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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Despite the signature, this is NOT an inside job

Subject: Angry moth in northern Nevada
Location: Northern Nevada
January 10, 2017 3:56 pm
Hey asshole, if you spent as much time crafting mocking replies to your so-called “””nasty readers””” as you do researching what species the bugs are, you wouldn’t HAVE any angry clients. Take my email adress OFF my submission, I dont need more spam. I dont care what your “terms and conditions” are.
Signature: Daniel Marlos

Lettered Sphinx Moth: Deidamia inscriptum

Dear Trashface, AKA Daniel Marlos impersonator,
We were so stunned by your virulent letter with its inflammatory image that there is no question in our mind that you deserve the Nasty Reader tag, and we strongly suspect that you are deliberately vying for that coveted award.  Your efforts have paid off.  Your assessment that we spend much more time researching submissions to our site than we do “crafting mocking replies” to our “so-called “”nasty readers””” is absolutely correct.  Since your letter is only the 12th Nasty Reader we have tagged in our 15 years of running What’s That Bug?, a site currently with  23,437 unique postings, only .051% of our responses were to readers deemed by us to be nasty.  We don’t believe we have that many angry readers, and we can deal with those odds as we learned long ago that “you can’t please all the people all the time.”
That stated, we are ready to get down to identifying your Sphinx Moth from the family Sphingidae, and trust us when we say we spent a great deal more time with that task than we did crafting our first paragraph in response to you.  We could not locate your moth in the Sphingidae of Nevada, the Sphingidae of California, nor the Sphingidae of Idaho pages of Bill Oehlke’s awesome Sphingidae of the Americas site.  At that point we contacted Lepidopterist Julian Donahue who confirmed the family Sphingidae, but neither he nor Eric Eaton were able to provide a species name.  We wrote to Bill Oehlke and he provided us with the correct identification.

Bill Oehlke identifies Deidamia inscriptum
It is Deidamia inscriptum. I have not seen any previous reports from Nevada, but it is known for sure from eastern Texas all the way to the east coast so it may well be in Nevada and just hasn’t been documented there before. It is also possible that it was inadvertently imported into Nevada as a pupa in soil at base of some potted plant that was transported across state lines. Maybe a storm with high winds brought it to Nevada. Maybe it is a hoax. You could just indicate it is Deidamia inscriptum which is not native to Nevada. Do you have a more precise location in Nevada?
The Sphingidae are strong fliers and can get energy from flower nectar or fermenting fruit, so it might even have flown there, but it appears to be a fresh specimen, so my guess is it is a wrong location or an accidental import. Maybe it came in the soil as pupa in a potted Christmas plant.
Hope you had a great holiday season and have a great new year. Time flies.

Thanks to Bill Oehlke’s identification, we were able to locate the Lettered Sphinx on the Sphingidae of the Americas site, and we learned that it “flies from New Hampshire south to northern Florida and southern Alabama (Houston County (JS)); west to Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The specimen type locality is Indiana. It also flies in southern Ontario and is occasionally seen in southern Quebec” and “In Greek literature, Deidamia was one of Lycomedes’ daughters, and she bore a son, Neoptolemus, for Achilles.  The species name ‘inscriptum’ MAY ? have been chosen for the parallel ‘lines’ on the forewings, suggesting lines of script.”   Now that we have determined that you are in fact among the minute percentage of our readership that might be considered “angry clients” that we refer to as Nasty Readers, and that the identity of your moth is Deidamia inscriptum, the mystery remaining for us is how did it stray so far from its typical range?  Bill Oehlke has offered some plausible reasons, and we don’t want to discount that you may have been trying to stump us as well as to taunt us, and that perhaps this image was taken someplace other than Nevada.  We will most likely never know.  Congratulations again on being awarded with our 12th Nasty Reader designation.
P.S.  We will not be posting your “email adress” as we do NOT post email addresses, so we are not responsible for your spam.

Trashface writes back and fesses up to internet plagiarism as well as being angry and a poor writer
First of all, you need to grow a thicker skin if you get offended by mean emails.
And secondly, don’t be a smart-ass. You know very well that I meant to say “if you spent as much time identifying bugs as you do crafting mocking replies…etc.”
But clearly wits aren’t your forte. A cleverer person than you would’ve realized that I just Google image searched “bug on middle finger” to find an offensive yet hilariously topical picture to send to you. I stole the pic from Flickr, which you probably think is deplorable too. Congrats on wasting time identifying a bug that I didn’t even take a photo of.
Bugger off, bug man

Ed. Note:  Far be it from us to assume what our readers mean to write when they send in inquiries.  We take their writing for face value and we do not correct their errors.  We had no luck locating the FlickR posting where this image was allegedly pilfered as we want to request permission from the actual photographer to keep it on our site.

