Arthropods 14

Wayne's WordIndexNoteworthy PlantsTriviaLemnaceaeBiology 101BotanySearch

     Index        Spiders1        Spiders2        Spider Allies       Mites        Butterflies       Wasps       Caddisflies       True Bugs        Homoptera  
    Dragonflies      Grasshoppers      Neuroptera      Flies       Beetles1        Beetles2        Beetles3       Termites      Miscellaneous 
Southern California Arthropods (Mostly) #14: Miscellaneous Orders
© W.P. Armstrong 15 April 2009
See Various Arthropod Images On Wayne's Word T-Shirts
View Wayne's Word Gift Stores: #1  #2  #3  #4  #5  #6  #7 

House Hoppers (Order Amphipoda)

A deceased house hopper (Talitroides sylvaticus). These small crustaceans are about 8 mm long and belong to the order Amphipoda. House hoppers apparently develop from eggs laid in leaf mold under shrubbery and ground covers. They often appear in profusion on side walks and in houses of southern California during or just after the first soaking rain of October or November. Apparently they are escaping from their flooded habitat and soon die in great numbers. Amphipods or "water fleas" include many freshwater and marine species. In fact, they are commonly found in duckweed samples from ponds and streams.

Earwigs (Order Dermaptera)

European earwig (Forficula auricularia). This unusual insect was introduced into California from Europe. It catches other insects with its terminal forceps, but also feeds on tender young plants, fruits and seedlings. Although they tend to hide in cracks and crevices, they don't seek out human ears. It is possible that they might crawl into the ears of someone sleeping on the ground, particularly if the area is infested with earwigs.

Fleas (Order Siphonaptera)

A cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). About 2 mm long (size of a pin head).

Size of straight pin and sewing needle used in Wayne's Word articles.

Mayflies (Order Ephemeroptera)

These are aquatic insects that only live a few hours or days as fragile adults, hence the name Ephemeroptera (from ephemeral or short-lived). Males of the genus Callibaetis have a prominent brown-tinted front margin on their forewings. Adults emerge as dark-colored "subimagos" that soon molt. This is the only order of insects in which the molting process occurs in a winged adult stage.

A comparison between the giant mayfly (Hexagonia) and an average-sized mayfly.
Both of these adult aquatic insects were aboard the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler.

   See Giant Mayfly On The Columbia River Gorge, Oregon   


  1. Evans, A.V. 2007. Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. New York, New York.

  2. Hogue, C.L. 1993. Insects of the Los Angeles Basin. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Webspinners (Order Embioptera)

Webspinners are a small group of winged insects in subtropical and tropical regions. About 360 species have been described, although there are undoubtedly more undescribed species. According to Wikipedia (accessed 15 June 2011), they range in size between 1.5 and 2.0 mm; however, our common southern California species is about 7 mm long (excluding the long antennae). D. Borror & D. Delong (An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 1965), give a size range of 4 to 7 mm. In San Diego County they are often seen around lights on warm summer nights. The common name "webspinner" comes from the insect's ability to spin silk from enlarged structures on their front legs. The enlarged basal segment of the 3-segmented tarsus contains silk-producing glands. Webspinners use the silk to make extensive web-like tunnels or galleries in which they live. One of the most remarkable things about these insects is their ability to run forward or backward very rapidly. Unlike most insects, they don't need to turn around to go in the opposite direction! Webspinners are well represented in Cretaceous amber (65-140 million years ago).

A winged male webspinner (order Embioptera). Female webspinners are wingless.

A male webspinner (order Embioptera) compared in size with a U.S. Penny. The penny is 19 mm in diameter, while the webspinner is 7.0 mm long (excluding its long antennae).

Silverfish (Order Thysanura)

Common house silverfish (Lepisma saccharina).

A jumping bristletail (Family Machilidae). The body of bristletails is more cylindrical than silverfish and they can jump. They are sometimes called "rockhoppers" or "jumping silverfish."

Thrips (Order Thysanoptera)

Western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) on the California native Brodiaea orcuttii.

Close-up views of western flower thrip (Frankliniella occidentalis).

Return To WAYNE'S WORD Home Page
Go To Biology GEE WHIZ TRIVIA Page