Subject: Alice in Wonderland caterpillars
Location: Toledo District, Belize
October 30, 2014 9:09 pm
Hello, bugman and devoted staff,
These caterpillars repeatedly defoliate the plumeria, which suffer no apparent ill effects. Can you tell me what these turn into?
Many thanks.
Signature: Tanya

Tetrio Sphinxes

Tetrio Sphinxes

Hi Tanya,
The bright colors of these Tetrio Sphinxes are quite spectacular and they really do look like fantasy creations of the imagination.

Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Orange Spider

Location: Columbus, Ohio
October 28, 2014 9:04 pm
This peculiar spider was hanging on my backdoor frame so I captured it. What kind of spider is this and is it poisonous?
Signature: LL

Pumpkin Spider

Pumpkin Spider

Dear LL,
Your image and identification request  of a Pumpkin Spider,
Araneus marmoreus, is perfectly timed for a Halloween posting.  This bright orange color variation is one possibility for the highly variable Marbled Orbweaver and the orange coloration, that is usually evident in the fall during pumpkin season is the reason it is sometimes called a Pumpkin Spider.  Like most other spiders, the Pumpkin Spider has venom, but it is not considered dangerous to humans and they rarely bite.  The entire family of Orbweavers that includes the Pumpkin Spider is considered harmless.

Jessica M. Schemm, Jen Smith, Linda Singleton, Anne Purney-Chorley, Ito Fernando, Bonnie Cunningham, Crystal Alger, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Alfonso Moreno, Kathleen Travis Perin liked this post

Subject: Monarch Migration
Location: Coryell County, Texas
October 28, 2014 9:48 pm
Hello, this isn’t a usual inquiry in that I’m quite sure that these are Monarch Butterflies.
I’ve never been able to photograph one before, but today they were all over the yard. I’ve often seen them fly past our yard, usually quite high above the ground during migration times, but today many stopped to drink from our newly-watered lawn. It was incredible.
I haven’t seen so many Monarchs since I was six years old, in Illinois, and clouds of Monarchs dashed south ahead of a severe cold front.
So beautiful!
Here is a link to recent “clouds” of Monarchs in the news: http://goodnature.nathab.com/are-they-clouds-of-monarchs-mysterious-unidentifiable-blobs-spotted-by-radar-over-the-midwest/
Thank you and best wishes.
Signature: Ellen

Monarch

Monarch

Hi Ellen,

There has been much talk lately of diminishing populations of Monarch butterflies, and this year we observed many more Monarchs in our garden than we have ever seen in Los Angeles.  It seems populations might be increasing across the country.  Thanks for this newsworthy posting.  It must have been a spectacular sight.  We took a bit of creative license with our most recent Bug of the Month posting of a pair of mating Wheel Bugs by designating their month as Halloween, which frees us up for a November Bug of the Month, and your submission is an excellent choice.

Monarch

Monarch

Subject: Monarch Migration, Part 2
Location: Coryell County, Texas
October 30, 2014 2:04 pm
Hello, and thank you so much for your reply.
I’m sending another few photos of the Monarchs in our yard, and an additional link to the Fall of 2014 migration news. This link adds up-to-date migration news and photos as they are reported. The great news is that observers are currently seeing a large migration.
Sending highest regards.
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/News.html
Signature: Ellen

Male Monarch

Male Monarch

Hi again Ellen,
The image of the male Monarch in flight (notice those scent patches on his lower wings) is a nice addition to the images you sent earlier.  Thanks for the additional link.

Jacob Helton liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beetle w/ yellow horizontal stripes

Location: Little Rock, AR US
October 29, 2014 8:45 am
I cut down a small dead tree in our yard the other day and these little beetles were everywhere. they’d swarm together in groups and make their way up and down the tree after i disturbed them.
Signature: Tim

Tree Cattle

Tree Cattle

Dear Tim,
These are not beetles.  They are benign, immature Bark Lice, commonly called Tree Cattle.  They are often associated with dead and dying trees because they feed on lichens and fungus, but they do not harm living trees.
  Mature Bark Lice have black wings that cover the striped bodies.

Tree Cattle

Tree Cattle

Daniel,
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.
I left the critters alone.  Wasn’t sure if they were the cause of the problem or not, but it’s nice to know they weren’t.
It was interesting, watching them scurrying around on the tree in large, but  separate groups.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question and help in identifying them.
-=tim

Don’t Lose Your Head on Halloween
Subject: Wheel bugs mating
Location: Charlottesville VA
October 29, 2014 1:34 pm
Hi – my daughter found these two (very slowly) making their way across the sidewalk. I checked your site right away and was expecting to spend some time trying to narrow down what they could be. I was happy to find that this was one of the featured bugs on the front page of the website. Thank you for that! Not sure if you needed any more pictures of them mating, but here are a few my daughter took with my phone.
Signature: Hendersons

Mating Wheel Bugs

Mating Wheel Bugs

Dear Hendersons,
Your study of mating Wheel Bugs is a tangle of limbs that would make a novice bug watcher suspect a sighting of some prehistoric, mutated creature.  This is a Perfect Halloween Feature, so we are making it the Bug of the Month for November 2014 and posting it early.  We wish you had a camera angle that could distinguish actual mating with mere coupling.

Mating Wheel Bugs

Mating Wheel Bugs

That’s terrific! My daughter will be ecstatic. Here’s another picture, but I’m not sure it gives you anything more to see. We were afraid to get too close, not knowing anything about them!
Thank you so much for your response. There will be a happy kid here after school today when she hears about the Bug of the Month.
Take care and keep up the good work!
Jennifer Henderson

Hi Jennifer,
We try to keep a kid friendly site, though we do write for adults.  We like making kids happy.

Scott Henderson liked this post

Subject: Daniel, Mating Marine Blue Butterflies
Location: Hawthorne, California
October 28, 2014 6:02 pm
Hi Daniel,
Hope all is going well with you and yours this fall. I haven’t been able to be out in the back much until now and imagine my surprise when this pair of mating Marine Blues stayed still long enough for me to drag the camera out . Marty wanted to tear out the pincushion plants a few weeks ago, but I asked him to hold on as they are close to some milkweed and we may yet have some Monarch chryalids (sp?). Anyways, I thought you might like to see that our Marine Blues are alive and well! I know they’re common, but I enjoy them nontheless.
Signature: Anna Carreon

Mating Marine Blues

Mating Marine Blues

Hi Anna,
Your image of Marine Blues mating is quite lovely.  Thanks for taking the time to drag out the camera.  Though they are common, they are quite cheerful flitting around the garden.

Your correction is duly noted.  Drag out the camera rather than drag the camera out.  My mother will be mortified to find I made such a horrid mistake. . .

Our own grammar is not the best.  Grammar check is constantly warning us of passive voice.