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Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

Posted by texaspuddyprint (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 16, 06 at 23:23

Found this bugger eating the leaves of a Texas Sugarberry tree (anacua) which is in the hackberry family.

It's small - about 1/2" long and has feet with claws. The tail is usually curled upward and it seems to mimic a scorpion. It looks like it has hairs coming out of the sides but they are spiny branches.

Any ideas what this is?

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~ Cat (tip of south Texas / zone 9)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

We GOTTA get this one. It's a stinging slug caterpiller of some kind, right? That tail thingie....can't quite place this one. Let's put our thinking caps on, lol!


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

You got me! That's two hours of life I'll never get back until I find out what it is. Now I'm on a mission! I've gone through all the stingers, no luck. Something weird about the tail. Some keep their molts attached as camoflage. The "claws" part is weird too.


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

You said it DBD...spent an hour when this thread first appeared...to no avail, I might add....slug caterpillar was as close as I could get, too.


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

The tail thing could be something like the curved hook thing on hornworms when they pupate, which contains the probiscus of the moth. Is this a possibility?

Susan


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

OK...who can we send this off to for an ID? Does anyone have an 'in' with a specialist or lab?


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

What about bug guide..They have a form for ID requests....might be complicated tho...never have done it...

Here is a link that might be useful: bug guide..


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

This thing is still alive. I keep putting in fresh cuttings for it. It hasn't pupated into anything yet...am assuming it eventually will. Still have no idea what it is!

I wasn't sure if it would sting or burn like an asp so I do keep my distance when changing out the cage.

~ Cat


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

Super! Can you photograph it again from all sides, and then from the bottom through the glass. Might help.


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

Cat...if it is one of the slug caterpillars (and we all think that it is), it will sting. The urticating cells are usually held in those extensions along the side.

I, too, would like to see other images, and am most interested in that 'tail'.


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

AHA...Bugger has been IDENTIFIED!!! I emailed the Texas Entomology website and Mike Quinn quickly id'd it. I checked on the bug today and it has started to pupate or transform into a beetle now.

http://www.texasento.net/Coptocycla.htm

~ Cat

Here is a link that might be useful: Anacua Tortoise Beetle


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

Aw, man. I was gonna say that.


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

Hmmmmm. Maybe another species of tortoise beetle....a close relative? Sure doesn't look like what you have.

Good job! I've sure seen different kinds of tortoise beetles, but never occured to me to find out what the larvae looked like. Fascinating!

Here is a link that might be useful: Another tortoise beetle larvae


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

So are they good guys or bad buys or in between guys? What is their purpose in the general insect scheme of things?

Susan


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

I'd say not beneficial to the leaves they eat.


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

Their purpose? To be born, to eat, mate and create the next generation. But I think you mean what is its role in the human scheme of things, lol!

Here's how I look at it. All plants can tolerate a certain amount of insect activity. If I see a large population of one pest insect on a particular plant, I'll consider taking some kind of action to get it back into balance. For example, I see maybe 5 Japanese Beetles all year in my garden and I ignore them completely. But if I saw one munching on one of my bonsai, he's be tossed in the bird bath.

Tortoise beetles are not usually considered a pest species, unless you have one or two on some very young seedlings. They don't travel in huge crowds, thankfully. Birds will eat them.

Say, did you read that that 'scorpion' tail is actually collected beetle doo? And I guess those little spines won't sting. ;-)


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RE: Insect larva that looks like a scorpion?

Wow! Very cool, thanks for sharing that.

Texaspuddyprint, the one in your pic is way cooler looking than the others. It's frass formed into a dragon head somehow.


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