From Our Facebook Fans:

Jeff Lanterman
January 12 at 10:56am
Did he think that was funny? Sometimes I don’t understand people.

Sean Gaukroger
January 12 at 12:59pm
Huh? Today’s Sphinx moth brought to you by the letter “F”?

Lisa Phillips
January 12 at 2:54pm
Thank you for the identification & sorry this person is rude. I myself look forward to your posts. Keep up your fascinating work 🐛

Heather Christensen
January 12 at 3:49pm
We love your posts! I have not yet submitted any critters needing identification, but my son and I always keep our eye out. This guy is a clown, and definitely deserves the coveted “Nasty Reader” title. Keep up the great work, we love you guys. 🐌🐛🐜🐝🐞🕷🦂

Nasty Reader Award #12: Lettered Sphinx … in Nevada!!!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  We have never heard of a situation where Spiderlings remain together after leaving the female’s protection, and we suspect the “conga line” you witnessed was of creatures other than Spiders.  The behavior you describe is more typical of social insects like ants or immature Hemipterans.  Are you able to provide an image?

Subject: spiderlings traveling in a “conga line”
Location: Chemuyíl Pueblo, México Yucatán
January 8, 2017 10:58 am
There are many unusual bugs in the jungle here, such as spiders and scorpions that carry their babies on their backs.
I was delighted to find your site – thanks!
Can you tell me about spiderlings traveling in a “conga line”, hundreds of them? Why?
Signature: Malcolm

Tarantula Spiderling “Conga Line”

Hi again Malcolm,
Thanks for sending an image.  Our initial response to you expressed our doubt that Spiderlings would travel the way you described.  We retract our supposition.  These do indeed look like Spiders.  We will attempt to find additional internet documentation that can explain it.

Tarantula Spiderling “Conga Line”

Tina Shaddock comments on Facebook
I believe these are plausibly Brachypelma vagans spiderlings and this article holds a bit of info about what is occurring in this photo.

Ed. Note:  Here is a quote from the linked article:  “The spiderlings, which have a body length of about 2-3 mm, stay in the maternal burrow for several weeks. Little is known of this gregarious stage in this species, although spiderlings have been observed moving around the entrance of the maternal burrow, in where their mother is hunting in a sit-and-wait position. They often climb over each other but avoid contact with the mother. During daytime, the spiderlings were known to remain active and visible at the entrance of the burrow for up to one hour after the female had retreated. They were able to move easily through the web covering laid by the female over the burrow entrance (Shillington & McEwen 2006). Authors hypothesized that the silk network around the burrow provides an important chemotactic cue for orientation (Minch 1978) and juveniles probably remain in contact with this network at all times. After this gregarious period, the spiderlings disperse in the form of columns of about 100 siblings walking away from the mother’s burrow (Reichling 2000, 2003; Shillington & McEwen 2006). Shi- llington & McEwen (2006) observed that during the night of May 24 th 2003, spider- lings left the maternal burrow in three lines. Then at random intervals, one individual left the column and headed in a different direction, causing successive forks in the column. The maximum observed distance of dispersal was 9 m from the maternal burrow. Dispersal is observed in several spider species, including several species of mygalomorphae, all using silk for ballooning (Coyle 1983) or orientation (Jean- son et al. 2004). Previous reports on B. vagans mention that the spiderlings walk in line like ants (Reichling 2000), but no work has recorded the use of silk during dispersal. During their gregarious and dispersal phases the spiderlings do not show any aggressive behavior toward each other, as many spiders do (Gundermann et al. 1986; Jeanson et al. 2004).”

Thank you! That description sounds entirely likely – location, environment, and behavior. And attached is a photo of an adult found outside the house. Who would have guessed? I feel happy to understand the critters here in more depth.
For what it’s worth, I’d wager the spiderlings stay in line visually. From their non-colliding dynamics, and seeing individuals lose their place in line and orient from an inch away to rejoin.
Thanks again.


Hi Malcolm,
Thanks for sending an image of what we believe to be an adult male Tarantula.  We will be featuring your posting for a spell.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this blue egg-like thing?
Location: Montréal (canada)
December 12, 2016 8:34 pm
We found these near the heater in the bathroom..saw 5or 6 of them and cleaned them up then a few days later saw 2 more
Looks like they have a tail and are very blue
Is something hatching eggs and should i call an exterminator? I have 2 young kids who are a bit freaked out and so am I ! What are they???
Thank you
Signature: Rita

Decorative Blue Things

Decorative Blue Things

Dear Rita,
We are relatively confident that these blue things are decorative and man-made, and NOT insect eggs.  Did you recently pull out some holiday decorations?  Perhaps these things fell off.  Since we will be away from the office during the holidays, we are postdating your submission to go live at the end of the month.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s that Bug (Aquatic Fly)?
Location: South Carolina
June 28, 2016 8:50 am
We found these while doing a stream walk along an urban stream channel in the upper sand hills/lower piedmont of South Carolina. They were found clinging to the underside of the submerged cobble in the riffle sections. Any idea of what they might be? Sorry for the low quality images, but were taken with our phone.
Signature: Thanks!

Midge, we believe

Unknown Insect

We have been having a difficult time understanding why a winged insect would be submerged under a rock as this insect looks like it would not be aquatic as an adult.  It looks very much like some of the winged insects in this posting from our archives that we believe may be Midges with a Fungus Infection, also found near a stream.  We are posting your image and requesting assistance from Eric Eaton and our readership.  We are further confused because your insect appears to have two pairs of wings, and a Midge would have only one set of wings.

Update:  June 30, 2016
Eric Eaton is also unable to provide an identification, but he does agree that it appears to have two pairs of wings, which would eliminate it being a Midge.

Entomologist Julian Donahue responds to our request:
I’m stumped. Body shape looks like a primitive fly (with that small head and short abdomen), but the venation looks more like that of a primitive moth.
I agree that it appears to have two pairs of wings. It doesn’t look like any aquatic insect I know, nor does the venation agree with any aquatic insect I know.
It may be a teneral (freshly-emerged) specimen, and there’s always a chance that it’s a terrestrial insect that got washed into the stream.
Let me know what you find out about this one.

Update:  July 1, 2016
In addition to the above possible classifications, we are reminded of some Sawflies regarding the general appearance of this critter.  There are many Sawfly images on BugGuide, but Sawflies are NOT aquatic.

Julian Donahue provides tentative identification
On second thought, I’m going to go with my initial gut reaction: a black fly (Simuliidae). Habitat is perfect, body shape fits, and they have broad wings that can fold over giving the appearance of two pairs. It still seems to have too many veins in the wings, but this could be the result of some sort of duplication in the pupa or upon emerging. I still think it’s a teneral specimen, which may account for the odd appearance of the wings.

Ed. Note:  Thanks to Julian Donahue’s identification, we are linking to the Black Fly page on BugGuide where they are described as:  “black to various shades of gray or yellow; thorax shiny, strongly convex, giving a humpbacked, gnat-like appearance; wings clear, broad, without hairs or scales; heavy veins near anterior wing margin, weak veins posteriorly; small head with large round eyes and short 11-segmented antennae; ocelli lacking.”  The habitat is listed as:  “larvae develop in running water of all types, from the smallest seepages and streams to the largest rivers and waterfalls; they attach themselves to underwater rocks and other objects by means of small hooklets in a sucker-like disc at the tip of the abdomen.”  This BugGuide remark also may be of interest to our readers:  “Black flies attack most severely about sunrise and at sunset — either massively and viciously or in such small numbers that they are scarcely noticeable. They bite painlessly so that you may not be aware of having been attacked until small droplets of blood start oozing from your skin. Black flies often crawl into your hairline or through openings in your clothes before they bite you. Therefore, the bites are usually behind your ears, around your neck and beltline, and on the lower parts of your legs. A typical bite consists of a round, pink, itchy swollen area, with a droplet of fresh or dried blood at the center. When the blood is rubbed away, a minute subcutaneous hemorrhage is visible. This hemorrhage and the surrounding pink area become diffuse and larger, and then disappear within a few days. Itching may continue intermittently for weeks, whenever the bitten area is rubbed. Scratching may cause severe secondary skin infections. Toxins injected during an extended severe attack can cause a general illness sometimes called black-fly fever, characterized by headache, fever, nausea, and swollen, painful neck glands. Attacks occur throughout late spring and early summer (sometimes throughout the summer). (Fredeen 1973)(5)  often ranked third worldwide among arthropods in importance as disease vectors, but only ~10-20% of the world’s spp. are pests of humans/livestock.”


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bee? Fly? Wasp? Insect?
Location: Adairsville, Georgia, USA
May 30, 2016 4:43 am
These things with a pointy mouth like to float in my swimming pool for several minutes then fly off. I can approach them and touch them. Other than flapping their wings a little bit, they keep on floating. What are they? Can they bite or sting me? We’ve had this pool since 2009 and last year was the first time these showed up. There were only a couple last year at a time. This year there’s maybe a dozen in the pool at one time.
Signature: Darla

Bee Fly

Bee Fly

Dear Darla,
This is a harmless Bee Fly in the family Bombyliidae, a group of pollinating insects.  They do not bite nor sting.  We are curious what is attracting them to your pool.  This behavior does not seem normal, and we are guessing they are accidentally flying into the pool after visiting blossoms nearby.  We do not believe they are purposely taking a dip.  Because we will be out of the office for a spell in June, we are postdating your submission to go live to our site during our absence.

I’m very glad to hear this!  Our pool is an above ground pool in Adairsville, GA.  We were out there again yesterday and about 1:00 PM, they started stopping by again.  They float in the water for several minutes then fly away.  If we touch them, they flap their wings a little but go back to floating.  I cupped my hand under a couple of them and let the water roll off gently leaving the Bee Fly on my hand.  They would then fly off quickly.  Our pool has chlorine in it.  They were still there when we got out of the pool about 4:00 PM.  They come and go throughout the day.  If you figure out why they are coming to the pool, I’d love to know.  Sounds like it could be interesting!
Thank you,
Darla Williams

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Some bug love
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
April 1, 2016 7:51 pm
Thought you might get a kick out of a very odd pairing discovered where I work. A male common Morpho (Morpho peleides) mating with a female atlas moth (Attacus atlas). Photographed at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale, Arizona. I know it’s April Fools day but the pictures are not “photo shopped”. (For some reason the Commodors song “She’s a Brick House” keeps running through my head). Of course they are not genetically compatible but it’s fun to imagine what offspring would look like……
Signature: Butterfly wrangler

Morpho mating with Atlas Moth!!!

Morpho mating with Atlas Moth!!!

Dear Butterfly Wrangler,
We cannot imagine what would have spawned this Unnatural Selection.  Though it is not photoshopped, can you also state there was no human intervention involved?  Forgive us for being suspicious, but we are frequently targeted with pranks and hoaxes.

Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection

Lepidopterist Julian Donahue comments
Spring is in the air!

Interoffice Communication
Hey Max, I sent a couple of photos of the moth/Morpho pairing to “what’s that bug?” Web site . Their response is below.
If this wasn’t an elaborate April Fools joke would you like to respond to the email below to assure them the pairing was not manipulated?  (If this was a joke it was a good one!) If you would rather be anonymous and not email them I’ll understand. If you don’t mind answering them, I think you mentioned seeing a different pair of inter-species breeding on the same Palm. They may be interested in what those species were as well.
Let me know. 😊
Paula Swanson
Assistant Curator
Butterfly Wonderland

A second substantiation
Dear Daniel,
There was no manipulation in the Atlas-Morpho mating. It is actually the second time I have seen this. See attached photo from May 2015( which also has a second morpho trying to squeeze in). The only thing I did, was after the photos were taken I used my tweezers to gently move the wings to see if the genitals were actually in union, which they were. I have another photo of an Atlas mating with a Mormon, but I can’t find it. I will look for it when I get to work later.
Max B. Shure
Butterfly Curator
Butterfly Wonderland

Documentation of another Morpho Butterfly and Atlas Moth pairing

Documentation of another Morpho Butterfly and Atlas Moth pairing

Thanks so much for the follow-up Max.  This is so fascinating.  We wonder if perhaps there is some similarity in the pheromones released by the two species.  Since they occur naturally on different continents, they would not normally interact with one another, but captivity in the Butterfly Wonderland has brought together two species that would never naturally interact with one another.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination