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Common and Interesting Arthropods of New Mexico:
Those often seen in yards and houses and those of particular interest to people

these pages are under construction

brown dog tick
Arachnida, Acari, Ixodidae, Rhipicephalus sanguineus


photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: Adults are shiny dark brown, juveniles are shiny dark gray. Adult females that are attached to dogs become engorged with blood and developing eggs, and they are light gray and grape-like. The only common tick in urban areas.
Geographic Distribution: Found throughout New Mexico, but mostly restricted to urban areas.
Habitats: Yards and homes, always associated with dogs, and mostly in yards with dogs.
Biology: Adults climb on to vegetation in the late spring (April/May) and climb on to passing dogs. They burrow their mouthparts into the dog's skin and feed on blood. Females become engorged with blood and enlarged and light gray. Usually mating adult males are found attached to the females, males remain small and dark brown. Females drop from dog hosts after a few days of feeding and lay eggs on the soil or in homes on rugs. Adults dog ticks are most common in New Mexico during the late spring and early summer months (May-June). The immature dog ticks are dark gray and search for dogs or other animals to feed on. They develop over the late summer and fall, and hibernate in the soil or leaf litter during the winter, and emerge as adults in the late spring. Dog ticks are specific to dogs, and rarely bite humans.
Health/pest Status: Dog ticks are a nuisance, and can cause scar injuries to dogs, and infections. They do not carry diseases and are not a health concern for humans.



brown recluse spider
Arachnida, Araneae, Sicariidae, Loxosceles reclusa


photo by K. Gaines

Description: Light brown or tan spiders with a slender body and long legs. Cephalothorax (front section of body with head) with a dark brown, violin-shaped marking on top. 6 eyes in three groups of two. Most similar in appearance to the cellar spider or daddy long-legs, but brown recluse spiders are not as slender, and legs not as long. Almost identical in appearance to the Apache recluse spider, but larger and darker brown color.
Geographic Distribution: The brown recluse spider is known to occur in eastern New Mexico, along the Pecos river valley and east to Texas.
Habitats: In buildings and under objects outdoors. Webs are usually located on or near the ground or floors, in dark quiet, undisturbed locations.
Biology: Adults may be found year-round, but especially during the late summer months. Recluse spiders construct small simple, relatively sheet-like webs with retreats into cracks or cavities. They generally stay with their webs, but adult males wander in search of females in late summer.
Health/pest Status: Brown recluse bites are rare, but the venom is dangerous. Bites usually result in skin lesions that do not heal for long periods of time. Secondary bacterial infections are another threat to bite lesions.




apache recluse spider
Arachnida, Araneae, Sicariidae, Loxosceles apachea




Description: Light brown or tan spiders with a slender body and long legs. Cephalothorax (front section of body with head) with a dark brown, violin-shaped marking on top. 6 eyes in three groups of two. Most similar in appearance to the cellar spider or daddy long-legs, but brown recluse spiders are not as slender, and legs not as long. Almost identical in appearance to the brown recluse spider, but smaller and lighter brown color.
Geographic Distribution: The brown recluse spider is known to occur in eastern New Mexico, along the Pecos river valley and east to Texas. Brown recluse spiders are not known to be established in any other parts of New Mexico. However, individuals may ride in people's belongings when they travel from regions where the spiders occur. Individual brown recluse spiders have been found in apartment complexes in Albuquerque, but established populations have not been documented.
Habitats: Usually outdoors under objects on the ground, like rocks and boards, rarely in houses. Webs are usually located on or near the ground, in dark quiet, undisturbed locations.
Biology: Adults may be found year-round, but especially during the late summer months. Recluse spiders construct small simple, relatively sheet-like webs with retreats into cracks or cavities. They generally stay with their webs, but adult males wander in search of females in late summer.
Health/pest Status: The toxicity of Apache recluse bites is not known, but probably similar to bites of the brown recluse.


funnel weaver spider
Arachnida, Araneae, Agelenidae, Agelenopsis longistylus


photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: Light brown or tan spiders with darker brown and gray markings on the cephalothorax and abodomen. Cephalothorax (front section of body with head) with a dark brown, violin-shaped marking on top. 8 eyes in four groups of two. Most similar in appearance to wolf spiders, but usually found in the distinctive sheet webs with a funnel entrance.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout New Mexico.
Habitats: Outdoors and in houses and buildings. The distinctive sheet and funnel webs are often on window sills, along sidewalks, outdoor bases of buildings, rocks, wood piles, etc.
Biology: Adults occur mostly in mid to late summer. Adult males wander in search of females in late summer.
Health/pest Status: The "hobo" or "aggressive" house spider is a related species introduced from Europe. The hobo spider bites are known to cause necrotic lesions, but not as severe as brown recluse spiders. All funnel weaver spiders have mildly toxic venom, but bites to humans are not common. In general, funnel weaver spiders are probably bennificial in that they eat other insects and spiders, such as cockroaches.


American cockroach
Hexapoda, Blattodea, Blatellidae



Description: Large rust-brown insect with a flattened body and long wings (adults) and antennae. Adult males and females look similar. Adults look very similar to Turkistan roaches, but American roaches are considerbly larger. Immature stages are tan, and look very similar to immature Oriental roaches and immature Turkistan roaches.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout southern New Mexico. Introduced to North America from Asia.
Habitats: Mostly inside of houses and buildings. Outside, but near buildings in the summer. Usually associated with moisture such as plumbing.
Biology: Adults and immature stages occur year-round in buildings, but outdoors only during the summer months.
Health/pest Status: American roaches live in buildings and are considered house pests.


Oriental cockroach
Hexapoda, Blattodea, Blatellidae



Description: Large brown insect with a flattened body and short wings(adults) and long antennae. Adult males have wings almost as long as the abdomen, and females have very small wing pads. Adults are smaller and darker than Oriental roaches, and have short wings. Immature stages are tan, and look very similar to immature Oriental roaches, and immature Turkistan roaches.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout New Mexico. Introduced to North America from Asia.
Habitats: Mostly inside of houses and buildings. Outside, but near buildings in the summer. Usually associated with moisture such as plumbing.
Biology: Adults and immature stages occur year-round in buildings, but outdoors only during the summer months.
Health/pest Status: Oriental roaches live mostly in buildings and are considered house pests.


Turkistan cockroach
Hexapoda, Blattodea, Blatellidae



Description: Large brown and tan insect with a flattened body and long wings (adults males) and antennae. Adult males have long wings, and females have very small wing pads. Adult males look very similar to American roaches, but American roaches are considerbly larger. Adult females look almost identical to adult female Oriental roaches, but have pale cream-colored marks on the wing margins. Immature stages are tan, and look very similar to immature American, Oriental, and immature Turkistan roaches.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout southern New Mexico. Introduced to North America from Asia.
Habitats: Mostly outside of houses and buildings, and near buildings in the summer. Not closely associated with moisture such as plumbing, like the American and Oriental roaches.
Biology: Adults and immature stages occur year-round in buildings, but outdoors only during the summer months.
Health/pest Status: Turkistan roaches live in and around buildings and are considered house pests.


German cockroach
Hexapoda, Blattodea, Blatellidae



Description: Medium yellowish-tan insect with a flattened body and long wings and antennae. Pale stripe down the center of the thorax, with black margins. Adult males and females look similar. German roaches are much smaller and lighter colored than American, Oriental, and Turkistan roaches. Immature stages are yellowish-tan, and look similar to small, immature American, Oriental, and immature Turkistan roaches.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout New Mexico. Introduced to North America from Asia.
Habitats: Almost entirely inside of houses and buildings. Not closely associated with moisture such as plumbing, like the American and Oriental roaches. Often found in association with electrical appliances or other particularly warm locations. Usually gregarious, often found concentrated in small areas.
Biology: Adults and immature stages occur year-round in buildings.
Health/pest Status: German roaches live in buildings and are considered house pests. The German roach is probably the most serious household roach pest.


Southwestern field cockroach
Hexapoda, Blattodea, Blatellidae, Blatella vaga



Description: Medium yellowish-tan insect with a flattened body and long wings and antennae. Pale stripe down the center of the thorax, with black margins. Adult males and females look similar. Southwestern field roaches look almost identical to German roaches, and are much smaller and lighter colored than American, Oriental, and Turkistan roaches. Immature stages are yellowish-tan, and look similar to small, immature American, Oriental, and immature Turkistan roaches.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout southern New Mexico. Introduced to North America from Asia.
Habitats: Almost entirely outdoors in damp grassy situations. Not known to occur indoors. Often in grassy riparian areas along rivers and streams.
Biology: Adults and immature stages occur year-round in buildings.
Health/pest Status: German roaches live in buildings and are considered house pests. The German roach is probably the most serious household roach pest.



desert sand cockroach
Hexapoda, Blattodea, Polyphagidae, Arenivaga erratica

photo by D.C.Lightfoot
male

Photo by D.C.Lightfoot
female

Description: Adult females are medium, brown, and round insects, similar to a thick penny, fuzzy, and no wings, and short legs and antennae. Adult males are medium pale tan insects with a flattened body and long wings and antennae. Immatures look like small adult females. Another common native sand roach occurs in New Mexico and looks very similar.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout southern New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Entirely outdoors in sandy soil. Not known to live indoors. Winged males often fly to lights at night, and may enter houses but will not live indoors.
Biology: Adults occur in the summer, and immature stages maybe found in the soil throughout the year.
Health/pest Status: Desert sand roaches are not pests.




fiery searcher ground beetle
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Carabidae, Calosoma scrutator


Photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: large bright green beetle with flattened body and long legs.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout southern New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Associated with deciduous trees, such as riparian areas along rivers and streams. Also in urban areas where trees are dense. Entirely outdoors.
Biology: Adults occur in the summer, and wander on the ground and climb trees in search of caterpillars on which they feed. The larvae are predators of other insects in the soil.
Health/pest Status: Fiery searcher ground beetles are beneficial insects that prey on caterpillars.


Harpalus ground beetle
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Carabidae, Harpalus pennsylvanicus


Photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: Small black, oval beetle with short legs.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Outdoors in damp soil and under rocks and other objects. They often wander into garages and houses, but do not live there.
Biology: Adults occur in the summer, and wander on the ground in search of small arthropods on which they feed. The larvae are predators of other insects in the soil.
Health/pest Status: Harpalus ground beetles are beneficial insects that prey on other arthropods.


cottonwood long-horned borer beetle
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Plectrodera scalator


Photo by D.C.Lightfoot
female

Description: Large elongate black and white beetle with very long black and white banded antennae.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout southern and eastern New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Specific to cottonwood trees. The larvae live in and feed on dead wood of cottonwood trees.
Biology: Adults occur in the mid-summer, larvae are present in wood year round.
Health/pest Status: Not pests, cottonwood long-horned borers feed on already dead cottonwood. The do not attack dry building wood.


Prionus long-horned beetles
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Prionus heroicus



Description: Very large robust reddish-brown beetle with long, tiled antennae. Females are larger than males, and males have larger antennal segments than females. Several similar species occur in New Mexico.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout southern and eastern New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Associated with broad-leaved trees. Larvae live in and feed on dead tree roots.
Biology: Adults occur in the mid-summer, larvae are present in wood year round.
Health/pest Status: Not pests, prionus long-horned borers feed on already dead tree roots in damp soil. They do not attack dry building wood.


spotted tylosis beetle
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, Tylosis maculatus


Photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: Medium elongate orange beetle with black markings and long antennae. Body size and pattern of black markings are variable. Several similar appearing species occur in New Mexico.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Open areas, yards, where mallows grow. Larvae live in and feed on the dead roots of wild mallows. Adults are often on mallow flowers.
Biology: Adults occur in the mid-summer, larvae are present in mallow roots year round.
Health/pest Status: Not pests, spotted tylosis beetles only feed on dead mallow roots. They do not attack dry building woood.


spotted cucumber beetle
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Diabrotica undecimpunctata


Photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: Small oval yellow-green beetle with black spots on the wing covers, females and males look similar. No similar looking spotted beetle in New Mexico.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Yards, gardens and open areas with herbaceous plants and flowers. Adults live and feed on the leaves and flowers of many herbaceous plants. Larvae live in the soil and feed on plant roots.
Biology: Adults occur throughout the summer, larvae are present on plant roots during the summer.
Health/pest Status: Pests of many garden plants. The adults eat leaves and flowers of beans, corn, cucumbers, squash, etc.


flea leaf-beetle
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Phyllotreta sp.


Photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: Small oval metallic blue beetle with enlarged hind legs for jumping. Females and males look similar. Many similar looking species of flea leaf-beetles in New Mexico.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Yards, gardens and open areas with herbaceous plants and flowers. Adults and larvae live and feed on the leaves and of many herbaceous plants, especially those in the mustard family (Brassicacea).
Biology: Adults occur throughout the summer, larvae are present on plant leaves during the summer.
Health/pest Status: Not common on garden plants, generally on native herbaceous plants and weeds.


click beetle
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Elateridae, Melanotus sp.


Photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: Medium oval-elongate dark brown beetle with short legs. Females and males look similar. Many similar looking species of click beetles in New Mexico.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Yards, gardens and open areas with grasses and herbaceous plants. Adults live on the ground and plants, and larvae live in the soil and feed on plant roots.
Biology: Adults and larvae occur throughout the summer.
Health/pest Status: Not common enough to be pests despite feeding on plant roots.


Southwestern masked chafer
Hexapoda, Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Cyclocephala pasadenae


Photo by D.C.Lightfoot

Description: Medium oval beetles that are light tan in color and shiny. Males and females look similar. There are several other similar looking beetles in New Mexico, but they are not shiny and tan.
Geographic Distribution: Throughout southern and central New Mexico. Native.
Habitats: Yards, gardens and open areas with herbaceous plants and flowers. Adults fly at night, and often come to lights. Larvae live in the soil and feed on decaying plant material and plant roots.
Biology: Adults fly at night during the mid-summer, and do not feed. The larvae occur in soil during the late summer through winter, pupate in the spring, and emerge as adults during the summer.
Health/pest Status: Not considered pests.