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Place: South India,
Metropolitan, Year: 2017; Night Time.
Size: 1-2 cm (Very Tiny)
It's 'Indian skipper'. Family :Hesperiidae. Source: http://abeautiful-butterflys.blogspot.in/2010/04/hesperiidae-butterflies-of-india.html
From the posture, it looks like it can belong to Geometridae (Larentiinae). But I haven't been able to find a species that has that particular color.
Definitely a moth; possible families are Pyralidae, Crambidae, or Thyrididae (Window-Winged Moths); the first two listed (Snout Moths) are less likely and would be eliminated if a photograph showing the front of the head were available and it turned out that the palps were not elongate and projecting.
What is the name of this tiny creature? - Biology
The crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), occurs in large numbers in homes or out-of-doors. Ants of this species often forage long distances away from their nests, so nests are often difficult to control.
Figure 1. Dorsal view of a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), worker. Photograph by James Castner, University of Florida.
Its common name arises from its characteristic erratic and rapid movement, and habit of not following trails as often as other ants. However, while the term crazy ant is officially identified with this species, there are other closely related ant species that are also called crazy ants. At least one authority has suggested that Paratrechina longicornis receive the common name longhorned crazy ant to prevent it being confused with other species referred to as crazy ant. Other authorities have used the name black crazy ant (Watterer 2008).
Synonymy (Back to Top)
Distribution (Back to Top)
The crazy ant is an agricultural and household pest in most tropical and subtropical areas, and is a pervasive indoor pest in temperate areas. It has the ability to successfully survive in highly disturbed and artificial areas, including ships at sea. Since it can live indoors with humans, there is no limit to the latitude where it can exist. It has been reported from as far north as Sweden and Estonia, and as far south as New Zealand (Wetterer 2008).
The crazy ant is found in various parts of the world and is not native to the United States (Smith 1965). While found in tropical cities worldwide, it was thought to be of either Asian or African origin. (Trager 1984). Wetterer (2008) states that newer evidence points to its origin in Southeast Asia or Melanesia.
In the United States, the crazy ant has widespread population from Florida to South Carolina and west to Texas. It commonly is found in residences and warehouses over much of the eastern United States (Creighton 1950) and in California and Arizona (Trager 1984). Populations are also reported from Hawaii, Missouri, Virginia, New York and Massachusetts. In Canada, it has been reported in Quebec and Ontario (Wetterer 2008).
In fact, Wetterer (2008) argues that Paratrechina longicornis is the most "broadly distributed of any ant species." The only other species which he believes might contest this honor is the Pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis.
Description (Back to Top)
The crazy ant is so morphologically distinctive that it is one of the few Paratrechina that is not consistently misidentified in collections (Trager 1984). The crazy ant worker is relatively small (2.3-3 mm). The head, thorax, petiole, and gaster are dark brown to blackish (Creighton, 1950) the body often has faint bluish iridescence. The body has long, coarse, scattered, suberect to erect, grayish or whitish setae (hair-like projections).
Figure 2. Dorsal view of a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille). Ant collected in Florida, United States. Photograph by April Nobile, California Academy of Sciences.
Figure 3. Lateral view of a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), showing the setae. Ant collected in Réunion. Photograph by April Nobile, California Academy of Sciences.
The antennae of the crazy ant have 12-segments without a club and are extremely long. The scape, the basal segment of the antenna, is extraordinarily long with the apex surpassing the posterior border of the head by at least one-half the scape length. Eyes are elliptical, strongly convex, and close to the posterior border of the head.
Figure 4. Frontal view of a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), showing the long, 12-segmented antenna and the position of the eyes. Ant collected in California, United States. Photograph by April Nobile, California Academy of Sciences.
Figure 5. Frontal view of a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), showing the long, 12-segmented antenna and the position of the eyes. Ant collected in Florida. Photograph by April Nobile, California Academy of Sciences.
All workers in a crazy ant colony are monomorphic and have only one node between the propodeum and the gaster. Legs are extraordinarily long. The petiole is wedge-shaped, with a broad base, and has a slight forward tilt. A small, round, terminal orifice surrounded by a fringe of setae, the acedipore, serves for the application of venom both in defense and predation. The stinger is lacking but the crazy ant may bite an intruder and curve its abdomen forward to inject a formic acid secretion onto the wound.
Figure 6. Lateral view of a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille). See wedge-shaped petiole and fringe of setae around terminal orifice.
Figure 7. Lateral view of a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), showing the petiole. Ant collected in California, United States. Photograph by April Nobile, California Academy of Sciences.
Figure 8. Lateral view of a crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), showing the petiole. Ant collected in Paraguay. Photograph by April Nobile, California Academy of Sciences.
The crazy ant is extremely easy to identify on sight by observing its rapid and erratic movements. Confirmation may be made with the aid of a hand lens through which the extremely long antennal scape, long legs, and erect setae are very apparent.
Life Cycle (Back to Top)
Colonies of crazy ants are moderate to very populous. The colonies may raise sexuals at any time of the year in warmer regions, but in the seasonal climate of north Florida, alate production is apparently limited to the warm rainy months of May through September (Trager 1984). On warm, humid evenings, large numbers of males gather outside nest entrances and may mill about excitedly. Workers patrol vegetation and other structures nearby. Periodically, a dealate (wingless) queen emerges. Mating was not observed, but Trager (1984) suggested that it occurred in such groupings around the nest entrance. Wings of queens are removed while still callow and males were never observed to fly or use their wings in any way. However, in several cases it has been observed that males frequently appear at lights (Trager 1984).
Pest Status (Back to Top)
The crazy ant has achieved pest status across the United States. It has been found on top floors of large apartment buildings in New York, hotels and apartments in Boston, Massachusetts, and in hotel kitchens in San Francisco, California.
Marlatt (1930) observed that the crazy ant is a pest in Florida and the Gulf States. For example, in 1977, modular units were being used as temporary schoolrooms by a North Lauderdale elementary school. The principal reported that the units were so inundated by crazy ants that students were constantly in a state of turmoil. The invasion reached such proportions that the students' sack lunches were kept in closed plastic bags placed on tables, with each table leg sitting in a pan of water as a barrier to the ants.
It can be a significant agricultural pest as it assists in the distribution and/or protection of phloem-feeding Hemiptera, such as mealybugs, scale insects, and plant aphids (Wetterer 2008).
Foraging and Feeding (Back to Top)
Workers are omnivorous, feeding on live and dead insects, seeds, honeydew, fruits, plant exudates, and many household foods. The crazy ant thrives in places such as gasoline stations, convenience stores, and sidewalk cafes where worker ants may be seen transporting crumbs and insects. They apparently have a seasonal preference for a high-protein diet, and during the summer months may refuse honey or sugar baits. They obtain honeydew by tending aphids, mealybugs, and soft scales (Smith 1965). Large prey items are carried by a highly concerted group action (Trager 1984).
Figure 9. Workers of the crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), frequently tend mealybugs and related insects for the sugary honeydew produced by these insects. Photograph by Alton N. Sparks, Jr., University of Georgia, www.forestyimages.org.
The workers are known to gather small seeds of such crops as lettuce and tobacco from seedbeds. In cold climates, the ants nest in apartments and other buildings where they are potential pests year round.
Nest Sites (Back to Top)
The crazy ant is highly adaptable. The crazy ant often nests some distance away from its foraging area. It nests in such places as trash, refuse, cavities in plants and trees, rotten wood, and in soil (Smith 1965). These ants can nest in a variety of locations from dry to moist environments. A crazy ant nest site can be found by looking for workers carrying food back to the nest.
Management (Back to Top)
Non-chemical control is based on exclusion through eliminating food sources. Crazy ants nest outdoors so caulking exterior penetrations and weather-stripping may prevent their entrance. Indoor chemical controls are baits, dusts, and spot treatments with residual sprays. Outdoor treatments include chemical formulations as baits, granules, dusts, and sprays. Read and follow label instructions and precautions before using any insecticide.
Selected References (Back to Top)
- Creighton WS. 1950. The Ants of North America. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 104. 585 pp.
- Mallis A. 1997. Handbook of Pest Control. 7th Edition. Franzak & Foster Co. Cleveland. 1990. 1152 pp.
- Marlatt CL. 1930. House ants, kinds and methods of control. USDA Farmer's Bulletin 740. 12 pp.
- Smith MR. 1965. House-infesting ants of the eastern United States their recognition, biology, and economic importance. USDA Technical Bulletin 1326. 105 pp.
- Trager JC. 1984. A revision of the genus Paratrechina (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the continental United States. Sociobiology 9: 51-162.
- Wetterer JK. 2008. Worldwide spread of the longhorn crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Hymenoptera: Formicidea). Myrmecological News 11: 137-149.
- Wilson EO, Taylor RW. 1967. The ants of Polynesia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pacific Insects Monograph 14. 109 pp.
Authors: J.C. Nickerson, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, and Kathryn A. Barbara, University of Florida.
Originally published as DPI Entomology Circular 289. Updated for this publication.
Photographs: April Nobile, Ant Web, California Academy of Sciences Alton Sparks, University of Georgia, www.forestryimages.org James Castner, University of Florida
Web Design: Don Wasik, Jane Medley
Publication Number: EENY-142
Publication Date: June 2000. Latest revision: January 2015. Reviewed: April 2018. Reviewed: April 2021.
An Equal Opportunity Institution
Featured Creatures Editor and Coordinator: Dr. Elena Rhodes, University of Florida
World’s ‘Smallest Dinosaur’ Revealed to Be a Mystery Reptile
The amber-encased fossil was touted as the smallest fossil dinosaur ever found. Known from little more than a peculiar skull, and described early in 2020, Oculudentavis khaungraae was presented as a hummingbird-sized toothed bird—an avian dinosaur that fluttered around prehistoric Myanmar about 100 million years ago. But from the time this Cretaceous creature appeared in the pages of Nature, debate and controversy have circled this strange fossil and its identity. And today, in a peer-reviewed paper published in Current Biology, scientists have confirmed this small creature was no bird at all.
The original Oculudentavis fossil is preserved in a chunk of amber from the southeast Asian country of Myanmar. When it was presented in Nature in March of 2020, outside researchers quickly pointed out that Oculudentavis was not really a bird. The fossil seemed to represent a small reptile that simply resembled a bird thanks to a large eye opening in the skull and a narrow, almost beak-like snout. The original Nature paper was retracted and a reanalysis of the paper’s dataset by another team supported the idea that the fossil wasn’t a bird. A second specimen soon turned up and appeared in a pre-print the same year, adding evidence that these fossils were far from the avian perch on the tree of life. That study has since evolved into the Current Biology paper on what Oculudentavis might be, and it suggests that this bird was really a lizard.
How could a little reptile be mistaken for a bird in the first place? There are several factors that played into the confusion, says lead author and University of Bristol paleontologist Arnau Bolet. “The long and tapering snout and the vaulted skull roof gave the first fossil the overall appearance of a bird-like creature,” Bolet says. But a closer examination of the fossil, Bolet notes, showed many lizard-like traits not present in birds. The teeth of Oculudentavis are fused to the jaw, for example, which is a trait seen in lizards and snakes. And the shape and connections between particular skull bones in the fossil are seen in lizard-like reptiles and not birds. The discovery of a second possible Oculudentavis fossil helped confirm the conclusion.
Organisms preserved in amber are difficult to study from the outside, but the team created CT scans of the reptile inside the second specimen and also reanalyzed the scans from the original specimen. The second fossil differs in some ways from the first, and so Bolet and colleagues gave the second, slightly-smushed fossil a new name—Oculudentavis naga, named after the Naga people who live in the vicinity of Myanmar’s amber mines. There are enough differences between the skull bones of the two fossils that there seem to have been at least two Oculudentavis species, the researchers propose, both representing some mysterious form of lizard. Then again, outside experts like Michael Caldwell of the University of Alberta suggest, Oculudentavis might not be a lizard at all but something much more ancient and unusual.
The amber preserved part of Oculudentavis naga includes its skull, scales and soft tissue. (Adolf Peretti / Peretti Museum Foundation)
Despite its use in common language, “lizard” doesn’t mean just any sprawling reptile with four legs. The modern tuatara, for example, looks like a lizard but actually belongs to a different evolutionary group that last shared a common ancestor with lizards more than 250 million years ago. A lizard, more specifically defined, belongs to a particular group of reptiles called squamates that also includes snakes and “worm lizards.”
“What is this thing? I think it remains an open question,” Caldwell says.
In the new study, the authors used several different comparative techniques to determine how Oculudentavis relates to other lizards. But none of the attempts provided a consistent answer. In some hypothetical evolutionary trees, for example, Oculudentavis seems to be one of the earliest lizards, while in others it seems to be related to the ancestors of the seagoing mosasaurs that thrived during the Cretaceous. “Although Oculudentavis has many peculiarities that make it a weird lizard, facing difficulties in working out the affinities of a fossil lizard to a specific group of lizards is not unusual,” Bolet says, noting that the possible discovery of more fossils with parts of the skeleton other than the head might help.
Paleontologists as yet know little of the lizards and other reptiles that were around during this time. “Oculudentavis comes from amber deposits about 98 million years old,” says University of Bristol paleontologist Jorge Herrera Flores, “and, so far, the fossil record of terrestrial squamates of that age were extremely rare and scarce.” The Oculudentavis fossils not only help fill that gap, but suggest that there is much more to be found. After all, Herrera Flores points out, there are over 10,000 species of squamates on the planet right now. Even accounting for how difficult it can be for small animals to become part of the fossil record, there are undoubtedly many new finds that will help paleontologists better understand the world of small reptiles in the Age of Dinosaurs.
Efforts to find more fossils like Oculudentavis, however, are complicated by the “blood amber” market that often brings these fossils to the attention of researchers. The mines where Cretaceous amber fossils are found are controlled by the Myanmar military, which seized control of the country earlier this year and for years has committed acts of genocide against the country’s Muslim Rohingya people, among others. High-priced sales of amber specimens have fueled the conflict, and even ethically-sourced fossils often end up in the hands of private dealers who restrict access to researchers and stall efforts to re-investigate previous results.
The uncertainty around Oculudentavis makes sense given how odd the fossils look even at a glance, especially compared to other lizards that have been found in amber from around the same place and time. “I think these two things are really interesting,” Caldwell says, “not because they’re birds and not because they’re lizards, but because they’re some kind of proto-lizard things.”
The isolated location of prehistoric Myanmar might explain why such a confounding creature evolved in the first place. During the time Oculudentavis was climbing around, what’s now Myanmar was a piece of land that split off from other landmasses. The area was encapsulated as an island, isolated in the ancient sea, and such places often act as refuges where ancient lineages evolve in isolation. “From what I can see from the vertebrate remains,” Caldwell says, “some very unique things are there and have really ancient ancestry.”
CT imaging allowed researchers to examine each feature of Oculudentavis naga at high resolution without damaging or destroying the specimen. (Edward Stanley / Peretti Museum Foundation)
What role the Oculudentavis species played in their ecosystem is another puzzle. The shape of the jaws and tiny teeth, Bolet says, hint that this reptile snatched insects. Perhaps this creature climbed through ancient forests, looking for invertebrate morsels to eat. Likewise, says study co-author Susan Evans, “there is also some evidence from the skin folds under the head that these animals used them for some form of display,” similar to anole lizards today.
Rather than coming to a neat conclusion, the story of Oculudentavis has raised additional questions. If this reptile really was a lizard, what kind is it? And why is it so different? And if it’s not a lizard, what evolutionary story does the fossil tell? The strange traits in these two specimens might hint that they represent an evolutionary branch that goes off deep into the prehistoric past, one that experts are only beginning to become aware of.
About Riley Black
Riley Black is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology and natural history who blogs regularly for Scientific American.
What is the name of this tiny creature? - Biology
The household casebearer, Phereoeca uterella, is a moth in the Tineidae family of Lepidoptera. Many species in this family are casebearers and a few are indoor pests of hair fibers, woolens, silks, felt and similar materials. Most people know this species by the name plaster bagworm. However, bagworms are moths in the family Psychidae. Perhaps for this reason, the accepted common name of Phereoeca uterella is now listed as the household casebearer, instead of plaster bagworm (Bosik JJ, et al. 1997).
Figure 1. A larva of the household casebearer, Phereoeca uterella Walsingham, which is partially emerged from its case and using its true legs to walk on a surface. Photograph by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida.
The cases are constructed by the larval (caterpillar) stage and often attract attention when found in homes. However, we usually see only the empty larval or pupal cases of the household casebearer on walls of houses in south and central Florida.
Taxonomy (Back to Top)
The first record of this species came from Lord Walsingham in 1897 (Busck, 1933). However, the specimens that he collected from the Virgin Islands were misidentified.
In 1933, August Busck proposed the name Tineola walsinghami for the Virgin Island insects of Walsingham. The same year Kea wrote about the food habits of the species present in Florida, using the name given by Walsingham (Tineola uterella). After a while, the species in the peninsula was recognized as Tineola walsinghami. In 1956, Hinton and Bradley described the new genus Phereoeca, in order to separate the true Tineola from this and other species of flat case-bearing moths.
Finally, an early synonym established by Meyrick was recognized as the most appropriate name, and the species was named Phereoeca dubitatrix (Meyrick 1932). However, another name change occurred and the current official common and scientific names for this species are the household casebearer, Phereoeca uterella Walsingham.
Distribution (Back to Top)
The household casebearer, Phereoeca uterella, requires high humidity to complete its development, a limiting factor for its dispersion throughout the rest of the country. Hetrick (1957) observed the insect in many parts of Florida and Louisiana, as well as USDA records of the household casebearer from Mississippi and North Carolina. He also assumed that this species might be present in the coastal areas of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. However, proper identification by a specialist is advised, because case-bearing species other than Phereoeca uterella might be in those states.
In South America, Phereoeca uterella Walsingham is known to be present in Brazil (state of Para) and Guyana.
Another related species of case-bearing moths is Praececodes atomosella (tecophora) (Walker 1863). It was found in Gainesville, Florida, and has been recorded as present in the southern USA, Hawaii, Mexico, Bermuda, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Europe, Africa, Malaya, Australia and other localities. It is possible that records of Phereoeca uterella might be misidentified as this species or vice versa.
Due to the active international exchange of goods, other case-bearing moths may occur in Florida in the future. For example, Phereoeca allutella (Rebel) has been recorded in Hawaii, Panama, Canary Islands, Madeira, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, India, Java and Samoa.
Description (Back to Top)
Egg: After mating, females lay their eggs on crevices and the junction of walls and floors, cementing them on debris. Two hundred eggs may be oviposited by a single female over a period of a week, after which she dies. Eggs are soft, pale bluish, and about 0.4 mm in diameter.
Larva: The larva is not usually seen by most people. The case that it carries around wherever it feeds is what is immediately recognized. It can be found under spiderwebs, in bathrooms, bedrooms and garages. Cases can be found on wool rugs and wool carpets, hanging on curtains, or underneath buildings, hanging from subflooring, joists, sills and foundations on the exterior of buildings in shaded places, under farm sheds, under lawn furniture, on stored farm machinery and on tree trunks.
The larval case is a slender, flat, fusiform or spindle-shaped case which resembles a pumpkin seed. It is silk-lined inside and open at both ends. Most of the biology described here was taken from Aiello's (1979) description of Phereoeca allutella, a closely related case-bearing moth species from Panama. Specific information of Phereoeca uterella biology is limited.
The case is constructed by the earliest larval stage (1st instar) before it hatches, and is enlarged by each successive instar. In constructing the case, the larva secretes silk to build an arch attached at both ends to the substrate. Very small particles of sand, soil, iron rust, insect droppings, arthropod remains, hairs and other fibers are added on the outside. The inside of the arch is lined exclusively by silk, and is gradually extended to form a tunnel, while the larva stays inside. The tunnel is closed beneath by the larva to form a tube free from the substrate, and open at both ends. After the first case is completed, the larva starts moving around, pulling its case behind. With each molt, the larva enlarges its case. Later cases are flattened and widest in the middle, allowing the larva to turn around inside. A fully developed larva has a case 8 to 14 mm long and 3 to 5 mm wide.
Figure 2. Case of household casebearer, Phereoeca uterella Walsingham. Photograph by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida.
Both ends of the case are identical, and are used by the larva to hide. When disturbed, it encloses itself in the case by pulling the bottom side up. This closing mechanism is very difficult to open from the outside.
The fully developed larva is about 7 mm long. It has a dark brown head, and the rest of the body is white, except for the lateral and dorsal plates on the three thoracic segments close to the head, which are hardened and dark. Aiello (1979) believes the plates protect the larva from natural enemies when it reaches out of its case for locomotion.
The larva has three pair of well-developed, brown legs. The ventral prolegs are white, and are located on abdominal segments 3 to 6 and 10. At the tip of each proleg there is an ellipse formed by 23 to 25 very small crochets (a small hook). The anterior crochets are bigger and broader than posterior ones by one third, which is a good detail for identification. The crochets are used to walk inside the case, and also to grab the case when the larva pulls its head and thorax out and uses its true legs to walk on the floor or walls.
Pupa: Pupation occurs inside the case. The larva walks up a vertical surface and attaches the case at both ends with silk. One end of the case is then modified. The larva cuts a short slit along both edges to make that end flatter, which acts as a valve. Before eclosion the pupa pulls itself halfway through the valve. The new moth emerges around noon, leaving the pupal case exposed on the outer case.
Adult: Adult females have a wing span 10 to 13 mm long. They are gray with up to four spots on the fore wings, and a brush of long, lighter gray hair-like scales along the posterior margin of the hind wings. Males are smaller (wing span: 7 to 9 mm) and thinner than the female, with a less distinctive wing pattern.
Figure 3. Adult female household casebearer, Phereoeca uterella Walsingham. Photograph by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida.
Figure 4. Adult male household casebearer, Phereoeca uterella Walsingham. Photograph by Juan A. Villanueva-Jiménez, University of Florida.
The heads of both sexes are uniformly clothed with dense, rough hairs. There are two pairs of buccal appendages called palps. The maxillary palps are smaller than the labial palps, and are folded inwards. The labial palps extend a little beyond the head vestiture (dense covering of hairs). The remaining mouth parts are reduced and adults do not feed. The antennae are filiform (threadlike), as long as the wings, and are held back over the body. The compound eyes are prominent.
Figure 5. Head of adult household casebearer, Phereoeca uterella Walsingham. Photograph by Juan A. Villanueva-Jiménez, University of Florida.
Wing venation is very important for genera identification, and was described by Hinton and Bradley in 1956. Adults at rest hold their wings tented over the body. They fly fairly well, but usually rest on walls, floor edges, or on webs of house spiders (theridiids) (Aiello 1979).
Life Cycle (Back to Top)
At non-air-conditioned room temperature in Panama, the life cycle of Phereoeca uterella (a close relative of Phereoeca dubitatrix) was reported by Aiello (1979) as follows:
Eggs require more than 10 days to hatch. There are six to seven larval instars that require about 50 days to mature. They remain in the pupal stage an average of 15.6 days (range of 11 to 23 days). The entire cycle from egg to adult averages 74.2 days (62 to 86 days). Aiello (1979) indicates that the number of instars may vary among individuals of both sexes.
Economic Significance (Back to Top)
Hetrick (1957) found that the most common and abundant food of the household casebearer in Florida is old spider webs, consumed in large quantities. Webs of insects such as booklice (Psocoptera) and webspinners (Embioptera) from tree trunks were also suitable food. Old cases of its own species were chewed as well. Kea (1933) could not observe this insect feeding on dried insects in the laboratory, even though small portions of dried insects were found attached to its case. Furthermore, household casebearer larvae did not eat cotton products offered by Kea. But when woolen threads and woolen cloth were offered to the larvae "they ate eagerly". Watson (1939) corroborated the preference of Phereoeca uterella for woolen goods of all kinds. Aiello (1979) succeeded in rearing specimens of the related species Phereoeca allutella by offering them dead mosquitoes and her own hair.
Management (Back to Top)
Due to its food habits the household casebearer is a potential household pest. However, regular cleaning practices, increased use of air conditioning in houses, and reduced number of woolen goods in this part of the country, along with pesticide application in cracks and crevices for household pest control, have decreased the incidence of the household casebearer. Manual picking or vacuuming of cases and spider web removal should be enough to keep this species under control.
A braconid wasp, Apanteles carpatus (Say), parasitizes larvae of case-bearing moths, killing the larva before pupation. In Florida, this braconid and an ichneumonid wasp, Lymeon orbum (Say), were reared from the household casebearer (Hetrick 1957).
Selected References (Back to Top)
- Aiello A. 1979. Life history and behavior of the case-bearer Phereoeca allutella (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Psyche 86: 125-136.
- Arnett Jr RH. 2000. American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico. CRC Press. Boca Raton. 1003 pp.
- Borror DJ, Triplehorn CA, Johnson NF. 1989. An Introduction to the Study of Insects. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. New York. 875 pp.
- Bosik JJ, et al. 1997. Common Names of Insects & Related Organisms. Entomological Society of America. 232 pp.
- Busck A. 1933. Microlepidoptera of Cuba. Entomologica Americana 13: 151-203.
- Creighton JT. 1954. Household Pests. Bulletin No. 156, new series. State of Florida, Department of Agriculture, Tallahassee. pp. 39-43.
- Hetrick LA. 1957. Some observations on the plaster bagworm, Tineola walsinghami Busck (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Florida Entomologist 40: 145-146.
- Hinton HE. 1956. The larvae of the species of Tineidae of economic importance. Bulletin of Entomological Research 47: 251-346.
- Hinton HE, Bradley JD. 1956. Observations on species of Lepidoptera infesting stored products. XVI: Two new genera of clothes moths (Tineidae). The Entomologist 89: 42-47.
- Kea JW. 1933. Food habits of Tineola uterella. Florida Entomologist 17: 66.
- Watson JR. 1939. Control of four household insects. University of Florida, Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 536.
- Watson JR. 1946. Control of three household insects. University of Florida, Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 619.
Authors: Juan A. Villanueva-Jiménez and Thomas R. Fasulo, University of Florida
Photographs: Juan A. Villanueva-Jiménez and Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida
Web Design: Don Wasik, Jane Medley
Publication Number: EENY-3
Publication Date: September 1996. Latest revision: April 2017. Reviewed: June 2020.
An Equal Opportunity Institution
Featured Creatures Editor and Coordinator: Dr. Elena Rhodes, University of Florida
What is a Monkeydactyl? Meet the newly discovered flying dino with opposable thumbs
In Liaoning, China, a team of paleontologists recently unearthed a fossilized creature that had never been seen before — a small flying dinosaur with opposable thumbs.
Scientists are calling the newly discovered specimen the “Monkeydactyl,” because of its unique primate-like trait.
According to CBS News, the true name for the dinosaur is Kunpengopterus antipollicatus. The creature was given this name because “antipollicatus” translates to “opposite thumbed” in ancient Greek.
A report on the Monkeydactyl was published in the journal Current Biology on Monday by a multinational team of researchers. The creature is believed to have lived in forest ecosystems some 160 million years ago, the reports states, adding that the creature was quite small, with a wingspan of approximately 33 inches (about the same length as a common American crow’s wingspan).
Say hi to 'Monkeydactyl', a new arboreal darwinopteran pterosaur, with the oldest opposed thumb in fossil record! Excited to be in the team with @ZXYpaleo, @pegasaurus_42, @PalaeoStephan and amazing colleagues. Out in @CurrentBiology, https://t.co/HKNZin63wJ pic.twitter.com/cHx80TG2dd— Fion Ma (@FionMaWS) April 12, 2021
“This is an interesting discovery,” said Fion Waisum Ma, one of the co-authors of the study, in a statement (via CNET). “It provides the earliest evidence of a true opposed thumb, and it is from a pterosaur, which wasn’t known for having an opposed thumb.”
Science News reports that the Monkeydactyl likely used its thumbs to scale trees to hunt insects and other small prey that its nonclimbing competitors couldn’t reach.
A home of extremes
The ability to survive in a state of suspended animation is known as cryptobiosis.
While bdelloid rotifers have been known to bounce back after 6-10 years of freezing, the specimen reported in the new study breaks that record by a long shot.
These tiny, but mighty, animals can also make it through starvation, drying, and low oxygen conditions.
Other animals, plants, and microbes living in Arctic environments can also offer a window into the past, with some being frozen in time for tens of thousands of years.
Researchers have revived roundworms that have been frozen in Siberian permafrost that dates back 30,000 years.
Some plants and mosses can also regenerate after being covered in ice for thousands of years.
"Life on Earth has evolved in a very broad range of environments," said Rick Cavicchioli, who studies Antarctic microorganisms at the University of New South Wales.
"The natural environment one species calls home, another species may never survive in."
Culture and society
The Xenomorphs have a caste system similar to that of bees and ants. A major difference is that their caste system is far more complex.
It's believed that the Drones (in this instance used to indicate a "worker" caste, instead of mating-capable males) have the smooth cowl while the Warriors display the ridges. The Drones and Warriors have different tasks: Warriors defend the hive, and Drones hunt potential hosts, while some live only to protect the Queen, such as Hive-Warriors or Praetorians.
The basis of any Xenomorph hive the Drones are very much like worker bees or ants. Their main tasks are to keep the hive in good condition. Also, they seem to have the job of creating their nests with their own secretions.
They average in size at about 6–7 feet tall (
1.8 to 2.1 meters) standing on hind legs, and about 14–15 feet long (
4.2 to 4.6 meters), tail included. They have the basic body build of the Warrior, except that their dome is completely smooth, whereas the Warrior's dome is typically more ridged. Drones are smaller and somewhat more delicate than the Warriors, not considered quite as dangerous by Yautja standards, but striking fear into the heart of any Human.
Like all of their brethren, they have acidic body fluids, but only the Drone can spit this secretion onto prey over a short distance. Drones have an organ in their bodies that releases a sticky fluid that they can spit out of their mouth onto any surface. It can be used to harvest cocooned hosts for the Queen's facehuggers.
Warrior Xenomorphs - commonly known as simply Warriors - are the soldiers and protectors of the hive. They are all children of the hive's Queen, bigger and stronger than the Drones. The Drones are less deadly and somewhat less intimidating.
Warriors average in size at about 8 feet tall (
2.4 meters) standing on hind legs, and about 14–16 feet long (
4.2 to 4.9 meters), tail included. In most cases, the Warrior looks the same as a Drone, except that the dome on top of the head is generally ridged.
They may evolve into Praetorians, which may serve as the Queen's personal guard and potential successors. Typically, there are four of them at any given time. However, when the Queen wishes to watch them battle for her attention or increase protection in preparation for an attack on the hive, she will release pheromones which cause four additional Warriors to evolve into Praetorians.
Praetorians ("Royal Guards"), are bigger and stronger than the Warriors and are seen to have a developing crown. Their primary role within the hive is to guard key locations of importance or interest, and, if nothing else, to protect the Queen herself. Most Praetorians can be found very close to the Queen's chambers. The physical features of the Praetorian are pristine and very similar to the Queen's: it has a crown-like head crest, large size, and great strength.
The Praetorian is said to be created by special eggs and facehuggers known as a royal facehugger (these are generally larger and a darker color than normal facehuggers), which carries a genetic code known as the Royal Jelly Line, which is passed from the Queen herself to the facehugger and embryo. However, there are cases in which the Praetorians evolve from the Warrior caste. The Queen selects a Warrior to become a Praetorian, and the Warrior is then attacked by fellow Xenomorphs from the same hive and banished. The Warrior must survive on its own for a long period of time. It grows and sheds, becoming approximately fifteen feet tall (
4.6 meters) and gaining its head crest. It returns to the hive as a worthy guard to the Queen.
Besides their guard duties, Praetorians may also act as the "princesses", or immature Queens of the hive, who can be promoted to Queens. ⎚] The Xenomorph known as "Number Six" started out as a Warrior and demonstrated the ability to mature into a Praetorian and later a Queen. ⎞] This rapid alteration is another evolutionary trait of the Xenomorph to ensure its very survival as a species. The Xenomorph Queen can lay specialized eggs that are bigger (like Queen egg cells in bees which are bigger than Drone cells), that upon hatching can carry on the species through making other hives after the new female cocoons into a Queen.
Some varying reports of Praetorians with massive shield-like growths on their forearms have been seen.
A Queen alien, attached to her ovipositor.
The Xenomorph Queen is the largest and most intelligent Xenomorph and can grow incredibly large, up to 100 feet tall (
30.5 meters) if given time. She lays many eggs that hatch to become the first stage of Xenomorph. It is unclear whether the Queen engages in combat outside of protecting her hive. The Queen is usually nestled deep within the hive, protected by Praetorian guards.
She has been known to display some logic-based intelligence, primarily in using simple Human technology such as lifts. She is the most dangerous of the hive, displaying extreme aggression and using her intelligence to devastating effect.
When attached to her egg sac (ovipositor), she is immobile and vulnerable to attack. When she removes herself from it, however, she can move surprisingly fast. She attacks with her four clawed arms, as well as her long, bladed tail. She has also been shown to use her main and inner jaws in combat.
Interestingly enough, it seems that the size of Queens varies. In one occasion, the Queen was shown to be maybe only twice the size of a Drone (this also may be due to her being so relatively young). In others, she is shown to be considerably larger - three or four times the size of a Drone. This could be explained in a similar fashion to an older Drone's ridged head, as the Queen in question was very old: although kept in a dormant state for long periods of time, she could have been alive for several millennia. Alternatively, she could have been an Empress. Queens usually stand around 15 to 20 feet tall on average (
As stated, Queens are created through royal facehuggers which produce Praetorians, or immature Queens. When a Queen dies or abandons a hive, a Praetorian may fully develop into a new Queen and take her mother's place. Whereas normal embryos adopt characteristics from their host, the royal facehugger's does not. The royal facehugger carries within it the Royal Jelly Line, which is a genetic code passed down from the Queen Xenomorph to her chosen offspring. The embryo is more or less a genetic copy of its mother and as such will not adopt the characteristics of the host, but will retain the physical characteristics of the Xenomorph Queen. Regardless of host, the Praetorian will appear nearly exactly the same as its mother when it fully develops into a new Queen. Because of this, it's often speculated that the Queen is the only "pure blooded" Xenomorph variety.
Dr. Eisenberg stands in the guard of the alleged Empress
There is mention of a Xenomorph Empress as well. Dr. Eisenberg might have merely used the term "Empress" to refer to the Queen. However, the Empress is bigger than the average Queen, and might also represent a distinct caste.
Although very similar to a regular Queen, the Empress's main duty is to establish order on a planet with multiple hives. The only known differences between the two are their size: the Empress is substantially taller than a Queen, standing anywhere from 20 to 25 feet tall (
6.1 to 7.6 meters) and the fact that an Empress' crown has five points instead of the traditional three. It is possible that an Empress is simply the oldest Queen on a planet, and the physical differences are the result of aging.
It is also mentioned that after a hive grows to around 2,000 members, the younger Queens set out to establish new hives, and that if the Empress was to die, it would cause the younger Queens to fight over the new hive ruler. It's most likely that an "Empress" Xenomorph is merely a Queen that has dominated the other Queens in a hive. This would make the title "Empress" just that: a title.
Above the rank of Empress there is the Queen Mother: the single supreme ruler of all Xenomorph hives on all conquered planets which resides on Xenomorph Prime, accompanied by a personal guard of Queen-sized Praetorians known as Palatines ⎟] .
Other Xenomorph castes are rarely seen, and it's possible that not all hives have them, and/or that they prefer to stay hidden for the most part, and avoid venturing out of the hive or facing intruders.
One documented caste are the Workers, a.k.a. Weavers or "Albino Drones", due to their white coloration. These Xenomorphs are considerably smaller than regular Drones, standing between 4 and 6 feet (
1.2 to 1.8 meters), and are usually not confrontational. More-so than any other caste, they're primarily concerned with the maintenance and expansion of the hive's structure, and may also tend to the Queen. They're most notable for their extremely developed proboscis-like inner mouth, which is used to secrete the resin to build up the hive walls.
The Carrier caste and the Ravager caste are both large, specialized forms derived from Praetorians. The Carrier's function is to harbor, protect and transport facehuggers, which will cling to the protrusions on its dorsal spines, and may launch themselves at nearby creatures. The Ravager, on the other hand, is a purely offensive caste which seeks only to destroy opponents, regardless of whether they could make useful hosts or not. They're only really employed when the hive is at war.
A particularly dangerous, but seldom-seen possible caste is the Crusher. This massive, tank-like, heavily-armored quadruped is mostly known for its wide bulletproof cranial shield. Despite being as large as a Praetorian, it's capable of achieving great speed, lending support to the idea that it might represent a Praetorian matured from the "Runner" (Xenomorphs spawned from quadrupedal hosts, such as dogs). Another possibility is that the Crusher might represent a mutation, rather than a naturally-occurring caste.
Other less prominent castes include the Lurker: essentially a Drone which, as its name indicates, specializes in stealth tactics. The poorly-known Boiler and Spitter castes were encountered by the crew of the USS Sephora on LV-426 as was the afore-mentioned Crusher. Although most Drones can spit acid, the Spitter possesses specialized pouches on its head to store additional quantities. The Boiler, meanwhile, is probably one of the strangest castes: a deformed-looking alien whose suicidal attack consists of rupturing its own body and "exploding" in a rain of acid.
Although a few artificially-created individuals, such as the Rogue Xenomorph, have been referred as "king", the existence of naturally-occurring Xenomorph Kings is dubious, supported only by apocryphal sources.
When most people think of sea urchins, they think of scary, spiny creatures that live on the bottom of the sea floor, but sea urchins come in many shapes and sizes. Sand dollars are scientifically classified in the order Clypeasteroida, and there are many varieties and species in that classification. These flat, bottom-hugging creatures are closely related to sea cucumbers and starfish, but their unusual appearance once they wash up on shore has fascinated people for centuries.
A sand dollar (Photo Credit : Sharon Mooney / Wikimedia Commons)
Aside from the catchy name &ldquosand dollar&rdquo, these sea urchins are also known as pansy shells and sea cookies, among others, depending on where you are in the world. These sand dollars have a hard outer shell, which is covered in very fine hairs. Interestingly enough, those small hairs are also covered by other, even smaller hairs, known as cilia. This complex structure helps sand dollars move across the bottom of the sea floor in search of food.
Sand dollars tend to live just beneath or on top of sandy or muddy areas, into which they burrow. The life expectancy of sand dollars is, on average, 7-10 years, which you can tell by looking at the rings on the bottom of their shell, just like you would measure a tree! When the sand dollars die, however, they are unable to hold themselves in place any longer. With the movement of the tides, these urchins are eventually unearthed and washed towards the shore. The hair on their outer shell will begin to fall away, or be fed on by underwater scavengers. Finally, once the hard shell washes onto the beach, the remaining hair will disappear, and the sunlight will bleach the shell until it is nearly white.
These white sand dollars, with the unusual five-pointed design, are instantly recognizable and make for a great souvenir from your day at the seaside. That pattern on the shell is also telling of the urchin&rsquos form those five separate branches are the locations of pores on the shell, which allow for gas exchange that the urchin needs to live. However, once the shell is dry, it looks like a flower petal &ndash or the shape of a starfish on top of a white rock.
The name &ldquosand dollar&rdquo is a bit unusual, albeit memorable, and comes from centuries ago, when explorers began finding these unusual &ldquorocks&rdquo on beaches. As they resembled the large coins in use back then, and had a repetitive design, they earned their monetary-linked name. Some people even believed that they were a form of currency used by underwater creatures, such as mermaids who lived in the city of Atlantis!
List of Sea Animals A-Z
The ocean, the original home of earth’s animal life, has creatures of every size and type. It’s an exciting place to explore. Read through this list of sea animals𠅊rranged in alphabetical order—to start exploring what&aposs in our seas. See photos, pictures, and facts. Start your journey now and see for yourself how awesome our sea really is!
- : a large edible sea snail of coastal waters : a prized species of tuna : a small, oily fish of the Atlantic and Pacific, providing food for many fish, marine mammals, and birds : a bright-colored fish of coral reefs
An abalone pried from the rocks
- : an arthropod of coastal waters that attaches itself to rocks and shells : a tropical and subtropical predatory fish with a feisty appearance : a delicacy on the eastern coast of the US : the world’s largest marine animal : an aggressive shark that can thrive in both salt water and fresh water
- : a coral-inhabiting fish that removes parasites from other fish : a small tropical fish of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with orange and white stripes : a deep-sea fish, formerly a staple food in Europe and America, now greatly reduced in numbers in the Atlantic : an edible shellfish with a distinctive spiral shell : polyps, mostly tropical, mostly living in huge colonies along with photosynthesizing microorganisms : a large sea star that feeds on corals : a squid-like creature belonging to the mollusk family
Triggerfish being cleaned by wrasses (small blue fish), Red Sea
- an intelligent, vocal, social sea mammal a brightly colored fish of coral reefs : a showy tropical fish of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with dragon-like eyes and fins : perch-like fish of tropical and subtropical waters, often associated with jellyfish or sargasso weed or Sea Cow: a herbivorous marine mammal, a threatened species of the coastal Indian Ocean : a large, prized edible crab from the western coast of North America
- : long-bodied fishes mostly living in shallow waters : a large seal, with big-nosed males, living in the waters around western North America and Antarctica : a bright-colored shrimp of the Indo-Pacific region that lives cooperatively on other sea animals : the world’s largest living reptile, found in Southeast Asian and Australian estuaries