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2065 Views 8 Replies Last post: Jan 16, 2012 10:40 PM by Art-Seekers RSS
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Jan 15, 2012 11:31 PM

Unknown Brown legless bug about 10mm long

Hi,

 

I am trying to get an identification for a small bug that is about 10 mm long and moves like a caterpiller but has little claws no legs.

 

Mike

 

Images Top view

 

IMG_5502.jpg

IMG_5519.jpg

 

Under side

 

Photo by Mike Craig of www.Art-Seekers.com

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    Jan 16, 2012 9:31 AM (in response to Art-Seekers)
    Re: Unknown Brown legless bug about 10mm long

    Hello there.

    This is the larvae of a Hover Fly, probably a Volucella Sp. They feed on the remnants of wasp nests and as such if they are found in the home an old nest is normally nearby.

    Best wishes Lewis

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      Jan 16, 2012 11:24 AM (in response to Lewis)
      Re: Unknown Brown legless bug about 10mm long

      Hello,

      This looks like a Volucella inanis larva to me. The book gives the number of crochets on the prolegs 6-8, and here I see 9? The larvae come out of wasp nests where they live as ectoparasites of wasp larvae and spend the winter in a hide. They will pupate in spring and emerge as beautiful wasp mimics.

      Thanks for these great close-ups!

      Florin

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      • Volucella zonaria possibly?

        Lewis

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          Jan 16, 2012 11:55 AM (in response to Lewis)
          Re: Unknown Brown legless bug about 10mm long

          Hi Lewis,

          I have checked again and it seems that it is Volucella inanis after all. They say that it is different from all the other Volucella by being flattened dorso-ventrally and having a smooth body surface. So no transverse rows of settae and lateral projections which give the 'hairy' aspect to V. zonaria larvae. Also only 3-4 crochets per proleg, and they are longer in the case of V. zonaria. There was an older post and you can compare the photo there. I'm attaching a quick scan of V. pellucens larva for comparison.

          Best wishes,

          Florin

          Volucella pellucens larva Clipboard01.jpg

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          • Thanks Florin. 'Just putting it out there'  I remember being facinated by these larvae ( V. pellucens ) the first time I dug up a wasp nest. A hairy business for  a 10 year old.

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              Jan 16, 2012 12:18 PM (in response to Lewis)
              Re: Unknown Brown legless bug about 10mm long
              Interestingly (well it is to me) almost all the Volucella specimens and images we have been sent for id over the last 20 years have been V. inanis, and the last two years Forum queries follow this pattern. This is interesting as the ratio of my observations of zonaria to inanis are about 10:1 and by my measure and travels zonaria is far more common (though it was once the other way round). So why don't these drop through ceilings with the same frequency? My conclusion would be that zonaria may prefer Vespula nests that are sub-terrestrial rather than those in aerial cavities - have not dug up enough wasp nests to prove this though (truth is I'm a bit scared of wasps having a traumatic wasp event when I was young  ).
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              • My cruelty as a ten year old still amazes me. To unearth the beautiful football sized nest from an earth bank at the bottom of a friends garden i used a large R Whites lemonade bottle (2.5 p on return) full of paraffin and petrol poured directly into the entrance and lit, plus myself and two friends with badminton racquets to deal with subsequent returnees and survivors. This was all because an article in the then Anglers Mail said that wasp grubs were THE bait to have when in search of elusive large Chub.

                Lewis

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