Sunday, October 20, 2013

Riverside Place: ALIEN! *UPDATED **Again, This Is Turning Into A Scary Halloween Post

Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, October 19, 2013.  The subject line of the email said "Funky bug."  Indeed, it is perhaps the funkiest bug I've seen in the Red Car Property Neighborhood.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

It looks like a cross between a Walking Stick and a Mantis.  A quick look at both What's That Bug? & Bug Guide did not bring me new insight.  So I'm submitting it to the Bug Man of Mt Washington's What's That Bug? hoping for an ID.
Vandiveer's kid found the creature on the front walk of his house.  It's a generally more shaded part of the neighborhood with lots of trees, in Red Car Canyon.
Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, October 19, 2013.  For scale, Vandiveer used a key.

UPDATE: We got a speedy response from Daniel Marlos, The Bugman of Mt Washington, who initially thought this might be an exotic species of Fulgorid Planthopper commonly known as a Lanternfly.    

Marlos requested confirmation from BugGuide contributing editor, Eric Eaton, who provided a correction, "Headless Mantis.  This is actually a headless Chinese Mantis, probably a male ;-).  It is also missing its front pair of legs." 

Read more: What's That Bug?  (You should check out the Planthopper links on What's That Bug post.  They are really wild!)  Thanks Daniel.  Sorry for the trouble.

My enthusiasm to ID the unusual bug clouded my usual skepticism.  I failed to ask a really important question, "Was the bug alive when you found it?"** 

If you're submitting photos of unusual bugs or other wildlife found in the Red Car Property Neighborhood, please  include as much information as possible, including approximate time, date, location, surrounding habitat, if it was dead or alive & what it was doing when you found it:

**UPDATE 2:30 PM: Vandiveer, who photographed the bug yesterday, just emailed: 

"This guy seemed very much alive when we found/photographed it. Although it was also extremely photogenic, so now the headless part makes sense. I just went out to see if he was still where I had put him (he crawled onto a piece of paper so I could move him) and he hadn't gone far. Amazingly he is still able to move, even 6 hours later, however he is now clearly looking deceased." 

I suggested he capture the bug, just in case, Vandiveer responded, furthering the headless mystery:
"Got him. Although like I said he's not as lively as he was six hours ago. Now if you touch him his legs move a bit but that's it. 6+ hours ago he was walking around."

Stay tuned...

Marlos adds, "We have heard that headless Mantids remain ambulatory many hours after decapitation. Perhaps this is to ensure that the mating act continues if the female bites off the head of her paramour."

Thanks again What's That Bug?