Currently viewing the tag: "food chain"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Rhysida longipes
Geographic location of the bug:  Miami, Florida
Date: 01/29/2018
Time: 01:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  When visiting relatives in Florida last year, I helped my uncle move old boards out of an unused sandbox. Underneath one board there was a pile of large, greenish centipedes that scattered as they were uncovered. As an invertebrate enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for new species of arthropod to observe, capture,  and/or breed, so I had a container handy and was able to capture a 3-4″ specimen that was slower than the rest. There weren’t any containers large enough to house it in safely so I had to use this yellow bucket until I found an appropriate one.
I had hoped to find other centipede species in Florida such as S. viridis or S. longipes, but this one was clearly neither of those. After a bit of research I learned that R. longipes is an adventive species originally native to Africa and Asia that has now colonized Florida and Mexico as well.  I thought I’d send this in so people could properly identify common giant centipedes, as many pictures of R. longipes from Florida are mistakenly identified as Scolopendra and Hemiscolopendra on other sites.
As for the specimen I caught, she is now comfortably living in captivity and has regrown some of the lost antennomeres since these photos were taken.
How you want your letter signed:  lawnshrimp

African Longtail Centipede with Cockroach prey

Dear lawnshrimp,
Thanks for sending your images of the introduced African Longtail Centipede, a name we located on FlickR where it states:  “Though this exotic species has been found on occasion in Florida, all but one incidence was of solitary animals and it has never been considered an established part of the Florida fauna. Late in 2014, while on a scientific collecting trip to south Florida, we came across a large population of this species, which included juveniles through adults, on one of the main Keys. The animals had never been recorded from this area. Later that same evening, we located a large adult just outside of the Everglades National Park, representing an additional locality for this taxon. We wrote up a brief communication for this new, established member of the south Florida ecosystem for the Florida Entomologist which is currently in review.”  We also found your images posted to Arachnoboards.  Whenever we learn of an introduced species into an ecosystem, we are concerned that native species might be displaced due to larger or more aggresive introductions.

African Longtail Centipede with Cockroach prey

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bright Red Orbweaver Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  West Palm Beach, Florida
Date: 12/08/2017
Time: 03:21 PM EDT
Greetings What’s That Bug!
Okay, I know this is an orbweaver spider. However, I’m not sure which one. Is it Eriophora ravilla? Is it Neoscona crucifera? Is it something completely different? Whatever it is, that bright red color sure stands out. This picture was taken at approximately 8:30 a.m. at Winding Waters Natural Area in West Palm Beach, Florida. Most of the web was down, whether that was from the dragonfly tearing it apart or the spider was doing some housekeeping. Thanks for shedding some light on this colorful spider.
How you want your letter signed:  Ann Mathews

Orbweaver eats Dragonfly

Dear Ann,
Your Food Chain image is stunning, but alas, we are not comfortable providing a definitive identification, but your individual does resemble several orange
Neoscona crucifera individuals pictured on BugGuide.

Thanks for trying to identify this spider. Sometimes I wish these guys came with name tags! J
Ann Mathews

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Catapiller in guatemalia
Geographic location of the bug:  San Pedro
Date: 11/07/2017
Time: 04:49 PM EDT
I am studing  in San Pedro and saw this huge catapiller. Any idea what it is
How you want your letter signed:  Cris

What killed the Hornworm????

Dear Cris,
This is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, though it is a species that loses the caudal horn when molting, leaving a caudal bump at the tail end of the insect.  Furthermore, it is dead.  We are not certain if it is the victim of an internal parasite, or if it was preyed upon by a predator that sucks fluids from the body of its prey like a Predatory Stink Bug.  We believe we have identified the caterpillar as that of the Gaudy Sphinx Moth,
Eumorpha labruscae, based on images of the caterpillar posted to The Sphingidae of the Americas.  This is a caterpillar that is thought by many to mimic a snake to protect it from birds.  Sphingidae of the Americas notes:  “There is a striking resemblance to a snake’s head and eye, and a flattening of the thoracic segments when the head is not retracted.”  We received similar images from you and from Ken who wrote:  “A friend sent me these photos from somewhere in Guatemala, taken today.  Any idea?”  We are presuming you are the photographer, though we used the image provided by Ken as it was horizontal in format, an orientation we prefer on our site.

