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Mystery Critters Collection :: [Back to Photography]

Even with the help of the internet and the remarkable Whats That Bug archives I'm still clueless as to what these creatures might be. Do you know? So far I've got a weird blue ant beetle-y thing and a crazy tiny worm thing. They're both very odd and I'd love to know what they were. And the demon-ants. Please contact me if you think you know what one or any of these might properly be! I'll be sure to keep these updated if I come across any new information.

1 • random worm thingy. I found this in a bush/tree thing in our front yard in Southern Ontario on June 23, 2008 after it had been raining on and off that day. It was clear at the time I was photographing it. I have no idea how it got into the branches it was in, whether it climbed or a bird dropped it. It was quite adept at twisting and looping around to cling to things. I did not touch it (since we couldn't id it) but rather carefully used a twig to move it to where I could photograph it clearly. I eventually was baffled enough that a pulled out my small art ruler to record a better scale of it. Its pale yellow-green in colouring and at least partially translucent. I could not determine the head from the tail except when it was in motion.

Detail Shots

Scale reference

The tree the worm thing was found in

I have two videos that give a good idea of its movement as well, one with the ruler to show its scale again.
Directs to YouTube: Video One (1 min 39 secs)
Directs to YouTube: Video Two w/ ruler for scale (42 secs)

General consensus so far is that it might be a tape worm without a host body. Creepy!

3 • The demon-ants, for lack of a better name. I'm fine with black ants and red ants, most ants in Canada are pretty harmless. Except these ones are nasty. They are half red and half black, tend to swarm, and they bite. I first noticed them in summer of around 2006/2007 when they swarmed my feet on the patio stones in the backyard. It was distinctly... unpleasant.

From what research I've done online they seem to be a new-ish invading species in Canada and may be a kind of slaver ant. They will attack other colonies of ants and use the workers as slave labour. I have frequently seen the demon-ants carrying black ants and what looks like eggs to their main colonies or towards a new colony. When they migrate they go on mass and seem to mostly abandon the colonies they've cleaned out. The ant lines when going long distances are generally about 5 inches in width with each 5 inch stretch of that having between 5-8 ants going in both directions. They will go back and forth along this path until there is seemingly nothing left to salvage in the old colony.

Most likely you will find these ants when they begin biting your feet if you're wearing open shoes or trespass their territory in bare feet. I have been unable to determine if they climb trees at all but they will clamber all over bushes and lower plants and grass. They bite repeatedly and often can not be shaken off once they have gripped flesh and must be swatted away. The bites burn initially and mostly fade after a while. Deep bites leave two red pincher marks but don't seem to break the flesh. I would highly suggest keeping small children away from them. These ants are extremely aggressive.

Demon Ants

ID'D! Thank you!

2 • beetle-y bug. I was out for a walk in the rain when I found this one. It trundled across the trail in front of me through the mud and then wandered off under the plants. Apologies for the lousy photo quality, it was moving quickly and hard to focus on with my camera. I'd judge that it was about an inch and a half long or so. It was that brilliantly variated blue/green the beetles get sometimes but a really deep textured hue. I guessed that it would be a female/queen of the species but I really have no point of reference on this one.

ID :: This is an oil beetle! They live all over the place apparently in both Britain and North America at least.

pretty and yet creepy

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