Currently viewing the tag: "Nasty Reader Award"

RE: Identification Request – Is this bug safe to let go?

Your submitted question:  What is this bug? Is it safe to let go, or is it an invasive species?

Our Immediate Automated Response
On Wednesday, July 17, 2019 What’s That Bug? wrote:  Thank you for submitting your identification request.

Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

That bug laid eggs in the jar that I put it in. Why bother having a websight like this, if you can’t do the work? I needed to know if this beetle will kill the trees around my house, and you ended up being completely useless! So, I’ll just let it die in that jar! It’s death, and all those eggs, are on your head!

Ed. Note:  We searched through all submitted requests since July 16, and we could not locate any requests from, nor could we find any requests with the subject line “Is this bug safe to let go?”   We are well aware that our tiny editorial staff does not have the resources to respond to the hundreds of identification request we receive each week.  We offer a free service on the internet and we do not punch in a timeclock.  We are also gainfully employed and we do community activism, especially in matters of land use, so some days we cannot even devote ten minutes to responding, and most posts take approximately ten minutes to compose.  We feel missk1963 is rude and demanding, but we acknowledge that she is welcome to her opinion that we are “completely useless.”  Because of her rudeness, we are awarding missk1963 with our 14th Nasty Reader Award.  We are also amazed at how the results of her own actions, the death of a living creature and its offspring, is being blamed on a third party, a childish justification to the lack of accountability that missk1963 has likely used in the past to make up for her own inadequacies and shortcomings.

UPDATE:  July 21, 2019
It took me a bit longer, but I found that bug. It was most definitely a dangerous bud. It was a root borer beetle, and would have eventually killed the already, gypsy moth caterpillar damaged trees around my house. Sorry that you think I was rude, but I was actually trying not to kill that bug, if it was safe to let go. The trees in my area have been decimated by many invasive, and dangerous insects, so I needed to be careful. I believe ALL of nature is to be respected, but I will not allow the trees to be destoyed further. I sent the original email last evening, and felt I needed information quickly. Especially if the bug was safe to let go.

Thank you for letting us know.  Responding to our automated response system does not allow us to track original submissions, which we tried to do upon reading your obviously desperate communique.  As we stated, we could not locate a previous submission from you that included the image.  We are happy to learn you were able to eventually identify your Root Borer, which we suspect was likely a female Broad Necked Root Borer, but without knowing your location, that might not be correct.

Subject:  Why???
Date: 12/28/2018
Time: 08:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Why in the hell do you have a site called What’s That Bug when you don’t want to answer people asking exactly that? Pointless, flippant and plain rude. There’s nothing humorous about people suffering. I see you aren’t shy asking for donations. How about you educate yourself and actually answer people asking,  “What’s that bug?” Before asking for money.
Your Name:  Mason
Your Email:

Dear Mason,
It has been nearly two years since we have felt compelled to post a Nasty Reader Award, so you will probably be thrilled to learn that you are lucky #13.  We had a challenging December, with some technical difficulties occurring that prevented us from doing any posting for more than an entire week, and we can honestly say that we don’t believe we have gone that long without posting in many years.  Most days we try to make at least a few new posts, and we averaged more than three per day for 2018, though that average is considerably lower than our average of more than six new posts per day in 2010.  That said, we do answer letters, but our tiny staff is not able to answer every request we receive.  We offer a free service on the internet, which is not that common, and we make no apologies for accepting donations from grateful readers.  As of now, we have 26,519 unique postings on our site, most of which represent our tiny editorial staff answering the question “What’s That Bug?”  To you we say “Bug Off.”

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. ???????


Ed. Note:  It was not until after we prepared a response for this query that we noticed what we consider to be a rude (as well as incoherent) retort to our automated response.  Though it seems ? was upset at not receiving the requested product, we did not feel that our free internet service should have received such a terse comment, hence we are tagging this posting with the Nasty Reader Award, despite it being not quite as toxic as some other postings with that tag.  Perhaps the original product order contained similar grammatical errors and truncated sentences which resulted in shipping the wrong product.

Subject: identification
Location: bellingham wa
May 9, 2016 7:39 am
I ordered a REAL LIVE BLUE PHILENOR PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY CHRYSALIS PUPA COCOON. in the description it said the pupa would be brown or green but this is what they sent. do you have any idea what this is?
Signature: ?

Our Automated Response:
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

Why do you say you will if you do not? I would not of given my email address if.I would of known that you don’t answer back

Moth Pupae

Moth Pupae

These are definitely not the Chrysalides of any Swallowtail Butterfly.  They are Moth Pupae.  If you purchased from a North American supplier, they might be Regal Moth Pupae.


