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

Green-patterned Aussie moth
April 29, 2010
Hello! I have a rather lovely moth for you to look at, and I hope you have better luck identifying it than I have!
I’m writing for a friend who lives somewhere in the southeastern portion of Queensland, Australia who discovered this little moth sitting on her computer screen. She was kind enough to send me a photo since I’m typically pretty good at tracking down an identification. This time, I’ve come up empty handed. 🙁
Any help solving the mystery would be much appreciated!
An inquiring mind
southeast Queensland, Australia

Unknown Moth

We haven’t the time to research this moth this morning since we must leave for work, but we will post it in the hope that our readership might have some luck.  We would probably start the daunting task of identification by looking through the Owlet Moths in the family Noctuidae on the Australian Moth Website.

Thanks for the site link! A quick browse over it and I believe our mystery moth is an aptly named green blotched moth, cosmodes elegans. What a cute little fellow!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What kind of spider is this?
April 23, 2010
I was on a uni field trip in the Toomba Nature Refuge/ Great Basalt National Park in Queensland, Australia (April 2010) and I almost walked straight into this guy’s web. The spider was quite big, I’d say a bit smaller than a person’s hand length. The area was grassy eucalypt woodland and it was early in the morning. In the picture the spider has a big parcel in its hands. Not sure what it was, just assumed that it was food. Anyway, his colouring is pretty awesome!
Esther
Great Basalt National Park, QLD, Australia

Golden Silk Spider

Hi Esther,
Collectively, Spiders in the genus Nephila are known as Golden Silk Spiders because of the color of the silk they spin.  Australia has several species in the genus Nephila and we believe your spider is Nephila edulis, based on the Brisbane Insect website, which indicates the spider is commonly called the Golden Orb Weaver, a name shared with the OzAnimals website.  On Wikipedia, the Latin meaning of the species name edulis is translated to edible, and there is mention of this spider being roasted and eaten in New Guinea:  “While it is not entirely clear why this particular species is considered edible, it is known that several Nephila species are considered a delicacy in New Guinea, where they are plucked by the legs from their webs and lightly roasted over an open fire.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large ‘Alien’ looking Insect
April 18, 2010
Hi, the attached ‘insect’ was found dead in 2005 in Brisbane’s Western Suburbs. I thought I had lost the photos until now. Having never seen anything that so closely resembles the main character of the film Alien, and I am not talking about Sigourney Weaver here, I was wondering if you could id this insect as something natural rather than as a hungry visitor from another planet. The closest match I have been able to find is the ‘Goliath Stick Insect’ – really lame name by the way – but I have not seen any photo’s that match the hideous head and plus the doco states it grows to 7 inches not 9. It was reasonably weighty and as you can see, when straitened out, it was around 9 inches long. We found it on our driveway. There are a lot of Gum trees nearby. It’s abdomen was full of what looked like maggots and it was certainly putting out a strong ‘rotting meat’ odour so I assume it was fly-blown and not full of offspring. If it was offspring – you will find them at the city dump or wherever it is that the wheelie bins are emptied.
Thomas
Brisbane Western Suburbs

Goliath Stick Insect

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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

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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

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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