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

Subject: Glow worm?
Location: Rimrock, AZ
April 25, 2017 8:27 pm
Found this on the floor of my apartment tonight. What is it?
Signature: Laura

Bioluminescent Larva

Dear Laura,
This does not look like a typical Glowworm to us.  Glowworms or Railroad Worms are the larvae of beetles in the family Phengodidae.  This doesn’t look like a Firefly Larva from the family Lampyridae either.  It does look like a Wireworm, the larva of a Click Beetle.  There are bioluminescent Glowing Click Beetles in the genus Deilelater, but we have not been able to locate an image of the larva.  BugGuide only lists North American sightings in Texas and Florida, however, BugGuide does indicate “
D. physoderus GA-FL-AZ, Mexico.”  Though that is circumstantial, our best guess right now is that this might be the larva of a Glowing Click Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Stunging crane fly
Location: Wimberley, Texas
April 7, 2017 7:09 pm
I take crane flies out all the time. I was stung by Image 1 a few nights ago. I was so shocked bc it had NEVER happened to me or my children EVER! You can see the sting on my palm in image 2. Image 3 is another crane fly without a stinger–which is what the majority of mine look like! What’s up with that stinger? Im guessing one is male and one is female? It was quite a sting. I can still see the mark three days later.
Signature: Kristina Minor

Reportedly Stinging Crane Fly

Dear Kristina,
For years we have received reports of Crane Flies stinging individuals, and after verifying that impossibility with Dr Chen Young, we have speculated that the actual culprit is a Short-Tailed Ichneumon which does resemble a Crane Fly.  Your account is the first we have received that actually contained an image of the Crane Fly that reportedly stung (or bit) an individual, as well as an image of the irritated area on the body.  Furthermore, you seem quite familiar with Crane Flies, so we can’t help but to give your report credibility.  This does go against all we have learned of Crane Flies.  For that reason we will forward your information and images to Dr. Chen Young, a noted Crane Fly expert, to get his input.  The antennae on the individual you say resembles the majority of your Crane Flies are more developed, leading us to believe that is a male.  Stinging insects are generally female and a modified ovipositor, an organ used to lay eggs, is the stinging body part.

Site of the reported Crane Fly sting

Eric Eaton weighs in.
The “stinging” crane fly is simply a female.  I suppose a jab from her ovipositor might *feel* like a sting, but they are certainly not venomous.  The other crane fly with the bulbous rear end is a male.
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

A non-stinging Crane Fly

That was one heck of a “jab.”  I still have the mark and I’m here to tell you it hurt for a while.  Ive attached the picture to show you what it looks like today–several days later.  When it happened, like image 2 in my previous email, it was white around the “sting” area and very red spreading from there.  That sure seems like a reaction to something?  Could they have evolved?  ;).  Getting smarter?  Wanting to survive?  LOL

Crane Fly “Sting”

Dear Kristina,
Thanks for providing a follow-up image of your “jab” after several days.  We will try to do some additional research.  According to the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania:  “The larvae are found in a wide variety of habitats, varying from strictly aquatic to terrestrial, even relatively dry soil.  Their habitats include fresh water in fast-flowing streams, marshes, springs, meadows, seeps, tree holes, algal growth or mosses on rock faces near water, organic mud and decaying vegetable debris along the shores of streams and ponds, accumulated decomposed leaves and rotting wood on the forest floor, and occasionally soil in lawn and pastures.”  Since the ovipositor is an organ the female uses while laying eggs, and since the stingers of stinging insects like wasps and bees is a modified ovipositor, we do not want to rule out the possibility that the ovipositor of a Crane Fly species that lays eggs in rotting wood might also penetrate human skin.

Entomologist and Crane Fly Specialist Dr. Chen Young Responds
Dear Daniel,
All I can say is that whatever stung Kristina was not a crane fly.  The ovipositor of female crane fly is not a defensive weapon but an egg laying apparatus, usually blunt instead of sharp at the end.
Chen Young

 

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
Daniel,
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.
Bill

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.
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/262617778_fig1_Figure-1-A-column-of-about-200-B-vagans-spiderlings-observed-on-the-road-by-the

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.
Malcolm

Tarantula

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
Hi
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.
Julian

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.
Julian

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