Category: beetles

nanonaturalist: @midnight-mod submitted: Hey! …


@midnight-mod submitted:

Hey! Could I get some help IDing these little fellas? My mom found them in a lake in Texas, they’re about 5-6cm long. She’s a flyfisherman so she’s always really excited about learning about aquatic larvae in areas she fishes! I’ve been digging through lists and guides of aquatic invertebrates/larvae and haven’t found anything quite like them, care to help me out?

These fat babies are water scavenger beetle larvae. I’ve never been blessed with seeing them in person, but I have seen the adults. They can be small, but they can also get very large! Here are a couple from Austin:


Tropisternus sp.


Hydrophilus ovatus 

These were both seen in March 2018. Sorry it took me SO LONG to answer you life is stressful!

December 1, 2018

@indelliblemercinary, that’s a great question (and thanks for pointing that out–I edited my post to say they are beetle larvae to avoid confusion). I think you will find that many immature aquatic insects take on these shapes, which means they can look very similar to one another. I mentioned I’ve never seen water scavenger beetle larvae before, but I have seen predaceous diving beetle larvae before:

This guy is a lot younger than the babies in the submitted photo (this photo had to be taken through a microscope!), but the shape of the head and the mouthparts (those are beetle jaw pincers!) are very similar. If you are familiar enough with beetle larvae, you will notice that the legs, head shape, eyes, and “neck” are different enough that they are not the same type of beetle. 

But let’s look at dragonflies and damselflies, because those are very interesting to compare! I’d like to note that the immature forms of dragonflies and damselflies are known as nymphs because they don’t go through complete metamorphosis (there is no pupa stage, they just molt one more time and come out as a full adult). All beetles go through complete metamorphosis, so their immature phases are called larvae, even when they are aquatic.

I have never seen a living dragonfly nymph (I think they tend to keep themselves buried!), but I have seen their exuvia (the exoskeletons they leave behind after they molt). The exuvia will show you exactly what they looked like, minus some of the coloring. Notice the differences between this guy’s body shape and the beetle larvae: you can actually see the little flaps where his wings were forming, his legs are much longer, he has much larger eyes, and he doesn’t have the “pincer” jaws. Before that final molt, the nymph climbs out of the water so they can hang and let their wings harden, and sometimes you can get lucky and find one near a pond or lake.

Here is a live damselfly nymph! A little different from the dragonfly (we have the tail gills, and a longer body), but still fairly similar when you compare it to the beetle larvae. See the wing buds on his back? 

You are more likely to notice beetle larvae and dragonfly/damselfly nymphs when they are older and ready to become adults, but it’s important to keep in mind that they start out very tiny! As they develop, dragonfly and damselfly nymphs will molt several times, and look more and more like adults each time–but this means they start out looking more “larva-like.” Those wing buds don’t start to become visible until later stages in their development. For beetle larvae, they can start out very thin, and then get very fat as they feed, which can make identifying them tricky!

Aquatic insects are challenging, immature life stages of insects are challenging, so immature life stages of aquatic insects are really hard! I am definitely not an expert on these topics, so always feel free to ask me if I’m sure about something!

December 2, 2018

@midnight-mod submitted:

@midnight-mod submitted:

Hey! Could I get some help IDing these little fellas? My mom found them in a lake in Texas, they’re about 5-6cm long. She’s a flyfisherman so she’s always really excited about learning about aquatic larvae in areas she fishes! I’ve been digging through lists and guides of aquatic invertebrates/larvae and haven’t found anything quite like them, care to help me out?

These fat babies are water scavenger beetles. I’ve never been blessed with seeing them in person, but I have seen the adults. They can be small, but they can also get very large! Here are a couple from Austin:

Tropisternus sp.

Hydrophilus ovatus 

These were both seen in March 2018. Sorry it took me SO LONG to answer you life is stressful!

December 1, 2018

This might be extremely gross for some but I r…

This might be extremely gross for some but I recently found a nest of carpet beetles in an unused room of my house. One of the larvae pupated and has become an actual beetle. I'm in love with these seemingly pest-like creatures please tell me how I can get rid of them without hurting them so my family doesn't find out and kill them. If you can't I understand, they are considered pests more than anything but they're so cute. All those spots on their backs and tiny legs and wings and asfdgh sorry

uhhhh I think the only way to get rid of them without harming them is to just remove them by hand one by one? I know that is a super unsatisfactory answer because they are so small and easy to miss. 

But my dude I totally agree, they are adorable. I used to play with the ones I found in my house. I was also the girl in my house that prevented my family from killing the bugs when possible so I totally get ya. Good luck with them.


Inktober: Days 4, 5, 6

Bit behind, so I did some quick non-colored outlines. Needed inspiration for the last two, so I went through photos on my phone that aren’t on iNaturalist yet *gasp*

Day 4 prompt: Lacewing.

Drawing is of this bab whom my coworker found in her lab notebook [link to iNat]. I was cradling the sweet bab in my hand as I went to let him go, and he BIT ME!!!

Day 5 prompt: Spots.

This is the tortoise beetle species who loves eating my morning glories. These are the best: they are normally a shiny gold, but when they feel threatened, they withdraw all the fliud in their wings that creates the shiny gold effect, which will cause their bright red and black-spotted bodies to become visible. They mimic lady beetles, which taste terrible, as a way to protect themselves.

Day 6 prompt: Grasshopper

These things are leggy and hard to draw, but I’m pretty pleased with this one! Don’t know species yet, bit should be fairly obvious to anyone who knows their orthopterans.

October 7, 2018 (lying)

Prompts from @six-legs-and-more !

A beetle friend in the house! October 4, 2018

A beetle friend in the house!

October 4, 2018

itscolossal: A Beetle Tattoo Spreads its Wing…


A Beetle Tattoo Spreads its Wings in Tandem With its Owner’s Arm


pterygota: Alright so I’m the anon, and the s…


Alright so I’m the anon, and the shiny one is Bert. Also, found this other little dude among a horde of lady beetles/bugs/birds (???) and a shiny looking mosquito? But anyways, I’ve branched out from bees to other bugs, on my side blog just for them! I’m very pleased about it

oh, bert is beautiful!! i love those colors!

i believe the little dude under the leaf is a stink bug of some sort, and the shiny thing is a long-legged fly, probably in the genus condylostylus – i just love their iridescence! i sometimes come across ones that are a deep blue color

thank you so much for sharing! do you mind sharing your sideblog? 🙂

Hold onto your horseflies Anon submitter! Your shiny Bert is a lady beetle!!! (Commonly called ladybugs or lady birds, they are members of the order Coleoptera, aka Beetles). Bert is likely a member of the Halmus genus. If you are in the US, you are probably in California, because Bert is an Australian species (Steelblue lady beetle) that was recently introduced to the US [link to bugguide].

Your shy hiding friend is a stink bug, from what I can see, most likely a Rough Stink Bug (usually camouflaging on tree bark). He could be something else, but it’s hard to tell from just his face.

And the above is correct about your shiny green friend. Long-legged flies are very pretty. Some species are a shiny orange-red, but most are blue or green. They do look a lot like mosquitos, which are just another kind of fly.

September 17, 2018

Hi!! I was wondering if you would have tips fo…

Hi!! I was wondering if you would have tips for bug sighting (catching?? Bug tourism??) That you could share? Like if there was a better time of day, places to check. I live in Singapore and I've only recently decided to be more open with my love of insects thanks to blogs like yours!!

Great question! First off, Singapore is a wonderful ecosystem and you are guaranteed to find some really good stuff out there. There are three strategies I use when I’m in a new, unfamiliar place and I want to find bugs.

Tips for Finding Bugs (and other good nature stuff)

1. Slow Down and Look Around
I know this seems obvious, but don’t underestimate this one. I lived in and around Seattle for 28 years before I moved to Texas. I don’t really remember Seattle as having any bugs, and I liked them and wanted to see them. Part of the reason I got into bugs after moving to Texas was the bugs here are SO LOUD and SO LARGE that you can’t ignore them. Fairly recently, I’ve gone through all my old photos looking for things I could upload to iNaturalist. And I found stuff like this from Washington state that I had absolutely no memory of seeing:


Above: Leptura obliterata and Diurnal Firefly Genus Ellychnia

It turns out, wanting to see bugs isn’t good enough. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, like I occasionally did, but you need to be more deliberate to get satisfaction. Regardless of where you are in the world, slowing down and looking around you will help out a lot. 


Above: Successes in staring at the ground in Paris, France (left, European Fire Bug) and in the middle of nowhere at a rest stop in Texas (right, Wall Crab Spider)

2. Learn Where and When to Look
But of course, not everything will be out in the open and awake when you are wandering around doing your daily business. Sometimes, you need to go looking for things, and where and when you look will depend on your location, time of the year, and what you want to see.

In general: learn the basic niches and habitats of the types of bugs you are the most interested in. Not sure what you like the most yet? Then try looking everywhere you can. And I mean, everywhere.


