Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Coughed Up Insect


Insect from Chest
Insect from Chest  
For more than a week I've been hacking and snorting due to a sore throat and apparent cold.  For a few days it seems to have migrated a little to my chest.  This morning I coughed real hard to relieve some phlegm, and I was surprised to find a small worm-like insect embedded in the phlegm.  It had wings, so it didn't seem like the type of "bug" that would be an internal parasite. It's body is less than 1/2 inch long.  I am attaching a picture of it so it can possibly be identified as something that I could have accidentally ingested during my sleep.  I would like to note that when I retrieved it from my sink, it was still alive, and that is giving me the queevies thinking that it was growing inside my chest and might have some brothers left behind.

Dear Dennis  - This is nothing to worry about; obviously a case of accidental ingestion. It is a lacewing, likely in the family Chrysopidae. These are general predators on other small soft-bodied insects such as aphids and small caterpillars, and thus usually considered as beneficial. See http://tinyurl.com/ke2ofre for additional information, and I might add that in spite of their common name, not all 'green lacewings' are green...

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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