Subject: Is this a Giant Swallowtail?
Location: Fullerton (Orange County) CA
July 31, 2014 8:20 am
Hello;
Here is a better photo of our overnight visitor. It landed on the night blooming jasmine at dusk yesterday and settled in for the night. To my surprise it is still there as of 8 a.m. It is quite large, at about 4″ across, warm black with striking yellow markings. When viewing from the kitchen window slightly above, there is a thin edge of yellow showing on the ‘shoulders’ so that it presents as a heart. It’s beautiful. Thank you for your wonderful website.
Signature: Likes Bugs

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail

Dear Likes Bugs,
You are correct that this is a Giant Swallowtail, a relatively recent resident of Southern California.  The Giant Swallowtail is native to the eastern portion of North America, but the caterpillars, known as Orange Dogs, adapted to feeding on the leaves of orange and other citrus trees, and as the cultivation of citrus spread west, the range of the Giant Swallowtail followed.  We believe they first appeared in Los Angeles in the 1990s.  According to the Los Angeles Times:  “The giant swallowtail butterfly,
Heraclides (Papilio) cresphontes, is native to the Southeast. Since the 1960s, populations have spread west following a corridor of suburban development and the species’ favorite larval food source — citrus — through Arizona, into the Imperial Valley, then San Diego and north to Orange and Los Angeles counties. They’ve been sighted as far north as Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.  Numbers have surged since 2000, says Jess Morton, president of the Palos Verdes-South Bay chapter of the Audubon Society. Members have held a butterfly count at the same location, on the first Sunday in July, every year since 1991. According to their records, a single giant swallowtail was first seen in the South Bay in 2000. They counted 23 in 2007.”  According to the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects:  “Ranges throughout most of the east;  more limited distribution in the southwest, but has expanded into the Los Angeles basin within the past 20 years.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unidentified Green Winged Bug
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
July 30, 2014 5:34 pm
My sons and I found this bug on the edge of the treadmill. He had just grown out of it’s previous skin and it was still attached to the string below. It sat around for a while even while they were jumping. They both started getting a little too interested and frankly I was worried that the bug would jump on them and spook them so I got it to go away with a leaf. I didn’t see it leave so I don’t know if it jumped or flew away. We have the National Geographic Bugopedia and looked around for a match but couldn’t find one. It almost looked like a grasshopper with wings but the only one in the book had blue wings and was from Europe and this one we saw had clear wings and we are in the U.S. Please let us know if you can. My enthusiastic 3 and 6 year old boys are budding entomologists and would love to know what they saw. We saw this bug in a north hills suburb of Pittsburgh in July after a rainstorm.
Signature: Gretchen Cetti

Annual Cicada

Annual Cicada

Hi Gretchen,
This is an Annual Cicada in the genus
Tibicen, and they are active in the latter half of summer.  Though many people are not familiar with the physical appearance of Cicadas, most all residents of the eastern portion of North America are familiar with the loud buzzing sound they produce, often from the tops of trees.  This sound is quite loud, and resembles the sound of a buzz saw.  Cicada nymphs live underground, often for several years, and when they emerge, they shed their exoskeleton for the last time, emerging as winged adults and leaving behind the exuvia.

Subject:  Monarch Butterfly
Location:  King’s Canyon, California
July 30, 2014
hi, what’s that bug? i know you have many photos of this butterfly, but how do i tell if this is a male or female? photo taken in king’s canyon national park on july 17th, 2014. thanks! clare.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Hi Clare,
This is a female Monarch, and she can be distinguished from the male Monarch by the lack of a “scent patch” on the hind wings of the female.  According to BugGuide:  “Males have scent-scale patches on hindwings, prominent when wings are open, and just possible to see when wings are folded.”  In this image of mating Monarchs, the male is the lower butterfly with the open wings.  Though we have been hearing and reading many accounts of the drop in populations of Monarch butterflies in recent years, probably due to habitat loss, but also rumored to be connected to GMO corn pollen (not substantiated), we have been noticing numerous migrating Monarchs in Mount Washington in recent weeks.  Perhaps this is connected to the cultivation of milkweed in eco-friendly gardens, perhaps the migration patterns are changing, or perhaps we have just been more observant.  When we cropped your image, we removed an out of focus Greater Fritillary on the right to concentrate more on the Monarch, but it seems your meadow made butterfly viewing quite a marvelous experience.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Butterfly
Location:  King’s Canyon National Park, California
July 30, 2014
hi again, what’s that bug?
this butterfly confuses me – is is a checkerspot or fritillary?
king’s canyon national park on july 17th, 2014.
thanks very much,
clare, los angeles

Greater Fritillary

Greater Fritillary

Hi Clare,
This is a Greater Fritillary in the genus
Speyeria, and the Greater Fritillaries are larger than the Checkerspots.  Greater Fritillaries also have silver spots on the ventral surface of the underwings, which one of your images nicely illustrates.  See BugGuide for images of the many North American Greater Fritillaries, which we have a very difficult time distinguishing from one another.  According to BugGuide:  “This distinctive genus is unlikely to be confused with any other in North America. These are medium to large sized, broad-winged butterflies (most are over 2 inches in wing span, all at least nearly this large, and many species are much larger). Most have a distinctive pattern of black dashes and spots above and with rounded or oval (usually silvered) pale spots below, particularly on the hind wing. There are a few species which diverge from the usual orange ground color, and several in which light spots below may be unsilvered. In S. dianathe pattern and coloring are highly modified, but this species is so very distinctive as to be recognizable at a glance. … Checkerspots can be confused with Fritillaries too (and are also called ‘Fritillaries’ by the British), but they are also much smaller than Speyeria, and the pattern below is always distinctly different (see photos under tribe Melitaeini). The upper side does not have a row of rounded spots near the outer edge of both the front and hind wings as do the ‘true’ Fritillaries.”  Two species found in Southern California according to the Butterflies Through Binoculars The West by Jeffrey Glassberg are the Coronis Fritillary, Speyeria coronis [See BugGuide] and the Callippe Fritillary, Speyeria callippe [see BugGuide].

Greater Fritillary

Greater Fritillary

thanks, daniel. i did look online – but wanted to know:
so, it could be the coronis or calliope? would this apply to the west side of the sierra nevada, too? (kings canyon nat’l park).
c.

Based on the range maps in Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, those are the two possible Fritillaries in Southern California.  Sadly, BugGuide does not have true range maps, and sightings cause the entire state to be colored, as in the case of S. coronis and S. calliopeOther California species are found in Northern California.  According to BugGuide information for all species in the genus:  “Caterpillar food plants are Violets, Viola species.”  Violet are relatively common in the eastern portion of the country, hence the greater Fritillary diversity there.  How many native violets are found in Southern California?  Without violets, you will not have Fritillaries.

 

Subject:  Butterfly ID
Grant’s Grove, King’s Canyon National Park, California
July 30, 2014
hi what’s that bug?
this butterfly was seen along the “stump trail” area of grant’s grove, in king’s canyon national park CA, on july 14, 2014.
is it a california sister or a lorquin’s admiral? and what is the difference?
thank you,
clare

Lorquin's Admiral

Lorquin’s Admiral

Hi Clare,
This is a perfectly timed submission as we just posted a closed-winged view of what we believe to be a Lorquin’s Admiral, but since we could not see a dorsal view, we can’t be certain.  This is most certainly a Lorquin’s Admiral, and it is wonderful to get two views of the same individual.  According to Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, on the Lorquin’s Admiral:  “FW [forewing] apex has a linear orange patch that reaches the outer margin.”  The same source states of the California Sister:  “FW apex has a large round orange patch that doesn’t reach the outer margin.”  That said, the same source indicates the two species look very similar, but the Lorquin’s Admiral is usually associated with willows and poplars, especially near streams while the California Sister is generally associated with oak woodlands.

Lorquin's Admiral

Lorquin’s Admiral

Subject: Beatle identification
Location: Truckee Ca
July 29, 2014 8:57 am
Was on vacation in Truckee CA and found this large beatle under a cushion for the patio chair. It was between the size of a quarter and a fifty cent piece. Slow moving and seemed to be waiting for the morning sun. A bit of a shocker!
Signature: Warrren

Yellow Douglas Fir Borer

Yellow Douglas Fir Borer

Hi Warrren,
This impressive beetle is a Yellow Douglas Fir Borer,
Centrodera spurca, and we have sporadic sightings as postings on our site.  According to the Oregon State University Insect ID Clinic site:  “This is a common long horned beetle in the west that feeds under the bark of Douglas-fir as a larva. The black spots on the sides of the beetle distinguish it from some of the other species that occur in Oregon .”

Daniel,
Thanks for the information. So this is the Beatle that we have had trouble with killing the trees.  Right?
Warren

Hi again Warren,
You dropped an “r”.  To the best of our knowledge, the Yellow Douglas Fir Borer is not considered a significant problem regarding killing trees.