Above: At least five species of insects on one piece of scat

For the most part, bugs want to remain hidden. So look on the underside of leaves, under rocks, motionless on the ground, on the side of trees, etc. But, bugs also have to eat! So look in garbage cans, gardens, perched along a pond, in/on flowers, in/under rotting wood. You will likely find some areas are better than others where you are. In Texas, one of those places is inside cactus flowers:


When you go bug hunting, look for signs a bug is nearby. Nibbles taken out of leaves, poops on the ground, leaves curled up in strange shapes. When you see things like this, it means a bug was there recently, and may still be there! As you learn more about the types of bugs you’re interested in, you will also learn what they eat and where they lay their eggs, which means you will have a much easier time finding them! I’m not too skilled in identifying plants, but I have learned specific host plants, which means I don’t need to wander around aimlessly turning over leaves when I’m looking for something. 

As you mention, time of day can also be important. I think you can generally find the same numbers of bugs regardless of the time of day in a favorable season, but they will be different kinds of bugs, and you have to use different methods to find them. At night, many of the bugs who were hiding away during the day will come out and do their thing, safely out of sight of all the birds who want to eat them. Some of these are attracted to lights, which means a productive place to look is by lights in otherwise dark areas. Check out a few of the things I found at a light in Kuchawe, Malawi:


If you are going to do some night searches, make sure you have a good headlamp. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to hold a flashlight and a camera, AND poke at a bug to get it to move.

3. Finding Bug Hot-Spots

Okay, so you know how to look for bugs, but how do you find the best places to see the best bugs? The easiest way is to just look for parks, gardens, and other natural areas. When I’m traveling, I will pull up a map of where I’m at, and I’ll look for “green” areas nearby. Usually these are nature parks, and I’ve found some of my favorite places just by doing this. Another method is to find out where other people have seen interesting things. iNaturalist is a great way to do this (and you can talk to other bug people in your area to get tips!). Here’s the map showing where over 600 people have seen over 24,000 bugs in Singapore [link]! 

Good Luck!!!

September 9, 2018

Back From Scotland!


An Adventurer Was Me!


Here’s just a few samples from my massive photo haul! I will post more later!

Xylota segnis! (Brown-toed Forest Fly – possibly a robot)


Anoplotrupes stercorosus! (Woodland Dor Beetle – shiny blue legs and pleasantly round)


Sericomyia superbiens! (A Drone Fly That Looks Exactly Like Some Nearby Bumble Bees! So big and fluffy!)


Bufo bufo! (European Toad – tiny anger unit)


Genus Araneus! (Orbweaver – tiny eyes and cool tats)


Nicrophorus vespilloides!

(Boreal Sexton Beetle + Mites – eats mushrooms, a good boy)


Aglais io! (European Peacock Butterfly – looks like poker chips, would bet on black)


I learned something interesting about Sexton beetles this week! The mites that ride them around have a symbiotic relationship with them. Sexton beetles will lay their eggs in carrion and other fun rotting matter, and there can be predators that eat baby Sexton beetles hiding in the food. The mites are predatory on some species that specifically target the Sexton babies, so after the eggs are laid, the mites will stay with them! I don’t know the specifics (what exactly is eating baby Sexton beetles?), but I hadn’t considered what kinds of relationships the mites can have with various other species.

Looks like you had fun (I’m jealous!)

August 30, 2018

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: Scoundrel. …




Y’all haven’t smelled anything until a GIANT BEETLE POOPS ON YOU. I swear I smelled like legions of porta potties were distilled into a special “just-for-me” Eau de Scarabée fragrance that I was forced to wear the rest of the night. Like, imagine the grossest subway elevator possible and make it smell worse, and then imagine you had to take a whiff every time you wanted to photograph something. Rude.

Grapevine Beetle, by the Colorado River in Austin, Texas
Smelled May 16 / Posted June 13, 2018

Okay so, today while looking for ducks, a GIANT beetle larva (it had to have been something like a leaf beetle but it was massive) scurried out from the bushes and I petted him a bit to slow him down for photos. He ended up crawling into my hoodie sleeve, and when I tried to lift him up he got SO SCARED he pooped in my sleeve a little. Super tiny baby poop though.


Thanks, Canada

(July 25, 2018 / posted from Calgary)

I transferred the last couple month’s worth of photos to the computer, and went digging for the beetle larva so I could figure out WHAT it WAS that had such FOUL smelling POOPS

This bab. Such sweet, gentle kisses

Such warm, cozy snuggles

Who could you be?


well no wonder!

I still need to wash that sweater :X

Friend seen July 25 in Calgary, AB! / Posted August 17, 2018