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| Deborah Nakamoto | Trip Reports


Deborah Nakamoto had some photos of bugs she identified that she wanted to share. Most people don’t notice these little guys.

“These 17 bugs are some of the more interesting ones I’ve seen so far this year on different camping trips and hikes. I’m trying to learn their names, not just “beetle” or “spider,” with much help from the experts in the Insect Identification group on Facebook”


A: Wolf Spider (Lycosidae family), Kofa NWR, Arizona

B: Desert Spider Beetle (Cysteodemus armatus), Joshua Tree NP. This is a type of blister beetle that can secrete a caustic, blistering chemical from its joints to defend itself.

C: Velvet Ant (Mutillidae family), San Gabriel Mountains, This is not an ant, but a wingless wasp with a very powerful sting. It’s funny how a little fuzz can make anything look cute!

D: Caterpillar Hunter (Calosoma sp.), Anza Borrego Desert SP. I have video of one attacking a white-lined sphinx caterpillar.

E: Wooly Darkling Beetle (Eleodes osculans), Santa Monica Mountains. More fuzz equals more cuteness for this little stinker.

F: False Blister Beetle (Asclera excavata), Santa Monica Mountains

G: Pacific Coast Ticks (Dermacentor occidentalis), Santa Monica Mountains. These two ticks, one on top of the other, are “questing” for a host to snag onto. These commonly seen parasites are a type of “hard” tick with pear-shaped bodies, a hard plate (scutellum) on the back, and mouth parts visible from the top. Hard ticks will feed on more than one host, so they go questing like these are doing.

H: Diabolical Ironclad Beetle (Phloeodes diabolicus), Santa Monica Mountains. Beetles in this genus have extremely hard shells, hence the name. I don’t know about “diabolical”: it’s harmless and plays dead when handled.

I. Ovate Shieldback (Aglaothorax ovata) Bighorn mountains

J. Thread-Waisted Wasp (Ammophila Sp.) Bighorn Mountains. These wasps paralyze small caterpillars and spiders to feed thier larvae.

K. Ten-Lined June Beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) male, Bighorn mountains. The large clubs on the ends of its antennae are actually six plates that open like a  book to detect the pheromones of the females.

L. Harvestman (Opiliones sp) San Gabriel Mountains

M. Green Pine Chafer (Dichelonyx backi) Mammoth Mountain

O. Golden Bupresitid Beetle (Brupretis aurulenta) deceased, San Gabriel Mountains. This is a real beetle not a piece of jewelry! 

P. Pajahuello Tick (Orinthodorus coriaceus) a type of soft tick, San Gabriel Mountains. This type of  soft tick with oval bodie no scutellum, and mouth parts visible only from underneath. Soft ticks feed only on one host, so the parasitize birds or mammals that have nests or habitual sleeping sites. I was probably sitting where a deer or something ususally rests and this thing crawled onto me. 

Q. Sheep Moth  (Hemileuca egalanterina) male San Gabriel mountains