Currently viewing the tag: "WTB? Down Under"
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Scary Australian bug
I saw your site listed as a Bonzer site on This Is True a little while back. When my wife found this terrifying bug last night, I immediately thought of you in trying to identify it. My wife went to the loo last night and saw this thing sitting on the top of the doorframe. She exited as quickly as possible and called me. After about ten minutes of spirited discussion we summoned up the courage (and tools) necessary to approach it. I took the first photo after we’d managed to knock it on to the toilet floor. After that I took it outside, emptied it from the container we’d captured it in and executed it. I took the second photo this afternoon, just so that you could see the bottom of this creature in case it helps with identification. I’ve failed to identify it from anything I could see on your website. I had a look on BugGuide, and I’m *guessing* that it fits in the subclass Apterygota. I live in Lauderdale, Tasmania, Australia. The bug is roughly 4cm from the head to the end of its abdomen, and the terrifying spike thing on the back adds almost another 2cm. I’m not sure whether I want you to tell me that it’s dangerous, and that I’m therefore justified in killing it, or that it’s harmless so I can sleep at night without worrying that more will turn up. We found a dried up husk on our front porch which obviously belonged to one of these, so we know there are more around. Anyway, I hope you like the pictures, and I hope you can tell me what it is!

Hi John,
We can assure you this gal was perfectly harmless. It looks to us like a Weta, a primitive Orthopteran that is endangered in New Zealand. There are close relatives in South Africa and Australia, and the North American relatives are the Potato Bugs. In New Zealand, the Giant Wetas can grow to 8 inches. Here is the Wikipedia page with more information.

Update:  February 1, 2014
This is a female King Cricket, Australostoma australasia.

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burrow id??
Would you pls be able to take a guess at what lives in this burrow??? I live in Victoria [Australia] and this hole was found in [my garden. I pour water down the hole and it is rebuilt the next day.]

Hi Kelly,
WE cannot give you anything conclusive. Because of the silk, we are inclined to guess a spider.

Thanks. I now have the occupant of the burrow. Would you know how I go about having it identified???
Many thanks,

Hi Kelly,
This is some species of Tarantula. They often live in burrows. We would love to post your original burrow photo which we seem to have misplaced. Could you please resend it. We located a great website by Steve Nunn devoted to Australian Tarantulas.

Hi Daniel,
I sent the pics to another gentleman and here is his reply…
“Dear Kelly,
Living in Queensland my knowledge of Victorian spiders is not as good as it is of Queensland ones. However, your spider is definitely a primitive spider (i.e. a mygalomorph) and appears to be a Chenistonia species. In Queensland the equivalent spider is Namea salanitri which also places a sheet web over its burrow entrance during the day. Your spider has a size not much smaller than a funnel-web but its venom is not considered to be particularly dangerous to humans unlike funnel-web venom. If there are more in the back yard, leave them there. They are unlikely to do you any harm although the males may come above ground in the breeding season (which I suspect will be autumn for this species) and may surprise you.
Ron Atkinson
USQ CRICOS No. 00244B”
Are you sure it’s a type of Tarantula? Do they have burrows??? If you can provide any further info I would be grateful. Regards, Kelly

Hi Kelly,
We would always defer to the local expert. We can tell you though that Tarantulas are considered Mygalomorphs. They are, as Ron states, primitive spiders. Mygalomorphs include not only Tarantulas, but also Trapdoor Spiders and Purseweb Spiders.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Fiddler Beetle
What a great site!!
I came across it while I was searching for a name to put to this lovely beetle I found wandering across my living room carpet one afternoon – the cat was eyeing it off as a snack so I rescued it. From the beetles’ odour, general and mandible morphology I guessed that it might be a eucalypt blossom eater (Gum tree flowers have a distinctive honey/eucalyptus smell) and sure enough, he/she took to a sprig I picked for it like it was candy. So I took photos and released it in native scrubland. The last I saw, it was happily scurrying under a nice damp rotting log. Anyhow, the Australian Museum was kind enough to help me identify it as a Fiddler Beetle, Eupoecila australasiae, but I could not help but share this beautiful creature with you and your readers.
Sydney, Australia

Hi Ruth,
Thank you so much for sending in your photo and letter. We got another image of a Fiddler Beetle a few weeks ago, and couldn’t possitively identify it, so we just gave it the generic name of Scarab Beetle, a reference to the Family.

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Is it a beetle of some sort?
I am an American (not that that is really pertinent!) living in Australia (east coast, halfway between Brisbane and Sydney). I found this bug at the park. I looked through your beetles and couldn’t find it…not really sure it is a beetle. It moves fairly fast and flies and was difficult to photograph. It is fairly small, maybe 1/2 inch. And, love your site! I wanted to be an entomologist, but I can’t even kill an ant, so how was I ever going to dissect creatures I so cherish. Thanks for your help.

Hi Ellen,
We are touched by your compassion. This looks to be one of the Soldier Beetles, in the family Cantharidae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Looks like an immature Assassin Bug?
Hello Bugman
A friend found this guy in her garden (Toowoomba, Queensland Australia) – We have lots of the reddish brown bodied mature Assassin Bugs, this is the first one of this color I have seen. The head and neck look a slightly different shape to what I am used to. Do you think it is of the Assassin bug family? Thanks in anticipation
Keith Power
Toowoomba Q

Hi Keith,
This is one of the Assassin Bugs. It looks like one of the group known as Bee Assassins.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Bugman,
Hope you will be able to identify this little critter for us. sister-in-law found it on her rose bush on Tue 15 Nov. She then placed it in a large cardboard box (with food) until Sun 20 Nov, the day she returned it to the rose bush. Yesterday, Thu 24 Nov this little critter was still sitting happily on the rose bush. We live in Barcaldine – Central Western Queensland Australia. Trust you can help. Thank you.

Hi Joycelyn,
We sought expert help with your awesome specimen, but cannot come up with an exact species. We can tell you it is some type of Katydid and that it is immature. That crest is so distinctive. In Los Angeles, the Katydids love my rose bushes as well. I usually shoo them away since I don’t like them eating the rose buds, but I am well aware that they just return. Since I really like Katydids, I won’t kill them, but I would really rather have them eating shrubbery leaves.

Update (03/29/2006) We just got the following letter:
Hi Bugman, I noticed the picture of the ‘crested katydid’ you had been sent from Australia. I believe this is the Superb Katydid (Alectoria superba). Hope this is of help. Keep up the good work.
Aaron in London, UK

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination