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

unusual looking snout nosed insect
April 11, 2010
Hi Bugman
We hope you can identify this strange looking insect that we found in our back garden today.
I must admit, when I first saw it it was curled up and lying on its side in one of our bird feeding dishes, and as it’s six legs were all curled up with the body I initially thought it was very small yound bird that had died. However, when it went to move it I saw the legs move, and eventually the insect righted itself and stood up as per the attached photos (apologies as the second photo is a little bit blurred). Length is approx 1.4-2cm long.
A short while later it had climbed from the dish into the tree branch above, where it is now well camouflaged against the wood.
Cheers
Royston & Tania
Adelaide, South Australia

Elephant Weevil

Read Full Post →

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Australian Grasshopper
April 10, 2010
Hi Bugman, would this be a grasshopper? Besides the eyes, I was also curious about the reddish/orange thing it had on its neck, but looking at grasshopper photos I guess it’s its mouth, not a tick or something gorging on it…
Best,
Ridou
Ridou Ridou
Sydney Australia

Conehead Katydid

Read Full Post →

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Spider with prehensile tail.
April 7, 2010
Ok, this is definitely the wackiest spider I have ever seen – it has a prehensile tail!
The spider is about 20mm long, with it’s tail, and sits in it’s web facing downwards, with it’s tail pointing up (picture 3). the spinnarets are in the middle of the body, not at the end of the tail. If it didn’t have a tail, it’d have basically exactly the same body-shape as, and a similar web to an orb spider.
I think it’s an Arachnura (scorpion-tailed spider), like the one here: http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids/spiders/araneidae/ . Any idea what the tail is for? Balance?
By the way, that’s some Justifiable Carnage, right there: I don’t like European cockroaches. This spider did though >:)
Cheers
naught101
Newcastle, Australia

Scorpion-Tailed Spider

Dear naught101,
You are correct.  This is a Scorpion-Tailed Spider, Arachnura higginsi, which is also pictured on the Insects and Spiders of Brisbane website.  This is the first time we have had a Scorpion-Tailed Spider image submitted to our website, and our first attempts at finding out any information have not produced an answer for your questions, though balance doesn’t really seem to be the purpose or more spiders would have this shape.

Scorpion-Tailed Spider

The spinnerets being located so far from the tip of the abdomen eliminates the possibility that the shape has any web spinning purpose.  Perhaps continued research willl reveal an evolutionary purpose for this odd anatomy.  The need to eat is never a consideration in our determination of Unnecessary Carnage.

Scorpion-Tailed Spider

Hi Daniel,
thanks for your response. One point:
>”…balance doesn’t really seem to be the purpose or more spiders would have this shape.”
Evolution doesn’t work this way, it’s entirely possible that only this one genus has evolved this attribute. In any case, it must be beneficial in some way, or they would quickly die out, since they seem to inhabit the same niche as orb spiders, and a bunch of other genera. In any case, they do seem to use the “tail” for balance, but that doesn’t explain the strange shape and colouration of the tip of the tail. Perhaps Batesian mimicry?
>”The need to eat is never a consideration in our determination of Unnecessary Carnage.”
I don’t understand what you mean. I was implying Carnage on my part – I caught the cockroach, and fed it to the spider. I’m dreaming of having a massive spider army with a taste for european cockraches 😀
cheers
ned

Hi Ned,
The balance issue is all speculation.  It is often stated that Orbweavers are quite clumsy if they fall from their webs.  They lead a relatively sedentary life.  We do not believe the tail is for balance.  It seems more likely that it would confuse a predator that might strike at a less vital part of the spider’s anatomy.
Our self determined definition of Unnecessary Carnage involves creatures being killed out of fear and disgust, though in a sense, your disgust for the European Cockroach led you to feed it to this spider.  The death was not an end though, and a greater purpose was served.  Thanks so much for your thought-provoking letters.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown Australian hawkmoth.
April 3, 2010
Greetings.
Although I’m usually pretty good at identifying local insects, I’ve never seen this one before! I spotted this very large hawkmoth on the balcony and I’m absolutely stumped. You can’t really tell from the pictures, but its first pair of wings were almost irridescent; they seemed to change from dark green to jet black depending on the angle. It’s currently mid-Autumn, should that make a difference. What species is it? It’s really quite gorgeous. =)
Maire
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Fruit Piercing Moth

Greetings Maire,
In February 2008 we posted a photo of this unusual Noctuid Moth, and we had assistance in identifying it as a Fruit Piercing Moth, Eudocima salaminia.  You can find some nice images on Light Creations Critter Page and on the Butterfly House website of Australian species.

Fruit Piercing Moth

The adult moth is considered a pest because it feeds by piercing fruit with its sharp proboscis, leaving the fruit vulnerable to fungus infections.

Fruit Piercing Moth

Well, that explains why I couldn’t identify it – I’ve never seen an owlet
moth with such sharply pointed wings before! Thankyou very much, always
glad to learn more about my buggy friends. =)
Maire.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Australian bug mating in Autumn
April 3, 2010
This pair of bugs is defying my attempts to identify them, The picture was taken in Eastern Australia south of Sydney in early autumn. There were many similar mating pairs visible. The female is 1 inch long and appears to have no wings. the male is winged but much smaller.
Bruce Terry, Sydney, Australia
Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Unknown Sexually Dimorphic Mating Flies from Australia

Dear Bruce,
Had your photo arrived two days earlier, our first reaction would have been that someone was playing a very good April Fool’s Day joke on us and we would have searched for evidence of photoshop tampering.  Our second thought was that this might be an accidental encounter between unrelated species, but the magnification revealed penetration barely visible under the wings of the male.  Your written account of the sighting also discounts the accidental encounter between unrelated species possibility.  These are flies, and there are species of flies that are wingless, but we don’t know of a species with such pronounced sexual dimorphism in which only the female is wingless.  This may take us hours of research that we could otherwise spend answering the increasing number of letters we are beginning to receive now that spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere.  We have opted for posting without an identification, leaving it as an announcement at the top of our homepage until we get a response with a correct identification.  Karl has returned from Costa Rica and he is wonderful at internet research.  Have you any additional photos from other angles?
Back in January 2007, we posted a photo from Australia of a Wingless Fly that was identified as a female Boreoides subulatus
in the subfamily Chiromyzinae and this is probably the same subfamily, so we will be creating a new fly subcategory now that there are two postings on our site.

Dear Daniel, Thank you for your very prompt response, and for the star billing on the website!
I attach another photo (not exactly the same bug, that one had disappeared) but the same species, this time with no attendant male.
It shows more clearly the foreparts which might help with identification.
Thank you for your help with this.
Best regards
Bruce Terry

Wingless Australian Fly: subfamily Chiromyzinae

Hi again Bruce,
Thanks so much for the high quality additional photo.  This should assist any Diptera experts that view our site.

Update:
April 4, 2010
Mirth provided us with a comment, though the link did not show.  We did a web search of the information she provided, and we found this Csiro website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

March 20, 2010
HI Please can you tell me what type of beetle this is please, iv have only just started getting interested in
bug and insects I’m a cub scout leader so i would like to show the cubs all the pics i take and tel them
about the fly or bug thank you. The beetle was found at Joondalup lake.
many thanks
Stephanie Nolson

Unknown Darkling Beetle

Hi Stephanie,
Before we could even attempt to answer your question, we needed to research where on the planet Joondalup lake is found, and we now know that it is near Perth in Western Australia.  We thought your beetle looked like a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, but it is shorter and stouter than most members of that family.  We found some images that are also unidentified on the Life Unseen website page of Australian Click Beetles.  We may be totally wrong, but that is our best guess at the moment.

Daniel:
Definitely a darkling beetle, family Tenebrionidae.  Beyond that I can’t help much, not being very familiar with the Australian fauna.  I will, however, happily accept a year or two sabbatical, expenses paid, to study the insects and arachnids there:-)
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination