Dear What’s that Bug,
On vacation a few weeks ago we spotted quite a big, wonderful insect, but we’re note able to find it in any of our books. Can you tell more about it ? The most impressing thing was it’s size, it’s really huge for an insect I think… We found it in the french pyrenees at about 1800 mtr height, walking in the grass. It looks grasshopper-like at first glance. has six green legs, but the hind legs are not really bigger then te rest as with regular grasshoppers. It didn’t seem to jump, just walked. The body is mainly green with yellowish segments or rings, totally about 5 or 6 cm long, 1.5 cm thick. No wings, and a large scary-looking brown ‘needle’ at it’s back (about 2 cm long ?). Head and body are separated by a brownish stiff-looking joint. Any idea what this could be ?

Dear Ico,
My guess is a member of the order Orthoptera, which includes crickets, grasshoppers, mantids and the like. No wings implies an immature or nymph stage. It could be a walking stick or even a French praying "preying" mantis. A more detainled description, or better yet, a photo, would help.

I saw that someone asked about a bug spotted in the French Pyrenees. It seems to be the same kind we saw this autumn. See image at the bottom of: http://hem.passagen.se/jorun/djur-bilder2.htm . After some investigations we found that it is a female Ephippiger Ephippiger (I think it is called saddle-backed bush cricket in English) The brown "stick" is the egg laying tube.
Jorun Boklöv

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi,
I found a beetle while hiking the woods in Plymouth Massachusetts. It looks like a big japanese beetle with what looks like a shield or hood behind its head, and has a horn like a rhino. It’s about 3/4 long. It was found near scrub oaks and fields. It’s dead probably from the cold. Any idea what it might be?
Thanks
Ken

Dear Ken,
You made a good call all around. Not only does your beetle look like a rhinoceros, it is named for one. The rhinoceros beetle, Xyloryctes jamaicensis, and its relatives the ox beetle and the unicorn beetle, are all horned members of the scarab beetle family which includes dung beetles, june beetles and japanese beetles. Check out this website for more information: http://insects.tamu.edu/images/insects/fieldguide

Dear Mr. Bug Man,
These live in my compost pile. They seem to be good for the decomposition, because they eat the contents of the pile and excrete them in a much-broken-down-form. But: what the hell? Big as my pinkie. Jerusalem Cricket?
Thanks,
Sean Dungan


Dear Sean,
Despite the suspiciously similar appearance to the killer "graboids" from the movie Tremors, your grub is just a grub, in this case the larval form of the Green Fruit Beetle (Cotinus mutabilis). Any observant insect watcher in Southern California, Arizona or Mexico has surely seen these enormous metalic green scarabs which take flight in August and September, buzzing noisily and circling clumsily in their search for fruit, namely figs, peaches, apricot
s, nectarines, grapes and cactus fruit which is the wild host plant. Originally native to Arizona and New Mexico, the beetle has moved west and is now relatively common in the Los Angeles Basin. Eggs are laid in compost piles, and the grubs, which can reach 2 inches in length, are sometimes called "crawly-backs" because of their method of locomotion, which involves undulating the body and pushing against the substratum with short stout bristles on the back of the thorax. The grubs feed on decaying vegetation, and are beneficial to the compost pile.

We have Hundreds maybe Thousands on the ground and
all over our house. Please help us as my 6 and 4 year olds are scared and me too!
aceman

We were unable to anwer this reader who should be somewhat afraid of Blister Beetles which can cause a skin reaction.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Thank God for your site! We just finished our basement and the other morning my 2 1/2 year old daughter came running up the basement stairs shouting about a BIG bug. I thought it was going to be an ant, but it was a Stag Beetle even larger than the one in the photo sent to you by Lynn in Massachusetts. Ours was nearly three inches long and it was dark brown. I am writing because of your comment about the beetle enjoying rotting wood. Do you think this means I have rotting wood in my house or did this really scary creature get lost?
Much appreciated!
Kim

Dear Kim,
It could be rotting wood, in which case you should think of the Stag Beetle as an early alert. It is also
reputed that the beetles, which can fly, are attracted to lights, in which case your visit could be benign.

Mr. Bugman,
I work at Colorado River State Park. This cute little guy was found over here last evening. We are currently lacking a decent insect field guide, and were hoping that you could help us out. He’s obviously from Order Coleoptera, and makes a distinct screaming noise when threatened.
Thank you much,
Ranger DeBerard

Dear Ranger,
You have a California Prionus beetle, Prionus californicus, a member of the borer beetl group. They are among the largest beetles in the Western US. Though I couldn’t find any information on their noise making habits, I do know for a fact that other borers, including the red and black Milkweed Borer, Tetraopes tetraophthalmus, are capable of squeeking when handled. Here is some information I downloaded from another site: Range: California: coastal and inland valleys, foothills, and mountains to middle elevations. > Alaska, south to Baja
California, and east, into the Rocky Mountains. Hosts: Prevalent in oak, madrone, poplar and apple; also attacks cherry, walnut, chestnut, willow, serviceberry, eucalyptus, pear, almond, peach, plum, quince, alder, hop, some conifers, brambles and certain shrubs. Biology: Adults fly June to September; females may lay up to 600 eggs; lifecycle takes 3-5 years. Importance: Larvae bore into bark at plant bases, and penetrate roots; leaves yellow, then defoliate; bark on larger branches dries and cracks. Plants often die the following season. Serious pest of apples in New Mexico.