Ed. Comment:  After reading the first three comments that arrived, we decided to upgrade this posting to the Nasty Reader tag.

Subject: Comments, Responses, & Sad Backpedaling
January 24, 2016 4:35 am
I am a biologist and I work for the Government. I mention this only to reveal my familiarity with reading disturbing and mysterious things. I have been on your site several times hoping to see something interesting. Tonight I did, though not topically expected.  Areas now perfectly clear are:
1)  Nothing here of more knowledge or with  more information than a public high school text book.
2) That you care.
3)You attempt to deflect this by mockery and  wildly unwarranted superiority.
4) That this site does more than babysit its curator’s undernourished egos.
On reading a post , a  schoolyard comment  from another reader, your curiously condescending and marginalizing reply, the rebuke  .. and wait for it…the transparent cowardice of your denial. Perhaps you overlooked a small detail. Tiny detail really..its just that you  typed words on the page.   Hands in pockets and  think  words really, really hard next time? Just a thought.
It’s not too late for this to morph into a catalyst for positive change. Love yourself a little more and understand that cruelty is a game played in shallow water.  Ultimately you will lose. The rest of us can clearly see your feet.
Signature: Amanda

Dear Amanda,
We do consider this website and our life both to be works in progress and we like to think that we have evolved considerably since we first began writing What’s That Bug? in 1998.  From the very beginning, we have maintained that we have no credentials to provide scientific information and we have always strived for our site to be a pop culture site that is accessible to the average person rather than to be a true scientific endeavor targeting intellectual specialists.  That there is “nothing here of more knowledge or with more information than a public high school text book” is not a problem in our mind because there is no requirement that the web browsing public possesses a college degree.  Many children visit our site and a high school text book would be quite educational.  Out of concern for younger readers, we try our best to keep a clean site, so we do not use vulgar language. 

We always defer to true experts, so we question your allegations of our “wildly unwarranted superiority.”  With that stated, your comment has us a bit confused.  There is some praise there, but it is overshadowed by your criticism of our editorial stance.  We are well aware that once content enters cyberspace, it gains a life of its own and it is nearly impossible to rescind, so we actually do carefully consider our words prior to hitting the publish button.  We are not infallible and we do not apologize for our ego.  It can be argued that anyone who enters public life in any way, be it running a blog or running for public office, has an inflated ego. 

Your comment seems to refer to a specific posting with “a schoolyard comment from another reader” and our “transparent cowardice” and what you perceive as “cruelty” on our part, but without a real citation to correspond to your criticism on how we have chosen to run our own public site, we can neither justify our stance nor clarify or defend the meaning of what we have written.  Clearly your background in biology and your position as a government employee has prepared to to analyze our psyche.  In our opinion, your focus on our use of occasional sarcasm vastly overshadows the public service we provide free of charge.

Elise from Facebook Comments.
January 24 at 6:21pm
Love your page, and appreciate that you tried to interpret that sometimes incoherent comment. The poster seems to lack both a sense of humor and a mastery of basic sentence structure. Keep doing what you do.

Ed. Note:  Though it is nowhere near as virulent as other nasty emails we have received, we have decided this posting needs to be tagged with our Nasty Reader Award nonetheless.  Perhaps we are being overly sensitive, but the followup communication from M R just rubbed us the wrong way by implying that our personal (and originally unposted) response was not sufficient.  First, the original email we received did not even include a question, and by all appearances, including the use of abbreviations, this was a hasty submission.  We are a free internet service and we do not have the time to do extensive research on every request we receive.  The image is out of focus, and it is not attractive.  We choose requests with catchy subject lines, attractive images, interesting anecdotes or rare sightings for posting purposes because we find them more interesting, and we believe our readership will also find them more interesting.  We responded to MR the same day the submission was made, and it took MR more than a day to put a species name to the Cicada.  Exact species identifications are frequently time consuming, as MR learned, and we had no clue from the information we received that a species name was even desired.  Granted, our identification was general, but it was correct.  Getting what seems to be a snotty reply that “I figured that a bug id ‘What’s That Bug’ would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada” seemed totally unnecessary and crafted to demean our site.  So, after a hiatus of more than three years, we are finally awarding our Ninth Nasty Reader Award.  We are also linking to BugGuide for information on Neotibicen dorsatus, the Bush Cicada.  

Subject: Bug
Location: TX
August 18, 2015 1:53 am
Don’t know what this bug is called
Signature: M R


Bush Cicada

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, wrote:

August 20, 10:02 PM
It’s a Cicada ( Tibicen Dorsatus) Took some time but I was able to locate it.
I figured that a bug id “What’s That Bug” would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada.