Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Weird bugs on tree.


Recently, I discovered some weird bugs on a tree in front of my house. I live I East Tennessee. I was wondering what kind of bug these are.

Dear Ethan - Your image is not clear enough for me to be certain, but from your description I strongly suspect that these are insects in the order Psocodea known as barklice or tree cattle - see http://tinyurl.com/kzd8oar for an example. They cause no harm to trees, but feed on fungi, algae, dead plant tissue, and other debris that accumulates in cracks/crevices of tree bark. Some species also spin  gossamer-like webbing that gives trees a ghostly appearance - see http://tinyurl.com/kzrmnax for an image.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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