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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Okay, I know this is going to sound like I'm making it up.


As a kid, I dumped out the hose of a vacuum cleaner, intending to wash it out for whatever purpose, and a bug came out. But it wasn't any ordinary bug. It was primarily yellow, with a black stripe across it's body, it had an extremely pointed nose, and I'm not even shitting you, white eyes that it was squinting, it looked angry as fuck. And it left a permanent scar in my memory. It reminded me quite a lot of a centipede, it just looked like a hybrid of some kind. To this day I've never seen one like it again, and I'm just waiting for an announcement of a new bug species that describes this. I didn't have the capability to take a picture at the time, and any time I tried to graphically represent it, I failed horribly. So, can you shed any light on what this could have been?

Dear Robert - I'm afraid that your description doesn't ring any bells with me; the closest guess I could make is a wood wasp (horntail) in the family Siricidae, but these have wings (see, and I'm certain that you would have made note of that. Could you possibly make a drawing of it as best you can recall, photograph that, and attach the image to a follow-up question? If you do this, include as much detail as possible, including relative length of legs, antennae, etc., as well as some indication of its size.

Waiting to hear back,

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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