Monday Night Mystery: The Fuzzball of Terror

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We end December with a straightforward mystery insect:

mystery_1

What is the big, white, furry animal amid the bumbling herd of aphids?

I will award points to the first person who can correctly name the order (4 points) the family (3 points), and the subfamily (3 points). For full credit, guesses must be accompanied by supporting character information.

The cumulative points winner for the month of December will win their choice of:

1) A guest post here on Myrmecos
2) Any 8×10 print from my insect photography galleries
3) A myrmecos t-shirt

Good luck!

15 thoughts on “Monday Night Mystery: The Fuzzball of Terror”

  1. Looks like Coleoptera: Coccinellidae, probably genus Cryptolaemus. Character information: waxy larval shielding. We published a paper about the evolution of this trait a couple years ago in MPE. 🙂

  2. *Coccinellidae. These larvae prey on aphids. For this beetle larvae, the presence of wax structures provided significant defense against ant aggression compared with denuded larvae in that these structures attenuated the aggressive behavior of foraging ants.

  3. I studied genus Scymnus (Coleoptera: Coccinelidae, Scymninae) in the Azores, this looks like a large larva! Do you know if it is an L4?
    As Bugguide says “Larvae covered with white wax that may form long “hairy” tufts, resembling mealybugs or caterpillars” http://bugguide.net/node/view/340374

        1. Ya know, this post caused me to look up wooly alder aphid… dozens of adults go sailing past my face nearly every summer, and they always crack me up. How such a goofy, fragile insect manages to survive with a life stage like that is just one of the wonders of the insect world.

  4. I agree with Guillaume D. that it probably is Scymnus sp. (Coleoptera; Coccinellidae; Subfamily).
    Another related genus is Axinoscymnus sp.
    These are predatory larva (even the beetles too), as seen on the photo feeding on the aphid. The larvae have 3 pairs of true legs, in addition to a pseudo pair.

  5. Pingback: – Answer to the Monday Night Fuzzball

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