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

Same colours as the German flag!
Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 12:41 AM
Hi,
My backyard has heaps of these bugs. They tend to hide behind bark. I have never seen them fly. I always have a seed bell hanging from a tree to attract mostly rainbow lorrikeets. The bugs swarm over the bell when the birds have gone. What are they and most importantly are they a danger to plant and tree life ?
Regards Henry Janten
Deer Park Victoria Australia

Unknown Australian True Bug

Harlequin Bug from Australia

Dear Henry,
We didn’t have any luck identifying your True Bug in the order Hemiptera on the Brisbane Insect website. The behavior you describe is similar to North American Boxelder Bugs in the family Rhopalidae, the Scentless Plant Bugs. Other good candidates are the family Lygaeidae, the Seed Bugs or Largidae, the Bordered Plant Bugs. Hopefully one of our readers will write in with an identification.

Update: Unidentified True Bug from Australia
Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 9:20 AM
Daniel:
I believe this beautiful true bug is in the genus Dindymus (Pyrrhocoridae), probably D. versicolour . The common name in Australia is Harlequin Bug (sometimes Fire Bug), although that name also seems to be applied to several related species. They are considered a plant pest, particularly on fruit trees. As the species name suggests, they show considerable variation on color. Another possibility might be D. ventralis. Regards.
Karl
http://www.ento.csiro.au/aicn/name_s/b_1393.htm

Thanks Karl,
Seems we overlooked the Fire Bug on the Brisbane Insect Website because of the coloration not matching the photo we received.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Flying Burrowing Insect?
Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 5:25 PM
Hi
Have recently found this insect making nests in the ground in our backyard. I have never seen this insect before and was wondering if you site could help me identify them. They look to be a cross between a small fly and a wasp but they are only about 5mm long. You can see in one of the photos the holes in the ground where they are burrowing. There are at least 10-15 different holes scattered around where they are coming in and out. They are not any trouble but just wondering what they might be so any help would be fantastic.
Regards Brett Holland
Perth, Western Australia

Homalictus Bee

Homalictus Bee

Dear Brett,
We believe you have a colony of Homalictus Bees.  According to the Which Native Bees Live in Your Area website:  “Although very small (most less than 8 mm long), the glittering Homalictus bees come in a dazzling array of colours. ‘Golden blue’, ‘coppery red’ and ‘green tinged with purple, red or gold’ are just a few of the colours listed by scientists. Homalictus bees dig intricate branching nests in the ground. Many females may live together in each nest, taking turns to guard the narrow nest entrance. One nest was found to be occupied by over 160 females! ” and “With glints of aqua blue, golden green and orange, these Homalictus bees make a stunning sight! Just 5 mm long , these bees are tiny living gems.”

Homalictus Bee

Homalictus Bee


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scorpionfly from Australia – Accomplished Hunters
Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 6:38 PM
Hi again,
I took these shots of our local scorpionfly. Unlike other versions ours is an accomplished hunter of live prey. Check out those talon like hind legs. The assassin and related bugs such as the pod sucking bug (Riptortus serripes) seem to be a favoured target.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Scorpionfly or Hanging Fly

Scorpionfly or Hanging Fly

Hi Trevor,
Thanks so much for sending and identifying this unusual looking Scorpionfly and its prey. According to the Brisbane Insect Website, there is only one species of Scorpionfly from the order Mecoptera in Australia. It is Harpobittacus tillyardi in the family Bittacidae, and it is sometimes called a Hanging Fly.

Scorpionfly captures Pod Sucking Bug

Scorpionfly captures Pod Sucking Bug

The detail photo of the Pod Sucking Bug is a nice addition. According to the Brisbane Insect Website, the Pod Sucking Bug, Riptortus serripes, is a Broad Headed Bug in the family Alydidae. Immature Pod Sucking Bugs are ant mimics.  Now that spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and our weather is warming, our southern readers in the U.S. are starting to send letters our way.  Mail volume is increasing and we had to go back a few days to post your wonderful submission.  More and more mail will go unanswered as the volume continues to increase.

Pod Sucking Bug captured by Scorpionfly

Pod Sucking Bug captured by Scorpionfly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Kleptoparasitic flies
Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:37 AM
Hi guys,
I got this photo of tiny flies trying to get to the ant captured by this jumping spider. Apparently they are Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) some of which are kleptoparasitic of spiders, some specialising in ant snacks such as this one. The spider is a female Salticid, Zenodorus orbiculatus known locally as ant hunters. She is about 7mm long so you can see how tiny those flies are.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Hi Trevor,
Though you have a long history of providing our site with awesome images of Australian fauna, this image is, in our opinion, one of the most fascinating. The fact that you captured this nuanced example of Kleptoparasitism is phenomenal. One animal stealing food or prey from another is common in the animal kingdom, and it is easily observed in our own brand new aquarium, but to photograph these minuscule creatures evolutionarily adapted to this activity is nothing short of fantastic. These Freeloader Flies, as they are called on one website, in the family Milichiidae, are described by Irina Brake on the Introduction to Milichiidae website: “Thu, 2009-02-12 13:48 — Irina Brake
The Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) are small, mostly black acalyptrate flies. The family contains about 240 described species in 19 genera and is worldwide in distribution.
The behavior of several species of Milichiidae is very specialized. For example, in some species the adults are myrmecophilous (= ant-loving), whilst in some others they are kleptoparasitic, feeding on the prey of spiders or predaceous insects.
The habitats of Milichiidae are diverse. Adults can be collected in open landscapes, such as steppes or meadows, in wadis, at the edges of forests, inside forests, in the forest canopy, in stables or houses, or even in caves. However, they do not seem to be attracted to coastal habitats or to other places near water.
The Milichiidae are divided into three subfamilies, Madizinae, Milichiinae, and Phyllomyzinae.
Common names
Common names are only rarely cited for Milichiidae and seem to be more of an invention of the author than a commonly used name. The English term “filth flies”, for example, which is sometimes used for Milichiidae, was introduced by Sabrosky (1959) in the title of a paper about the genus Meoneura , which now belongs to the family Carnidae. Sabrosky probably used the general expression “filth fly” to describe the biology rather than intending the term to be a common name for the family Milichiidae. The term “filth flies” is generally used for several different taxa associated with ‘filth’.
Since people keep stumbling over the name ‘Milichiidae, I herewith introduce a new english common name: “freeloader flies”. The name refers to the biology of Milichiidae. Definitions for ‘freeloader’ are: ‘ someone who takes advantage of the generosity of others’ ( wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn ) or ‘ one who depends on another for support without reciprocating’ ( http://www.answers.com ). ”
BugGuide also has information on the family Milichiidae. The Geocities website has some nice images of the Ant Eater Spider or Ant Hunter Spider, Zenodorus orbiculatus.

Correction: Mon Mar 23, 2009  7:08:13 AM America/Los_Angeles
Dear Daniel,
thanks for alerting me to your photo and citing my webpage. However, I
discussed it with a collegue of mine and we both think that your flies
are Chloropidae, not Milichiidae. Michael von Tschirnhaus is a
Chloropidae specialist and has more experience with actually watching
the live flies than I have. He wrote to me that from the habitus the
flies are certainly Chloropidae. There are several species who are
kleptoparasitic on spiders. He doesn’t know all Australian genera, so he
can’t tell you which genus it is. Many species of different genera
develop in spider cocons and stay with the spider for a longer period of
time. They can wait endless in the spider net.
Best wishes,
Irina

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this Queensland Moth?
Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 9:44 PM
Hey there bugman!
I found this dude in the collar of one of my tee shirts that I had on the line today, and he gave me a little freight since I’ve not seen a moth as big as he is before. However, after my initial shock I decided to get him identified by you. After he’d had enough of the photo shoot he took off, possibly to find another collar to sleep in. He was about the size of my thumb and very fuzzy.
thanks bugman
Pseudo
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Convolvulvus Hawk Moth

Convolvulvus Hawk Moth

Dear Pseudo,
We quickly located your moth on the Brisbane Insects Website and it is a Convolvulvus Hawk Moth, Agrius convolvuli.  We located much information on the species, including another website that indicates has a large range and migrates freely in Europe, Asia and Africa as well as Australia.  More information and photos can be found on the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic website.

Convolvulvus Hawk Moth

Convolvulvus Hawk Moth

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Strike the pose, amazing moth.
Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 6:42 PM
Hi guys,
Found this stunning moth and was fortunate enough to have Donald Hobern, an entomologist from CSIRO provide the ID of Eporectis tephropis (Noctuidae: Catocalinae. I could imagine that if it wasn’t against the green surronds that it would look much like a dead leaf. There are no images of this one on the web at the moment but will supply it to Australian Moths Online as well
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Owlet Moth:  Eporectis tephropis

Owlet Moth: Eporectis tephropis

Hi Trevor,
As always, your images and contributions to our website are a treasure.  We can only wonder when you will begin your own site.  Thanks for this stunning Owlet Moth image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination