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

A sizable new spider at our backyard.
February 21, 2010
Hi Bugman, here are a couple of photos of a species of spiders I don’t remember seeing at our Sydney backyard before. Would you be able to id it, please.
Ridou Ridou
Sydney Australia

Golden Silk Spider

Goodness gracious Ridou, you are keeping us busy,
This beauty is a female Golden Silk Spider in the genus Nephila.  There are numerous species in Australia, and we are not certain exactly what species this is.  The Spiders of Australia website has several identified and unidentified members of the genus.  We believe this might be Nephila ornata based on images posted on the Nature Stuff website.

Golden Silk Spider

The Brisbane Insect website has nice images of several other members in the genus.

Golden Silk Spider

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

A tiny green Australian spider
February 19, 2010
Hi again,
I quite like this small ‘two-headed green frog spider’ I found inside our house. Would you be able to identify it?
Best,
Ridou
Ridou Ridou
Sydney Australia

Crab Spider

Hi again Ridou,
This is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae, and there are several species pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website.  We are uncertain as to what species you have submitted, and part of our confusion arises from the variability of many species.  One North American species known as the Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia, is known to be able to change its coloration based on the color of the flower or plant upon which it prowls for prey.  You can see some of these variations on BugGuide.  Crab Spiders are easily identified because the two pairs of front legs are considerably longer than the two pairs of hind legs.  We found many nice images of Crab Spiders on the Save Our Waterways website, and there is where we believe we matched your spider to Sidymella rubrosignata.  An image on Wikipedia supports that identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

aussietrev foodchain
February 19, 2010
Hi guys,
Thanks for clearing up that velvet ant gender. This Lynx spider has caught herself a pod boring bug but is having to share it with minute flies that feed on the victims of spiders. I guess they must be immune to the effects of venom or feed before it has made its way through the body of the bug.
aussietrev
Queensland. Australia

Common Lynx Spider and Freeloader Flies eat Pod Sucking Bug

Hi Trevor,
This is such an intricate Food Chain image and we are impressed with the excellent focus and detail on the individuals.  The Common Lynx Spider is well represented on the Brisbane Insect website, but the prey you have indicated, the Pod Sucking Bug, is not recognizable in your photo.  We did locate images of the Pod Sucking Bug, Riptortus serripes, on the Brisbane Insect website.  You sent us another example of Kleptoparasitism with Freeloader Flies last year, and we did extensive research at that time on the phenomenon.  These Freeloader Flies are in the family Milichiidae, and the Biology of Milichiidae page has this information:  “Another very interesting feature of Milichiidae behavior is kleptoparasitism or commensalism. Species of several genera suck at the prey of spiders or predatory insects such as Reduviidae, Asilidae, Mantidae, or Odonata. Mostly they are attracted to predators feeding on stink bugs (Pentatomidae) or squash bugs (Coreidae) (Frost 1913, Robinson & Robinson 1977, Sivinski & Stowe 1980, Landau & Gaylor 1987). In almost all cases it is only the females that are kleptoparasitic. In some cases a close association between milichiid and predator has been postulated, because it was observed that the fly “rides” on the predator for some time, staying with the one predator rather than changing between different predators (Biró 1899, Robinson & Robinson 1977).
”  Irina Brake is the expert on this fascinating family.
Interestingly, in the past two days, we have received numerous beetle corrections from a Dr. Trevor J Hawkeswood of Australia, and we lamented that we have not had any recent submissions from you.

Common Lynx Spider and Freeloader Flies feed on Pod Sucking Bug in Australia

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpiller identify?
February 16, 2010
The photo attached was taken February 16th 2010, in Frankston (A suburb of Melbourne, Australia). Caterpillar was feeding on a Eucalypt flowering gum tree. When disturbed the spins quickly appeared and left a stinging sensation on the skin. Can you please identify it?
Thanks
Rowan Bravington
Melbourne, Australia

Chinese Junk Caterpillar

Hi Rowan,
Your caterpillar goes by the colorful name Chinese Junk Caterpillar because, according the the Brisbane Insect website: “of their shape and their way of moving like ship at sea.
”  The Chinese Junk Caterpillar, or Mottled Cup Moth, Doratifera vulnerans, is in the family Limacodidae.  The Brisbane Insect website has nice images of various instars as well as the cocoon, which looks like an empty cup once the adult moth has emerged.  The caterpillar is capable of stinging if carelessly handled, and apparently the spines are retractable.  Your image shows the spines extended in the defensive position.  This species was included in the 1913 edition of Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary under the definition for the word “sting” with this entry:  “Sting moth (Zo[“o]l.), an Australian moth (Doratifera vulnerans) whose larva is armed, at each end of the body, with four tubercles bearing powerful stinging organs.”  The sting is reported to be quite painful, similar to nettles and leaving a rash.  The caterpillar is also pictured on the Botanic Gardens Trust website.  In North America, members of the family Limacodidae are known as Slug Moths or Slug Caterpillars, and many of them also possess stinging spines. We next searched the Australian Limacodidae page from an excellent Lepidoptera of Australia website which states:  In Australia, they are also called ‘Spitfires’, ‘Battleships’ or ‘Warships’. This is because many species of the Caterpillars carry pockets of stinging spines, which are everted when the animal is disturbed, and sting anyone accidentally brushing against a tree leaf on which it is sitting. Their shape has also given them the common name ‘Chinese Junks’. The Caterpillars are inclined to sit by day happily exposed on the leaves of their foodplant, as they have a bright warning pattern or coloration. Their shape, coloration and perhaps their slow progression has led to another of their common names: ‘Bondi Trams’.”

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your reply and information.
Much appreciated.
Cheers
rowan

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

aussietrev Black Velvet Ant
February 16, 2010
Hi guys,
Congratulations on being near the end with the book project. It has been hot and very wet around this way and over the last couple of days I have come across several of these male wasps hunting around in the sandy soil. There has been some females too but they don’t like the camera getting close.
As an aside, I noticed the letter about the light and the funnel. One method of trapping insects is to bury a bottle with a funnel so that the lip of the funnel is at ground level. A light is suspended above it and ground dwellers walk to the light and fall into the funnel. Hope that sheds some light on it 🙂
aussietrev
Burnett region. Queensland. Australia

Velvet Ant

Hi Trevor,
Welcome back.  We have missed getting submissions from you.  Your letter is a tad bit confusing.  You talk about the male wasps hunting, and the females not letting the camera get close, yet you have submitted an image of a female.  The female Velvet Ants are wingless and the males have wings.  The Brisbane Insect website has photos posted that look very similar to your image, but alas, they have only identified it to the family level of Mutillidae.  Another page on the Brisbane Insect website indicates that most species in Australia are in the genus Ephutomorpha, but that same page labels some wingless individuals as being male.  The What Bug Is That? guide to Australian insects has a nice description of Velvet Ants.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown Insects
February 15, 2010
Please can you help me identify these insects, found in the garden during the summer months.
Chris Moran
Perth, WA, Australia

Jewel Beetle: Castiarina species???

Hi Chris,
Submitting multiple images of unrelated insects negatively compromises our method for archiving letters, so we are not posting all of your images in the same response.  This is a Jewel Beetle or Metallic Borer Beetle in the family Buprestidae, and we believe it is in the genus Castiarina based on an image of Castiarina decemmaculata posted on the Brisbane Insect website.  Your specimen looks very similar, but it doesn’t seem to be an exact match.  The Virtual Beetles website has numerous similar examples from the genus Castiarina, but we are not skilled enough to provide a definitive identification based on your photograph.  The Buprestidae of Australia website contains a thumbnail image of Castiarina malleeana that also is a possibility, but an image posted on Outdoor Webshots shows the spots converging, which may be an individual variation.  The red coloration on the spots of your specimen seem to be a distinction that might help to properly identify this species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination