Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bug bite.


My Aunt was bit the other day on her arm from a bug outside. She said it was silver with black stripes,long and tapered about the size of a silverfish. She said it was a painful bite. When She tried to brush it off, it stayed so, she squished it with her thumb. Her arm was swollen and red around the bite mark around the size of a small dinner plate. She said it was painful too. Any ideas what it might have been. We live in Burnaby British Columbia and she has vegetable gardens around her.


Without at least an image of the creature, or, ideally, a specimen, I am merely speculating on what could have bitten your aunt.  Please understand I make no guarantees under these circumstances (lack of evidence, essentially).

I suspect it might have been the larva of a green lacewing, family Chrysopidae.  Normally, lacewing larvae are climbing around on foliage, looking for other insects to eat, but apparently they are prone to bite when they fall out of trees and land on people.  Here are some examples of what they look like:


Some people react violently to the cocktail of enzymes and venom that lacewing larvae inject when they bite, so I am not surprised by the symptoms you describe.

Since the insect is now long gone, I would advise that your aunt seek medical attention from her personal physician should symptoms persist or worsen.  Best wishes to her for a speedy recovery.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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