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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Calosoma?
Location: Los Angeles
March 18, 2015 4:50 pm
Found the way! I posted on the blog few minutes ago.
Is the bug in the pictures a Calosoma?
I found them in my backyard in West Central Los Angeles.
Thank you!
Signature: Simona

Caterpillar Hunter

Caterpillar Hunter

Hi Simona,
We agree that this is a Caterpillar in the genus
Calosoma, probably Calosoma semilaeve, which we named Bug of the Month in May 2008 because of the sudden appearance of large numbers of the beetles in Southern California.  For several years, we have noticed increasing numbers of Whitelined Sphinx Moths and their caterpillars might also be getting more plentiful in the area, providing a food source for the Caterpillar Hunters and an increase in their populations as well.  These cyclical appearances are all part of nature dealing with bountiful food supplies, and then dearths of sightings when food is scarce.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: cockroach??
Location: new orleans LA
March 15, 2015 9:53 am
saw this at the entrance to a winn dixie grocery store today, lloks like a cockroach but no antenae?.. looked on LSU ag site cant find anything… ideas?
Signature: Aaron Robinson



Dear Aaron,
This Giant Water Bug is a Toe-Biter, an aquatic, predatory True Bug, not a Cockroach which is an opportunistic scavenger, or at least the few species of Cockroaches that infest human homes are opportunistic scavengers.  Also known as Electric Light Bugs because they are often attracted to the bright lights of sporting events, especially those located near swamps, ponds and other fresh water bodies of water, Toe-Biters earned their more colorful common name because they frequently bite the toes of waders in natural bodies of water.  Though aquatic, Toe-Biters are powerful fliers as well, enabling them to fly to a new habitat if their pond dries out.  Larger relatives are eaten in Thailand.  Toe-Biters are one of our most common identification requests.

Fantastic quick response very grateful for that… Ive been in NOLA for 10 years and I thought I have seen most everything haha… very informative I appreciate your time…. is it odd to see them away from water especially in front of a grocery store?.. one last… are they dangerous if bitten.
thanks again for your time !!
Aaron R

Allegedly painful, but not dangerous, though people are allergic to most things these days.


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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Migrating Painted Ladies
Location: Elyria Canyon Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
February 14, 2015 10:00 AM
Though we have received many images recently from our readers, we made a decision to select our Bug of the Month for March 2015 from our own images because of the significant seasonal migration of Painted Ladies this year.  According to Julian Donahue, the Painted Ladies are: “particularly active on the wing now, and most appear to be migrating, pausing to nectar on their way farther north.” The Painted Lady,
Vanessa cardui, is a medium sized orange butterfly with a mottled wing pattern and distinctive “eye spots” on the underwings. Painted Ladies were seen taking nectar from the pictured Mule Fat or Baccharis salicifolia, Coastal Bush Sunflower and Manroot. Caterpillars feed on both native and non-native leaves, and the Arroyo Lupine, that is currently blooming, is one native host plant.

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Green moth
Location: Gilroy CA: Watsonville Road near Uvas Creek
January 17, 2015 3:11 pm
I rescued this green moth from our cat last night. I’ve never seen one like it. It was around 10 PM, high scattered clouds, and about 65° out.  My cat was chasing the green moth, which I was able to catch and release. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Signature:  Bob

Pacific Green Sphinx

Pacific Green Sphinx

Dear Bob,
This gorgeous moth is a Pacific Green Sphinx or Bear Sphinx,
 Proserpinus lucidus.  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas:  “adults fly as a single brood from late January to March and nectar at flowers. Moths can be spotted much earlier (mid December) in more southerly locations (San Diego, California; Mexico) when weather conditions are right. ”   Because you were kind enough to rescue this Pacific Green Sphinx from your cat, who we imagine was a bit miffed and missing out on a thrilling toy, we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Pacific Green Sphinx

Pacific Green Sphinx

Hi Daniel,
Thanks—that was quick!  I just made a $25 donation to <> to show my appreciation.
Keep up the good work.
Bob Crane

Thanks so much for your generosity Bob.

You’re sure welcome.  I saw that you have a book published with some great reviews, so I ordered 2, one for my grandkids and one for me.  Quite a price range, from about $7 to $80!
Thanks to the Internet it was pretty easy to have my moth identified.  I took entomology in college, but I can’t imagine identifying the moth like we did in the olden days, trudging to the library, looking at numerous books, taking pictures, having the film developed….

Hi again Bob,
You are correct that I did write The Curious World of Bugs, and though it was well reviewed, it did not become a best seller, hence there was but a single printing.  I guess the high price means it is becoming collectable.  Perhaps there will be a second printing if there is a demand.  Digital imaging and cellular telephones that have the capablity of taking images and distributing images on the internet has changed the face of research.

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Subject: Unknown Spider
Location: Malawi, Africa
December 25, 2014 10:52 pm
I live in Malawi, Africa. Recently I have moved to a more rural part of the country than what I have been previously acquainted with. There are many unknown bugs to me here. Although I do not have a particular fondness of these creatures, my curiosity has got the better of me. Attached is a picture of a large spider. I believe it is typically nocturnal. It moves very fast and has dangerous fangs. The largest one I know of was three inches. The people here do not have a name for it in English, in the native tongue it is called “Chichotsa Mfumu”. Which being translated means, “The Thing That Drives the Chief From His Chair”. Like I said earlier, I am curious and would like to know if it has an English name.
Thank you for your time,
Signature: Sarah – Malawi, Africa

Solifugid:  The Thing that Drives the Chief from His Chair

Solifugid: The Thing that Drives the Chief from His Chair

Dear Sarah,
We love your exotic letter with its colorful, local vocabulary.  This Arachnid is a Solifugid in order Solifugae, and though the members are commonly called Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions in North America, they are neither spiders nor scorpions with which they are classed in Arachnida.  In the Middle East they are called Camel Spiders and there is much internet hysteria surrounding their alleged traits.  Solifugids, including your local Things that Drive the Chief from His Chair, are formidable predators, and though they lack venom, we would not welcome a bite from a large individual.  We are featuring your submission and dubbing it our favorite end of the year posting.

Thank you for your prompt reply and for your assistance in helping me identify this creature. I am so pleased with your services I may call on them again. Thank you very much.
Sarah Sjoblom

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Subject: New Logo
August 5, 2014 10:06 pm
I am a graphic designer trying to build up a portfolio. I’ve been enjoying your site for years; you even once posted a pic of a Luna moth I took. I’d like to offer my services free of charge, to make a new header graphic for your site. If you’d be interested, please let me know!
Signature: Elizabeth Goldberg

Bugman Daniel Marlos on What's That Bug? quilt

Bugman Daniel Marlos on What’s That Bug? quilt

Thanks for the offer Elizabeth, but the scrawly What’s That Bug? logo is actually derived from the embroidered name on a quilt made by Daniel, and it has sentimental value.  If we have a chance, we will take an image of that embroidered design to post.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination