Currently viewing the tag: "food chain"
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

Subject:  Found on Asters and it appears to prey on bees
Geographic location of the bug:  Bloomington, Indiana
Date: 10/16/2017
Time: 09:31 PM EDT
I’ve seen a couple of these bugs. They are pretty small, only looking like a tiny piece of bark that fell onto the flower. They seem to park themselves on the aster and aren’t afraid of being photographed. Today, I got a shot of one sucking on the abdomen of a small bee. It looked like the bee wad dead.
How you want your letter signed:  Teddy Alfrey

Ambush Bug eats Flower Fly

Dear Teddy,
Your images are exquisite.  The predator in your images is an Ambush Bug, and though it resembles a bee, the prey is actually a Flower Fly or Hover Fly in the family SyrphidaeAmbush Bugs are frequently found on blossoms where they ambush insects, many of which are pollinators.

Ambush Bug

Daniel,
Thanks for the “exquisite” comment, and the quick reply!!
My thought was that the prey was something like a Mason Bee, but of course, you’re right about the Flower Fly.
I have quite a few insect photos on my Flickr page:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/teddyalfrey/albums
And on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/teddy.alfrey
Other than bees, my favorite insects to photograph are spiders, but I don’t get much love for my spider photos!
Thanks again!!!
Teddy.

We have published your links so maybe you will get some additional traffic.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Niagara Falls, Ontario
Date: 09/25/2017
Time: 12:06 PM EDT
What is this wasp dragging a spider across the deck? The iridescent blue wings and striped body, rusty colored legs and eyes are beautiful. It was very fast but I was able to get a very short video of it.
How you want your letter signed:  Dawn

Spider Wasp with Prey

Dear Dawn,
This is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and female members of the family hunt and paralyze Spider to feed to the developing brood.  Your species,
Tachypompilus ferrugineus, does not have a species specific common name.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults are often found taking nectar from flowers (Daucus, Pastinaca, and Eryngium). Females provision nests mainly with Lycosids” meaning the Spider in your image is most likely a Wolf Spider.

Spider Wasp and Prey

Thank you Daniel. It is extraordinary that you replied so quickly and it is much appreciated. I will write a short story for the Bert Miller Nature Club’s fall Rambler newsletter and give reference to What’s That Bug and the information you provided.
Sincerely,
Dawn Pierrynowski

Spider Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination