Potato Bug found in Mt Washington

Note: This inquiry originally was sent to What’s That Bug?

Subject: This bug actually made me scream
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
June 17, 2012 9:24 pm
I was gardening yesterday when a bug that I’ve never seen before crawled past me. He was just over two inches long and seriously freaky looking. What is he?
Signature: Becca

Potato Bug

​Dear Becca,
Our What’s That Bug? offices are located in Mt Washington, the best neighborhood in the entire city of Los Angeles.  This iconic insect is commonly called a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, or in Spanish, Niña de la Tierra, a member of the genus
Stenopelmatus.  This genus ranges over much of the western United States, and there are believed to more than 60 species, however, there is not much information on how to distinguish one species from another as all look quite similar.  Potato Bugs are subterranean insects that are classified with crickets, katydids and grasshoppers in the insect order Orthoptera.  They have strong jaws and large specimen might bite if carelessly handled, but they are harmless.  See BugGuide for additional information on the Potato Bug.  We are going to post your letter on What’s That Bug? as well as on the Mt Washington Homeowners Alliance website.  If you are free on the evening of July 21, you might want to attend our National Moth Week event in Elyria Canyon Park.  Please introduce yourself to Julian and Daniel.

 

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