We recently received a question via the All About Worms Facebook page about some “tiny” insects in a reader’s upstairs bathroom. The size of the insects is emphasized, and the reader reports that they can hardly be seen by the naked eye. As a point of reference, she says that they are smaller than a sesame seed, which certainly makes them very small, even in the insect world. The reader also reports that the insects are striped, and that they have a couple of hairs that visibly extend from their back ends, which stand in contrast to the little hairs that cover their bodies. The reader wants to know what she is finding, and she also wants to know why they are in her bathroom.
We received a strange email from a reader recently concerning some small black insects that are currently all over his house. Here is his entire message: “I have small black tiny insects all over my house. These are usually found in a bag of rice but right now are all over the house.” The message is straightforward and casual in an unusual way, and you’ll also notice that no question is asked. Did this reader merely want to inform us of his situation, or is he perhaps wondering what he found? We’ll assume the later and try to make some sense of the tiny black insects in our reader’s house.
A reader recently wrote us a very concise and particular question: “What is a favorite worm meal for Filipino people?” That is the entirety of the reader’s email, so evidently the reader is only interested in the fairly limited matter of what insects are consumed in the Philippines. (Or we suppose he is technically interested in what worms are eaten in the Philippines, but we’ll have to broaden the focus a little to include insects in general.) So, without further delay, what type of insects or worms do Filipinos enjoy?
We received a very interesting question a while ago about some sort of insect that looks “like a blade of grass” (or a stick, to our eyes). The reader referred to the creature, which he found in a state park in Pennsylvania, as a “really weird worm,” but also added that it might not actually be a worm. Based on the video he sent in, it appears that the grass-like creature is an insect, not a worm. What kind of insect is, of course, the question. Below we investigate what this insect that look likes grass might be. (As mentioned, we think the insect looks a bit like a stick as well, so we’ll be using “grass” and “stick” to basically mean “some sort of elongated plant material.”)
We received a very strange question involving a “tiny sucker mouth” (or suckermouth) and what may be a type of insect disguised as a leaf (a “greenish, grey leaf,” more precisely) from a reader recently. The reader was out trapping minnows in a small pond in Wyoming when he came across a leaf insect (or whatever it is), and at first he didn’t know what he was looking at. However, when he poked the (evidently) living leaf, which is about the size of a nickel, it curled up. The insect that looks like leaf, if it is an insect, eventually stretched back out, revealing a whitish underside and, more surprisingly, the “tiny sucker mouth” mentioned earlier. The reader has “no clue” what he found, so he wrote to see if we might be able to identify the insect leaf with a sucker mouth (or suckermouth).
Given the overwhelming diversity that characterizes the insect world – there are millions of species currently in existence, and they could constitute up to 90 percent of all animal life forms on earth – it may come as a surprise that up until very recently, there were believed to be no amphibious insects. This long-held assumption changed when researches in Hawaii discovered caterpillars that were just as comfortable living on land as they were underwater. The caterpillars, of which there are several species, belong to the genus Hyposmocoma, which encompasses about a third of all butterflies and moths found in Hawaii. (Members of the genus are exclusively found in Hawaii as well.) Below we provide an overview of these amphibious caterpillars, the only known insects in the world, and possibly the only animals in the world, that are adapted to live on land and underwater.
Not long ago, a reader sent us a question about a worm or bug that eats through trees. More precisely, he said the creature eats a circle around a tree limb, causing the branch to fall to the ground. We were perplexed by this question because we had never heard of any sort of bug that eats around a tree branch, and we certainly had never heard of any worms (our specialty, after all) that could do so either. However, we have recently discovered that the insects that eat through tree branches are twig girdlers, which is about as fitting of a name as one could ever hope for – twig girdlers, well, girdle twigs. Twig girdlers are beetles, making them insects, not worms. Twig girdlers, or Oncideres pustulatus, are interesting creatures, so we decided to put together some basic information about them.