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 I saw a weird insect...
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2007 :  18:58:25  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yesterday I saw a weird insect I've never seen before.

It looked like a cross-breed between a spider and a house fly.

When I first saw it, walking across my bed as was reading a book, my first thought was that it was a spider. It had that special gait, walking pace of an ordinary house spider...

But as I leaned in closed, it didn't look like I expected.

The width between it's feet was somewhere between 1-1.5cm, the body slightly less than 5mm in width, and a little longer. The proportions between legs and body, and the thickness of the legs resembled a spider like Dolomedes triton. That is, relatively thick legs but not as thick as bird-spiders. However, the legs were much furrier than that of the picture of the D. triton that is in the wikipedia. It was grey-and-brown legs with black body.

But...

All spiders I can remember ever seeing had four pairs of legs.

This little bugger only had three pairs. And when it is standing still, it looks to be as if the legs space themselves out in the same manner as every house fly I can remember. Also, it looks like it has a pair of wings that looks just like the wings of a house fly when they are folded back in resting position, although these are much smaller in proportion to the body compared to a house fly.
So small in fact that I seriously doubt it's able to take off.

Any idea what it can be? I've searched a few Swedish web-pages, but I can't find anything like it. Where's Gil Grissom when you need him?
I'll see if I can get my girlfriend to take a photo of it. I managed to catch it. When I chased it, it moved like a spider and didn't try to take off.

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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2007 :  19:25:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I find myself in situations like this, I use Google Images. I keep on trying different sets of search terms until I run across a photo that looks like what I saw. With a little luck, the webpage on which the photo resides will have the name of the thing I'm looking for, and then it's off to Wikipedia. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to come up with the proper scientific descriptive terms that bring up the right results (for example, "mandibles" instead of "pincers"), and sometimes reading webpages without the right photos (but ones that are close) can help in figuring out the right words to use.

This process has enabled me to identify horse nettle, a sphinx moth and a dobsonfly, for just a few examples.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2007 :  23:56:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This just had to inspire a bit of doggerel. Sorry.


I saw a weird insect,
I've never seen before.
With a head so huge,
And beady eyes,
I could not it ignore.

It walked just as a spider would,
But was wingéd like a fly.
And when it landed on my nose,
At first, I thought I'd die.

It had three sets of legs,
It did, two legs to every set.
Plus spinnerets, antennae, too --
How many, I forget.

It slightly creeped me out
At first -- but then I saw its tail!
It looked just like a scorpion's.
(I then began to wail.)

When I tried it pull it off my nose,
Its mandibles clung tight,
Though I grabbed its yellow abdomen,
And pulled with all my might.

I ran into the bathroom then,
As my tear-ducts overflowed.
I plunged my face into the depths
Of the waters of commode.

I now accept the bug won't leave,
Though my head is one huge itch.
It's settled in for housekeeping,
And made my nose its bitch.



Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 07/01/2007 14:24:46
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  01:38:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Did it look a little like this, except perhaps color & size?



One of the assassin bugs is the best I can come up with at the moment. Do post the photo.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  08:25:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Today, in the proper light, I discovered that I have misjudged a few of it's features.

I took a few pictures of it and will put them up as soon as I can. But for now, I'm pretty confident I've pinned down it's species.

The wings were much larger today then when I first saw then, and transparent. I'm sure that they have grown, and this also fit the description.

In Sweden they are called elk fly, or deer fly.
Specifically, they are known to break off their wings once they have found a new host body to suck blood from. Those wings have to grow back again, and that's what I observed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipoptena_cervi

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  08:27:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

This just had to inspire a bit of doggerel. Sorry.
Wonderful! I love it!

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  08:42:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Like this?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  11:21:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Very much like that one, Dave. Only the wings were less than one third of that pic.



Looking at it from behind, it looks like it has one huge buttox. I mean a really wide fat ass, unlike any other fly I've seen, which has always had more or less spool-like bodies.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
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Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 07/01/2007 11:39:41
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  11:37:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Definatly a fly rather than a bug, but not one I'm familiar with.

Interesting...




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  11:51:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've spoken to a friend of mine now who spends a lot of time outdoors. He recognised them.

The exoskeleton of this fly is really robust, stronger than you'd ever expect.

It's legs ends in sharp hooks that make it cling very well to the skin, and it's a low-rider. Very low profile. If it gets on your arm, you'd brush it off. Then you'll realise that it didn't come off. So you brush a little harder. And then yet harder, wondering what makes it cling.
The thing is, it's exoskeleton is so hard you just can't smack them dead against the skin of your arm. You'd need to snip it from your arm with your nails, or really rub it off.

Lipoptena cervi. Amazing creature that I'd gladly do without. I don't like insects that are persistant clingers.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  11:59:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

I don't like insects that are persistant clingers.
Do you get ticks that far north, Mab? They're clingers who bury their heads in your skin, while being vectors for some nasty diseases too.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  12:25:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

I don't like insects that are persistant clingers.
Do you get ticks that far north, Mab? They're clingers who bury their heads in your skin, while being vectors for some nasty diseases too.
We have ticks up here, but I've never had one myself.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  13:09:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Your fly reminds me of the parasitic fly I sometimes saw as a kid. It was very flat, and this helped it slip in between the feathers of my pigeons.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  14:13:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Originally posted by HalfMooner

This just had to inspire a bit of doggerel. Sorry.
Wonderful! I love it!

Thank you! I'm glad somebody liked it (or at least mentioned it). Part of your OP's first line, "... I saw a weird insect I've never seen before," simply sounded like the first line of a poem to me. After noting that, it was simply a matter of reconstructing the "missing" parts of the verse.

Also: Your description of this little beast as looking like something that is a cross between a spider and a fly makes me think it was miscogenistic hanky-panky that the Spider really had in mind when he invited the Fly into his parlour. ("The Spider and the Fly" is a great poem, by the way, to read to children, to help them become better critical thinkers. It has a better lesson than mine. My poem's moral was basically, "Bugs are scary.")





Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 07/01/2007 14:50:27
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