Critter ID?

Critter ID? title=
Critter ID?
8 Comments
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By an edhat reader

We were walking through Lotus Land a couple of weeks ago and it seemed masses of these critters had just hatched. When we walked back by two hours later, they were all gone. Does anyone know what it is? It looked like a tiny caterpillar.

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ACF May 28, 2019 12:58 PM
Critter ID?

I wonder if the mealybug destroyer eats mealybugs? I need the destroyer!

mtndriver May 29, 2019 07:59 AM
Critter ID?

Yes! That’s why it’s called that. Every year at Lotusland visitors worry about this bug, and are happy to learn it’s a good ‘un.

tagdes May 28, 2019 04:17 PM
Critter ID?

If you read the links it does not eat them. It sucks their insides out. When it turns into a lady bug then it eats them.

a-1561572923 May 28, 2019 12:27 PM
Critter ID?

According to Galveston Master Gardeners site: "One Mealybug Destroyer larva devours up to 250 mealybug larvae." What you saw, OP, was definitely The Destroyers. (I love Edhat; so educational.)

Coreopsis May 28, 2019 11:20 AM
Critter ID?

Could be a mealybug, but I'm guessing that it's actually a mealybug destroyer. They're a larvae of a type of lady beetle, and are actually a great beneficial insect. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/NE/mealybug_destroyer.html

Bug Girl May 28, 2019 12:10 PM
Critter ID?

I apologize, I meant a dorsal view. We are looking from above. (though all head/segmentations are easier to see ventrally)

Bug Girl May 28, 2019 12:09 PM
Critter ID?

I'm backing this beetle larva. Mostly due to (1) you so rarely see mealybugs on their own, roaming around on the ground, since they usually stick to their host plant, and the OP states that there were many of them that fairly quickly dispersed, and (2) when you look at this picture, there is a clearly defined separation between the segments of this insect, with a noticeable head from a ventral view. Mealybugs (as noted by Entomology Christine's link below) have very modified body shapes, with their small heads very tucked under and not as clearly defined as the mealybug destroyer. OP: Fun bug riddle, thank you for posting on Edhat!

entomology_christine May 28, 2019 09:30 AM
Critter ID?

That looks like a Mealybug. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74174.html

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