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

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

Subject: What kind of bug is this?
Location: Ontario, canada
July 29, 2014 6:14 pm
Found this in my backyard, but have never seen it before.
Signature: Chelsea

Clearwing

Lesser Peachtree Borer

Hi Chelsea,
Though it resembles a wasp, this is actually a Clearwing Moth in the family Sesiidae, and many members of the family are effective mimics of wasps, a physical attribute that acts as protective mimicry.  The defenseless Clearwing will be avoided by many predators who have previously been stung by wasps.  Many Clearwings look similar, and we will attempt to identify your species later today as we now have some house keeping to which to attend.  You can see many examples of Clearwing Moths on BugGuide.
  Though we at first claimed we would attempt a more thorough identification later, we decided to give it a quick try, and we believe this is a Lesser Peachtree Borer, Synanthedon pictipes, based on images posted to BugGuide where it states:  “Larvae tunnel under the bark and in the twigs and branches of cultivated and wild peaches, plums and cherries (Prunus), Amelanchier, apples (Malus spp.) and pears (Pyrus) (all Rosaceae).”

Subject: Morning Cloak Caterpillars?
Location: Saint John, NB Canada
July 30, 2014 6:40 am
I found this congregation of caterpillars on the branch of my willow tree last night. This morning they had abandoned that branch, leaving clumps of black, and had relocated to a higher branch. I am located in Saint John, NB Canada and have never encountered these before. Based on what I’ve seen on the internet, I believe they are Mourning Cloak Caterpillars but I was hoping someone could confirm that makes sense. I’m also wondering if these are dangerous and should heed any warnings. I’m not a creepy crawly fan so I haven’t gotten too close but I’ve taken a couple of photos zoomed in as much as possible.
Signature: Jennifer

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar Aggregation

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar Aggregation

Hi Jennifer,
Though you image lacks critical detail, there are enough similarities to presume these are Mourning Cloak Caterpillars.  Your very descriptive account of the sighting supports that supposition as willow is a common food plant.  Mourning Cloak Caterpillars frequently feed in a group, known as an aggregation, a more accepted term for a group of caterpillars than the term congregation.  Mourning Cloak Caterpillars are not considered dangerous, but the spines can cause a painful prick if they are carelessly handled.