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

Subject: Wolf spider?
Location: Vermont
May 27, 2017 7:46 pm
We see spiders here all the time in the woods of Northern New England. I am guessing this is a wolf spider that looks like it was successful in getting supper. He was on our screen door outside. Curious if I am correct and thought it would make a cool picture. He is not camera shy or timid.
Signature: Jim

Nursery Web Spider

Dear Jim,
This is the second image of a Nursery Web Spider,
Pisaurina mira, we are posting today.  Nursery Web Spiders do not build a web to snare prey.  They hunt without webs.  The female constructs a web to act as a nursery for her spiderlings once she locates an appropriate location to house the egg case she carries with her.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wandering Spider from Belize
Location:  Punta Gorda, Belize
May 21, 2017
Hello Daniel:
I continue to check your site regularly (still one of my favourites) but it’s been a while since I offered something for posting. I have been photographing a lot of spiders recently and have developed quite a fondness for wandering spiders (Family Ctenidae). I always look for them when we travel down to Central or South America. They are not hard to find but you generally have to look for them after nightfall. The attached photo is of a wandering spider (Cupiennius salei), one of many encountered on a night hike in a forest near Punta Gorda, Belize, earlier this year. I had already taken one to two photos of this one when it suddenly lunged out of frame to capture this hapless, and somewhat surprised looking, cricket. Have a great summer.

Wandering Spider eats Cricket

Hi Karl,
Thanks for allowing us to post your excellent image of a Wandering Spider,
Cupiennius salei.  The species is pictured on iNaturalist.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Suspected phoresy on squash bug actually battle casualty?
Location: Pelham, Ontario, Canada
April 28, 2017 7:00 am
Hi! Love the site – long time viewer and occasional contributor!
I was at a golf club and spotted a true bug, which I think may be a squash bug. Sorry for the blurry photo — can you help with ID? I supplied a second shot of the head, which is what made me think it was a squash bug – it is similar to BugGuide photos.
After looking at my photo on my camera’s screen, I noticed something attached to the bug’s antenna. I was excited at first because I like pseudoscorpions and I thought I might be seeing pseudoscorpion phoresy, like in some other excellent photos on your website. I flipped my lens around to attempt some reverse macro shots and although those were blurry too I did manage to get a few somewhat in focus.. and it looks like what I thought was phoresy was actually the results from a battle between the squash bug and some ants. There’s an ant — it looks like it could be quite dead, although it might just be quite tenacious — firmly affixed to the antenna of the squash bug. In one of the photos you can clearly see the ant’s sharp mandible sliced into the antenna.
Anyway, I thought you might like the story and the photos. Love the site!
Signature: Brad

Squash Bug

Dear Brad,
Thanks so much for the compliment.  We agree, based on comparison with this BugGuide image, that you found a Squash Bug in the genus
Anasa.  We do not believe the Ant on the antenna can be classified as phoresy which is defined on Amateur Entomologists Society as “Phoresy is the act of ‘hitching a lift’ on another organism. As invertebrates are small and not all have wings many travel comparatively long distances by using other, more mobile, organisms. …  Another good example is that of pseudoscorpions are small arachnids that resemble scorpions without the long tail and sting. When a flying insect lands nearby the pseudoscorpions grab hold of the larger insect using their pincers. When the insect flies to a new location they carry the pseudoscorpion with them.”  Since Ants are social creatures that depend upon being able to find their way back to the colony, phoresy would have no advantage to the Ant.  We agree with your “battle” supposition, so we will tag this as Food Chain.  We noticed the spines on the thorax of the Ant, and we wonder if it might be an Acrobat Ant in the genus Crematogaster which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “workers and males 2.5-3.5mm.”  Bugs in the News provides some very interesting information on Acrobat Ants preying upon plant-feeding insects to help protect Homopteran insects they are farming:  “Their food, throughout the year, consists primarily of the honeydew secretions of homopteran insects. In fact, they are well-known for farming colonies of such insects as a means of providing their members with a ready supply of the latter’s sweet liquid exudations.
As I mention in an earlier article on acrobat ants found in Temple, Texas, most gardeners are dismayed to find evidence of homopteran incursions onto their  garden plants because, once established, the damage done by these organisms can be extensive and difficult to control. Since acrobat ants work hard to disperse scale, aphids, and mealybugs, one might think the first thing a good gardener should do is to control these ants. Again, first impressions are not always best, as the following demonstrates:  ‘The cultivation of Homoptera by ants is usually considered detrimental to plants, but any damage may be offset by the ants’ predation on defoliators. Another factor that may contribute to the stability of the ant-Homoptera-plant relationship is the ability of some homopterans to withdreaw large quantities of sap without seriously injuring trees, thereby allowing them to feed on the same plant year after year (Bradley and Hinks 1968). A portion of the sap sustains the aphids, but most is passed on as honeydew to the ants. In return, the ants protect the aphids and the trees from their enemies.’ (Hansen and Klotz 2005).

Ant on Squash Bug antenna, probably NOT phoresy

Squash Bug Head

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Robber Fly
Location: Brackenfell, Western Cape
April 6, 2017 12:28 am
Saw it in our garden during Desember 2016 in Brackenfell, Western Cape. Have never seen it before and I have been living here many years. Are they found all over South Africa?
Signature: Jackie

Carpenter Bee Robber Fly eats Paper Wasp

Dear Jackie,
This Carpenter Bee Robber Fly,
Hyperechia marshalli, feeding on what appears to be a Paper Wasp is a marvelous addition to our Food Chain page.  We are not certain of the exact extent of its range in South Africa, but in our own archives, we have gotten reports from Johannesburg and Gauteng as well as Tanzania.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large Spinder
Location: Alvin, Texas
March 23, 2017 8:40 pm
We found this large spider on the front porch eating dinner. Then shortly found what we belive to be the father carrying the eggs on his back. Not sure what it is… if you could please help us identify them that would be cool.
Gulf Coast region
March – early spring
Warm outside
Signature: Robin Kralovetz

Female Wolf Spider with Spiderlings

Dear Robin,
The second Spider is a female Wolf Spider and she is carrying Spiderlings, not eggs.  Thanks so much for including the penny for scale as it provides a sense of the difference between the sizes of these two spiders.  The Spider with its prey is a much larger individual.  The carapace looks to us to resemble that of a Fishing Spider (see this BugGuide image) in the genus
Dolomedes rather than a Wolf Spider and Fishing Spiders are larger.  Wolf Spiders in the family Lycosidae and Fishing Spiders in the family Pisauridae are both hunting spiders that do not build webs to snare prey.  We may be wrong, bug we believe the larger spider is a Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes.  The prey appears to be a Scarab Beetle.

Fishing Spider eats Scarab Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black and White bug on Fig Leaf
Location: Phoenix, Az
March 20, 2017 7:01 pm
Hey there while watering my fig tree I noticed this odd looking black and white bug.
It appeared to be fighting with/ holding a gnat of some kind. In any case the gnat was trying to get away.
Was hoping to identify the bug , any help is appreciated!
Signature: Cait

Aphid Wolf attacks Aphid

Dear Cait,
This is a predatory Lacewing Larva, commonly called an Aphid Wolf, and it has captured an Aphid, not a Gnat.  Aphids are considered significant agricultural pests, and Lacewing Larvae are an effective organic method of controlling the problem without introducing insecticides.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination