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Big Bug ID
updated: Jul 22, 2014, 11:14 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Any ideas on what kind of freakishly large ant looking creature this is?? About an inch n half long.

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 537968 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:17 AM

Curious if you are new to the area? They are pretty well known.

It's a potato bug.

Evil looking things. . .

 

 COMMENT 537970P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:19 AM

I think that it is a potato bug....

 

 COMMENT 537974 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:21 AM

Potato bug, also known as a Jerusalem Cricket.

 

 COMMENT 537976 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:23 AM

Yes, Jerusalem Cricket.

 

 COMMENT 537977 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:24 AM

That would be the yearly 'edhatwhatsthis' bug.

commonly known as a Potato bug

 

 COMMENT 537979 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:27 AM

Potato Bug = what nightmares are made of!

 

 MOUNTAINMAN4865 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:29 AM

Also as... "Child of the earth". I think that's an attempt to make it endearing. The Maori call them "god of ugly things".

 

 COMMENT 537986 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:40 AM

Indeed! Nino de tierra.

 

 COMMENT 537995 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:55 AM

In college, this was the bug the boys would place in a plastic cup and chase the girls around with. *shudder*

I vaguely remember hearing that they are very sticky. Some girl either had one in her hair, or knew of another gal who had to pull one out of their hair, etc.

I could barely look in the cup. I don't know why I find it so repulsive... I can deal with the Alien monster from the Alien movies. Somehow this bug is worse. :P It's shiny in all the wrong ways. :P

 

 PAMSB agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 12:00 PM

Remember Jiminy Cricket from your cartoon days? Bingo...:) You just met his kin!

P.S. When hubby and I first moved to this area in 1979, we freaked out the first time we saw one of these. Haven't seen one in years, but they always make me laugh.

 

 COMMENT 538000 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 12:02 PM

These creatures terrified me in childhood...actually, up until this very day! *Shudder* They are extremely resilient too.

 

 BULLSEYEB agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 12:02 PM

995, they have little barbs on their legs that get stuck in hair, sweaters etc. I know from personal experience!

Yanked off my sweater top on the street in IV back in the mid 80's because a giant potato bug was stuck on my shoulder. I screamed for my friend (male) to get it off as I stood there in my bra and skirt. He was laughing so hard that he couldn't see it to get it off for a minute or two. The cop in the patrol car sitting nearby was laughing too.

I hate these bugs with a passion. So gross!!!!

 

 PAMSB agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 12:08 PM

Ode to the Potato Bug

Oh little creature, how we fear you,
Your ugly face and your barbed legs, too,
But put on a top hat and carry a cane,
And you will soar to comedy fame!

 

 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 12:59 PM

I've always wondered what potato bugs do. I find them in the garden (don't find them scary) and don't know what they eat and if they are harmful to plants.

 

 COMMENT 538029 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 01:15 PM

Using the term "potato bug" is falling out of favor. The term "potato bug" means "woodlouse" (i.e. roly poly and fwiw is not an insect, but a crustacean) to more people than it does "Jerusalem cricket".

When you say "Jerusalem cricket" you understand immediately what kind of bug this is and even if you've never heard the term before you'd know to expect those large, barbed back-legs.

That said, they're not related to crickets at all.

Also? They bite. Hard. Very, very hard.

 

 COMMENT 538038P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 01:30 PM

Well, Jerusalem crickets are in the order Orthoptera along with grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, etc. so they are somewhat related to crickets, although in a different family, the Stenopalmatidae, while crickets are in the Gryllidae.

 

 COMMENT 538072 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 02:14 PM

I applaud you 038P. Thank you for clarifying that for 029.

and YAY ORTHOPTERA!

Another thing to make you feel weird about Jerusalem Crickets, to those already creeped out by them, is that they can carry a huge parasitic worm called a Horsehair worm Gordean worm. They dehydrate the critters when they want to reproduce, and then the cricket walks into water, and usually drowns, and then this 12-18 inch worm comes out of it! I found 2 or 3 of them in a friend's pool once that hadn't been recently chlorinated. it was crazy! then in the filtration area we found a few floating dead potato bugs.

 

 COMMENT 538073P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 02:15 PM

Nocturnal. Eat dead organic matter, roots, tubers and insects. Not harmful. Beneficial. Can bite, but I have handled (no gloves ) many, many of all sizes, over the years and NEVER received even a pinch.

I LOVE these little guys. Whenever I lift up a plant saucer or bag of potting soil and I see a Jerusalem cricket fast asleep underneath, in its shallow little bed, I gently replace whatever I've lifted and let them be.

By the way: they aren't from Jerusalem.

 

 COMMENT 538091 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 02:39 PM

bless you, 073.

 

 COMMENT 538100 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 02:55 PM

I never thought I'd say this, but give me one of these over a house centipede ANY DAY.

 

 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 03:16 PM

Potato bug, so feared and so harmless. Whenever I come across one, I admit my first reaction is to jump away and sometimes make an unpleasant sound....you know, a little "yikes" or similar. Poor critters.

 

 COMMENT 538130 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 03:46 PM

As much as I advocate for spiders, I can not discover one of these things and not scream like a little boy whose Transformer toy has been snatched away. They give me the willies.

I have yet to kill one, though. Indeed one, somehow, landed in the washing machine and I didn't notice until it had hot water and bleach in there, too. I fished it out, doused it with cool water and set it down on some loose soil. It buried itself right away, so I like to imagine that it was no worse for the wear, but I hope it learned to stay away from my laundry room!

 

 COMMENT 538147 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 04:17 PM

AAAACCKK!!!

 

 COMMENT 538148 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 04:18 PM

I was lying on the sofa one day and heard a strange tapping sound. When I looked down toward the source it was It turned out to be one of these guys walking across the tile floor in front of the sofa. He was huge. I almost hit the ceiling.

 

 COMMENT 538216P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 06:52 PM

I know, harmless. But I clicked back the minute I glanced at the photo! Bleah, yuck, aaaacccckkkkk! on my part too.
Yes, interesting the poster has never seen one before. I can't compare it to an ant.

 

 COMMENT 538263P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 10:31 PM

These are by far the grossest bugs we have in the county! Hideous indeed.

The bats love them and leave their buggy bodies all over our patio each early summer morning. Ugh!

 

 WOODRUFF agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 12:10 AM

In spite of having a background in biology, I find these things creepy. They do make a sound, a kind of unearthly buzz or rasp, which makes them seem even more alien.

wikipedia says they can emit a foul smell, too. Oh, what a bunch of attractive traits!

 

 COMMENT 538288P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 07:33 AM

Interesting, 072. As a kid, we sometimes found them in the pool!

 

 COMMENT 538291P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 07:44 AM

We've had discussions here about these guys before, but this discussion is more 'bugs....ick' than the others. These guys are a good agricultural bug -- ruck up the soil -- and pretty interesting. They have big jaws for their work, but rarely use them, just as a warning if they are mishandled. They glisten as if made completely of agate and amber. I had one as a pet when I was a kid.

 

 COMMENT 538296 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 07:51 AM

I was camping at El Capitan recently and there was a bunch of these guys around. Somebody that was with us actually let their 4 and 6 yr old catch them and play with them with their bare hands! I told the mother they bite and she said they're harmless and her daughters play with them all the time. I was disgusted and pretty freaked. But made me think of this other kid at the park with his family the other day who had a lizard on a string and was dragging it around, the child's family was even laughing about it. Just crazy people!

 

 COMMENT 538310 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 08:11 AM

Double eeeewwwwww!!

 

 BARRELRIDER@59 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 08:48 AM

Wow. Unbelievable cover up. Can't anyone tell this is not an American bug, doesn't look American and doesn't behave American. These were planted by the Chinese several years ago and they really are "bugs". Right now they are gathering massive data of intelligence on all of us, not to invade, but to learn more about how we think and behave so they can sell us more "stuff"

 

 COMMENT 538364 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 09:42 AM

"Potato bug" who's nickname derives from the fact they are underground burrowers and not often seen out and about.

 

 RED CREEK agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 10:17 AM

These creatures are walking composters. Leave them be and they will reciprocate. Kudos to 73P for the intelligent description.

 

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