Library Bug Hunt Part 2: Yellow-spotted woodlouse and other crawling things

2009 July 4

Last week, we looked at some of the bugs that the kids caught at our annual Bug Hunt at the public library, focusing on the ones that had wings [1]. This week, we’ll look at the wingless ones (wingless either because they are larvae or nymphs that haven’t developed wings yet, or because they are spiders or crustaceans that never have wings in the first place).

The best of these were for an interesting woodlouse, that had pairs of yellow spots running all down its back. This is oddly colorful for a woodlouse, mostly they are just shades of gray.


Judging from the yellow spots and its generally large size (for a woodlouse), it looks like Porcellio spinicornis. It also looks a bit like Oniscus asellus, but it looks like it has a black head and a rough surface, which the folks at Bug Guide say is more typical for P. spinicornis


In either case, it is one of the woodlice imported accidentally from Europe.

Next up is (I think) yet another species of wolf spider. It saw us and froze for pictures, and then scurried off. It was a bit smaller than the ones I’ve shown pictures of previously, but has similar coloration.


The kid that caught this next one said it was in a foam mass on a pine tree, making it the nymph of some type of spittlebug, family Cercopidae. I see a lot of spittlebugs around, but most of them have nymphs that are green. This reddish one is unusual, but then again, I never looked at the spittlebugs that live on pine trees before.


And finally, we have a greenish-brown caterpillar, not quite sure what it was eating. If I remember correctly, it was actually found in somebody’s hair, so it may have dropped out of a tree. I don’t know what it is.


So, anyway, that’s not everything we found by a long shot, but it is fairly representative of the sorts of things that were around. It occurs to me that, if I set things up correctly, I could probably have the kids bring me enough bugs in a couple of hours to produce enough bug photographs to post one species a week for the whole year. That would be one way to make sure I’d be able to continue updates all through the winter!

[1] No reason, other than the fact that we had roughly equal numbers of “wingless” and “winged” subjects, so it made a convenient way to break it into two parts.

4 Responses
  1. July 5, 2009

    Props to you for taking time with the kids to do this! When you identified the bugs at the library, did you have a book with you or did you do it from memory?

  2. July 6, 2009

    Thanks! We did have the books with us, but I was able to do most of it from memory (at least far enough to satisfy the kids). They were (understandably) much less concerned about scientific names, than about things like “what is it, what does it do, and what does it eat?”

  3. llopez permalink
    September 5, 2009

    Hi, Tim. We just tweeted about your Backyard Arthropod Project. Check it out at Are you on Twitter? If so, give us your @name and we’ll follow. Happy hunting ;-D

  4. December 16, 2013

    The spider on the picture is Thanatus sp. – family Philodromidae

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