the grub.
Best Regards, Richard

Dear Richard,
Thank you for the additional photo. I did find some additional information for you. The beetle Thylodrias contractus does not have the typical form of most Carpet Beetles. It is more elongate with long legs and antennae. I did find an interesting anecdote in Lutz’ book Field Book of Insects. He writes: “In 1908 Mrs. Slosson, the author of such charming stories as ‘Fishing Jimmy,’ published a description of a strange beetle that was eating her collection of insects. She playfully called it ‘Ignotus aenigmaticus.’ This name was in proper form and by the rules of the game remained the scientific name of the beetle until the discovery was made that the beetle was an introduction from Transcaucasia and had a prior name. It is now Thylodrias contractus. It eats like a Dermestid but does not look like one. The female is wingless and the male has no hind wings.” The beetle was originally described in Transcaucasia by Motschulsky.

Thanks again Daniel – two further questions,
1. do you have a picture of an adult?
2. Will my bug make it onto your website?

Hi Richard,
I have your letter ready for posting, but the site is currently down due to heavy traffic. I was expecting it to be up today, but still no luck. I know the site is up on the east coast, since I began getting additional letters. Check in a day or two. I have a photo of an adult and will attach it. It was previously identified only generally, but now there is an exact species name. Thank you for your interest.
Daniel

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I live in Windsor Ontario Canada. Yesterday I found a spider in the carpeted side of my basement. It was underneath a large toy in a corner. I have found this type of spider before in this room.This is also the playroom for my kids (yikes). I will try to get a digital photograph for you. It is darkish brown but not uniformly. It has some sort of markings on the back which were lighter brown or beige than the rest of the body. I thought it kind of looks like a skull. It was not a huge spider like a wolf spider but I wouldn’t call it small either. The body was bulbous. The basement is not what I would call wet, but it can be damp down there, with laundry facilities and storage nearby the playroom. Any ideas? I hate to spray because I am terrified of introducing those chemicals into my home, especially with the kids, but what are my options if it is a harmful spider like the brown recluse I’ve been reading about.

Dear Michael,
Not to be an alarmist, but it does sound like you might have a Brown Recluse, Loxosceles reclusa. There is plentiful information online, including this
site which provides the following description of the Brown Recluse: “Adult brown recluse spiders are soft-bodied, yellowish-tan to dark brown, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and have long, delicate grayish to dark brown legs covered with short, dark hairs. The leg span is about the size of a half dollar. Distinguishing characteristics are the presence of three pairs of eyes arranged in a semicircle on the forepart of the head and a violin-shaped, dark marking immediately behind the semicircle of eyes with the neck of the violin pointing towards the bulbous abdomen.” Here are a drawing and photo from that site.

Hi,
Great site!
Have a question about black widows. When we lived in the New Orleans area, we saw several spiders that were black and shaped just like a black widow, but had red markings on the top side of the abdomen.
I have not been able to find anything online that resembles them , and thought you might be able to help.
Thanks,
Mary P

Hi Mary,
First, the red hourglass is on the under side of the abdomen. There is a spider known as the False Widow, Steatoda grossa. Both the true and false widows belong to the Comb Footed Spider Family Theridiidae. The False Widow is a beneficial spider, reported to prey on its more poisonous relative. It also eats Sow Bugs. It is a hardier spider than the true Black Widow. We find them in our yard all the time, and will take a photo the next time.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

My five year old is in kindergarten and LOVES spiders. He has quite an impressive collection of toy spiders. He wants to identify them for a science fair. I have managed to find 2/3 of them in online photos and books, but the rest remain a mystery. There is a chance that the remaining ones are not actual representations of any real existing spiders. Is there any chance you’d be willing to give these spiders your best guess or just flat out say that there are no real spiders that look like this. I can lay them on my scanner and send a photo of them. I can completely understand if you don’t offer this type of help.
Thanks!
Jody
Clueless mother to a future arachnologist

Dear Jody,
By all means, do send the image.

Here’s the picture of them.
Thanks SO much! 🙂
Jody

Dear Jody,
These are definitely fantasy spiders, but several appear to be based on actual species.
The green spider in the upper left might be a Green Lynx Spider, Peucetia viridans. The small spider on the upper right seems to resemble a Jumping Spider, Family Salticidae. The yellow spider on the lower right could be a garden spider called the Golden Orb Weaver, Argiope aurantia. The middle spider on the right is most assuredly a Crab Spider, Family Thomisidae. The spider on the lower left seems to resemble a type of Fishing Spider of the genus Dolomedes. The remaining two spiders, the red and purple, resemble nothing I can call to mind. Here are the five spiders I have mentioned:

Thank you so much for your time and help!
He’ll love the photos you sent too.
He helped me search through a ton of webpages looking for pictures of
"his spiders" and we also looked through about 10 books from the library.
He just loves spiders.
Jody

Greetings from Texas, Mr. Bugman!
I have recently found a colony of pretty little insects in my garden, but I don’t know what they are. They have the body that reminds me of a mantis without the bobbley head. The 3/4″ slender body is bright red with tiny white spots, and the legs and antennae are black. Hopefully these graceful looking little creatures won’t be harmful to my flower garden.
–De Smith
New Braunfels, TX

Dear De Smith,
My first inclination was to say you might have Assassin Bugs, probably nymphs. I cannot give an exact species. We just got a photo of a young assasin bug that fits your description rather accurately. Here it is. these are beneficial. They are predators that will eat harmful insects.

Yes!! That’s what we have in our garden. Thanks so much for your research!
–De

Hi Bugman,
We just want to say THANKS! We found a most unusual-looking tiny bug while vacuuming our living room wood floor. It looked like a tick, but with crab-claws! Afraid it was some sort of parasite, we killed it. Then I searched in Google for "bug that looks like a crab or scorpion" and found your site – THANK YOU for putting our minds at ease, though now I feel guilty for killing it, since I found it’s a harmless Pseudoscorpion! We have a very old house with a stone foundation; we aren’t going to be bug-free so we keep spiders in our unfinished basement as a peaceful co-existence. We know they eat smaller disease-carrying insects, so they are good bugs. While we killed this little guy out of fear, we won’t kill any others we see. We’ll just relegate them to the basement.
Very cool site; thanks again.
Regards,
Donna

Dear Donna,
I’m happy we could be of service.