University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Mystery Bug Answers

Mystery Picture #27

Mystery Picture #27

(Mystery Pictures)(Mystery Pictures)


This familiar insect, the Colorado Potato Beetle, is the most serious pest of potatoes. Both the adult beetle and the black-spotted, red larva feed on potato leaves. Their damage can greatly reduce yield and even kill plants. In addition to potatoes, this beetle can be a serious pest of tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. This insect is notorious for development of resistance to insecticides over short periods of time. Read more about the Colorado potato beetle in these EntFacts from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology:

EntFact 312 - Colorado Potato Beetle Management
EntFact 304 - Potato Pests


This common Kentucky spider is an active hunter and is among the largest spiders in the eastern United States. Fishing Spiders (Dolomedes spp.) prefer moist habitats, such as around streams or other bodies of water but may be found in basements or other damp parts of buildings.

This female is carrying an egg sac in her jaws. After several weeks, when it's time for the eggs to hatch, she will construct a "nursery web" to protect the egg sac and the hundreds of tiny spiderlings that will emerge from the sac. She guards her babies until they leave the web to go off on their own.

fishing spider nursery web
Mother fishing spider and her many babies standing on the nursery web

Fishing spiders can run over the surface of the water and some even dive below the surface. They can stay submerged for several hours in a sort of diving bell formed by a bubble of air that adheres to the abdomen. They usually eat insects, but sometimes capture tadpoles and small fish!

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