Thank you Daniel, for your detailed response, it was still moving but looked sick. I am studing spanish in guatemalia and it was at my school, will check its condition today. Thank you again

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Update on our 25,000th Posting
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  10/28/2017
Time:  10:00 PM
Three weeks ago we went live with our 25,000th posting, and the female California Mantis that has been living on our porch light is still there.  We don’t know if she mated with the male from that posting, or ate him, or if he just flew off, but she is swelling.  We know she is eating well.  We have seen her eating a Painted Tiger Moth and we watched her catch another moth, but yesterday evening, we arrived home to find her feasting on a female Scudder’s Bush Katydid that was attracted to the light.  It seems she is ready to begin producing oothecae, and we can’t decide if we should relocate her to a shrub, or leave her and let nature take its course, but as the weather begins to cool, we fear she is nearing the end of her life and we hope she produces progeny.

Mantis Eats Katydid (image courtesy of Susan Lutz)


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Beetle eating banana slug Southeast Alaska
Geographic location of the bug:  Juneau, AK
Date: 10/22/2017
Time: 02:03 PM EDT
Hi there! I see these beetles wandering the ground and on and under rotten logs all over Southeast Alaska and the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, British Columbia) and I have not been able to ID them! They have these wonderful purpleish abdomens and are maybe an inch long or less. This one was found with a baby banana slug in its jaws! What is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks! -Mike J

Snail Eating Ground Beetle with immature Banana Slug

Dear Mike,
Your image is gorgeous.  We have several images on our site of Snail Hunters or Snail Eating Ground Beetles in the genus
Scaphinotus, but your image is the only one showing its preferred prey.  According to BugGuide:  “55 spp. in 9 subgenera total, all in our area.”  Several species are known from Alaska, including Scaphinotus angusticollis which is pictured on BugGuide and Scaphinotus marginatus which is also pictured on BugGuide.  Both species look very similar to your individual and we are not confident enough to provide an exact species identification for you.  According to Bugs of the Month:  “Scaphinotus angusticollis is large (satisfyingly so) and black, with a beauteous purple or greenish sheen in sunlight. The thorax is peculiarly shaped, turned up at the outer edges (a bit like a satellite dish), the legs are quite long and slender and the head is distinctly narrow and elongate. Truly the Afghan hound of the carabid world. The narrow head is an adaptation to eating snails from the shell. Now there are shelled snails in forests around these parts, but with forest clearing and the introduction of non-native pests, shelled snails are less frequent and slugs abound.”

Wow thank you for the thorough reply! They really are quite beautiful, and now I know that the beetles I see eating snails and on the ground are snail eating ground beetles 🙂 You are right, those two species are nearly identical, I guess if I was on the spotI would tell someone it was Angusticolus.

Thanks again!
Stay Curious

Mike Justa
Wildlife Naturalist
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:Long bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Great lakes
Date: 10/18/2017
Time: 05:47 PM EDT
I saw this bug on my step. It was being attacked by bees that have a nest under my siding.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you.

Chinese Mantis

This is a Chinese Mantis which is described on BugGuide as being:  “Tan to pale green. Vertically striped face. Forewings tan with green along front margin.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Widely distributed in the U.S. due to the availability of commercially purchased egg-cases.”  We strongly suspect you are mistaked that:  “It was being attacked by bees that have a nest under my siding.”  It is much more likely that its attackers were Yellowjackets or Hornets.

Thank you Daniel for getting back to me. What a great and interesting website. Best of luck to you. Once again Thanks for the information. Doug Oyler Erie PA

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination