What was this crazy bug?

Seriously, it was like nature-show crazy. (And well camouflaged enough that I might see them every day and never know it.)

It was tooling around on our back porch and looks exactly like a little bit of wood rot. It moves like some chunk of something caught in a spider web, except that when it wants to it really books it and it’s hard to get a clear picture of it with your phone camera! I thought of those crabs that decorate themselves with bits of stuff, although once or twice this guy… flexed himself? And everything on his back sort of undulated a bit - it isn’t totally rigid. Here are the best photos I got, which are very bad indeed.

One (he’s the little piece of flotsam the paper is pointing at)

I couldn’t get any pictures of his undercarriage that weren’t so blurry as to be useless, but he had very small legs (I THINK six) and what looked like long pincery mouthparts. His back, or the stuff he stuck to his back, was flat and seemed to overhang all of his leggy buggy parts. He moved in this weird “bumble” sort of motion but was quick enough to avoid the autofocus on my phone and he did NOT want to crawl onto a white sheet of paper so we could get a better look at him.

This is in South Carolina, in town.

Can’t see anything in the photos, but from your description I am willing to bet that it’s lacewing larva.

Basically it’s an ant lion that doesn’t bother with the pit trap. Many species specialise in eating aphids other sap suckers. Because ants guard aphids, they coat themselves in crap, including the bodies of prey they have sucked dry, to hide from the ants.

That’s it!

Trash bug is what we call them in Florida.

That is one freaky bug.

I’m also happy that it didn’t turn out to be a house centipede, which is my go-to bug whenever I see a thread title wanting to figure out some sort of crazy bug.