Bay Area bug identification
December 5, 2016 2:24 AM   Subscribe

I found this bug on the kitchen floor of my Oakland house a few minutes ago. I've never seen anything like it before and I have no idea how even to narrow down a Google search.

It was about an inch long, and seemed only able to "walk" when it was traveling on the grout between the saltillo tiles; any time it got onto the tile itself, it slipped around and used its whole body to move forward, sort of like an inchworm but not as graceful or uniform in its motion. It flipped over a couple of times during this latter process, and I could see it was a lighter color underneath.

We live right next to a creek at the bottom of a canyon where the Oakland hills meet the flats, so our groundwater level is very high and we have all sorts of interesting creatures in the backyard.

We're battling a major Argentine ant invasion in the house right now, so at first I thought it might be a queen, but nothing I saw about Argentine ants online looked anything like this. The ants that came close to it ignored it, and it likewise ignored the ants.

I'm ashamed to admit that I killed it after photographing it, so if it was some rare wish-granting magical world peace beetle or something, maybe let me down easy.
posted by jesourie to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ecologist, not an entomologist, but that looks like the nymph of some sort of water beetle or maybe even a dragonfly or similar (though the legs are usually longer). Unfortunately the tail-end - which isn't visible in the picture - is usually a major point for further identification.
posted by Pinback at 2:52 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Thanks, Pinback! Here's another photo with the tail end visible.
posted by jesourie at 3:09 AM on December 5, 2016

My guess* would be a Snakefly larva.
*Marine biology student, not an entomologist.
posted by HFSH at 3:18 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Also, here.
posted by HFSH at 3:19 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Google tells me it is Snakefly Larvae!!!

I popped in about your Argentine Ant issue, which I have dealt with... Have you called an exterminator? Not Orkin, but a smaller outfit? You need someone to inspect EVERYWHERE outside in your yard looking for the nests(s), then person will destroy the nest(s) then you will never ever see another ant in your home. Experienced exterminators can track down and destroy all the nests, and guarantee the job. They are not normal ants and this is your only hope.

See? In a way it kind of was a magical peace and luck bearing beetle and its sacrifice was not in vain (RIP.)
posted by jbenben at 7:38 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

In the future, this is a thing that Reddit is good at. is home to a bunch of experts.
posted by softlord at 8:03 AM on December 5, 2016

Thank you all! Reddit link saved for future reference.
posted by jesourie at 12:49 PM on December 5, 2016

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