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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mating Swallowtails
Location: New Cambria, Missouri
July 25, 2014 3:45 am
I took this photo yesterday of these two different (species?) of Swallowtails mating. Is this common? Can it result in viable offspring or a hybrid butterfly?
P.S. LOVE this website. It has been very informative.
Signature: Denise

Mating Tiger Swallowtails

Mating Tiger Swallowtails

Dear Denise,
The Tiger Swallowtails in your image are actually the same species.  The dark individual in the image is the female.  Though most female Tiger Swallowtails are yellow with black stripes, a small percentage of female Tiger Swallowtails are known as dark morphs, and even though the bold tiger striping is not evident, close inspection reveals a black on black striping pattern.  There are also examples of transitional coloration that fall between the light and dark morphs, and even more unusual are hermaphroditic gyandromorphs that contain traits of both sexes and which sometimes exhibit a combination of light male attributes and dark female attributes.  One final note, even without considering black morphs, Tiger Swallowtails are a sexually dimorphic species.  Female Tiger Swallowtails have blue dusting on the hindwings while male Tiger Swallowtails lack the blue coloration.  We are highlighting your posting on our scrolling feature bar. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: duson fly ?
Location: blakeslee ,pa
July 19, 2014 2:59 pm
Hi i live in northeastern pa . I found this bug outside of my work on the wall and was wondering what it was? Many people were freaking out over it because of the way it looked and its size. It was about 5 inches long . Never saw one before.
Signature: lordnikon

Male Dobsonfly

Male Dobsonfly

Dear lordnikon,
Though you have the spelling wrong, you are correct that this is a male Dobsonfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: assassin bug eating japanese beetle
Location: Hermann, Missouri
July 19, 2014 4:09 pm
stopped to close a gate and saw this. took about 30 pics in order to get one that was decent. sending in high rez. makes me really really happy that there are natural predators to the dang japanese beetles. not nearly enough of them, but still….
Signature: c. millard

Wheel Bug eats Japanese Beetle

Wheel Bug eats Japanese Beetle

Dear c. millard,
Thank you so much for sending in your excellent image of a Wheel Bug feeding on a Japanese Beetle, and we are certain it will warm the collective hearts of gardeners in the eastern portions of North America where the invasive, exotic Japanese Beetle feeds on hundreds of different ornamental garden plants and food crops.  According to our sources, Japanese Beetles were not a big problem in Ohio in 2014.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  This is not the first time Megarhyssa atrata has been featured as Bug of the Month.

Subject: Female Megarhyssa Atrata
Location: St Paul, MN
June 25, 2014 9:13 am
After finding your great web site I learned the name of the bug in my back yard. They were on a tree we were cutting down. Because it seemed to be laying eggs I decided to leave the stump for a while. Attached are some photos you may use. It is interesting to me that I have never noticed these before.
Signature: DS in MN

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!

Dear DS in MN,
Thank you for your most kind compliment.  The ovipositing female Giant Ichenumon or Stump Stabber, 
Megarhyssa atrata, is one of the most iconic North American insects and her image has been used to illustrate even really early entomological tomes as well as many popular insect books with broad appeal to popular culture.  Your images are stunning, especially the first one that depicts two individuals.  Just exactly what is going on in that image is most curious.  The tangle of bodies makes it appear that both females are trying to oviposit in the same location.  The female Giant Ichneumon is able to detect the location of the larva of a Wood Wasp that is feeding beneath the surface.  The larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail will serve as the prey of the larval Stump Stabber.   We have designated your submission as the Bug of the Month for July 2014.

Megarhyssa atrata ovipositing

Megarhyssa atrata ovipositing

A large Stump Stabber can have an ovipositor nearly five inches long, and one of your images captures the classic position of a female looping the organ as she drills beneath the bark to deposit her egg where the young will have a food source.

One, impressive organ:  five inch ovipositor

One, impressive organ: five inch ovipositor

Update:  June 26, 2014
Dear Daniel Marlos,
I just had to write one more time. The first set of photos I sent were of the first time I had seen a flying insect of its kind, today I went to see if they were still on the stump, I found a new type. See attached photos. The first photo is from my phone. The second and fourth photos capture an ant crawling -shows size a little better. I am excited to show these, I hope you can use them.
Thanks
Dan
P.S. There were ovipositing female Megarhyssa strata remains (wings and part of a tail) left on the stump! I guess a bird had a good snack.

Megarhyssa macrurus

Megarhyssa macrurus

Wow, what a wonderful addition to the Bug of the Month posting.  Your new Ichneumon is most likely Megarhyssa macrurus, and you can compare your images to those on BugGuide.  Your observation and speculation about the bird is a very good guess.  The female Giant Ichneumon is quite vulnerable while her ovipositor is buried deep in the wood, and she would not be able to easily fly away from a predator.  We have also heard of female Giant Ichneumons getting stuck and being unable to withdraw the ovipositor.

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: educational link request
June 19, 2014 5:54 pm
I am a middle school science teacher at St Francis Xavier Prep in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and I stumbled onto your website today while doing some research for a science book that I am putting together for my sixth grade students. The new trend  in schools is to get textbooks on iPads which I dislike intensely, however, I had one thrust upon me along with an Apple laptop which I also dislike intensely but that’s beside the point. The newest iPad version textbook I have used with my sixth graders is terrible. It was dumbed down so much I gave up and decided to write my own for my classroom use only. Although I can’t say I really love arthropods, I do love science and living things. From the browsing that I have done on your site, I think you enjoy what you do, as well. I like to get my students enthused about what they are learning even if it can be icky. Would you be interested in being a link in my classroom book for my students’ questions when we get to the arthropod section
? I have about 50 – 60 students in grade six. They may ask nothing or something depending on how motivated I can get them.
Signature: Jackie Battles

Dear Jackie,
We are flattered with our assessment of our site and we are also intrigued with your request.  We need to come clean and inform you that the most popular posting on our site continues to be What’s That Bug? will not do your child’s homework, but with that said, we would be honored to try to assist your students.  PLease have them include the name of your school, St Francis Xavier Prep, in the subject line if they write to us with a request and the best link is our Ask What’s That Bug? link if they have images.  They can try our Comments and Questions link if they have no images.  We will try to the best of our ability to direct them to the best postings on our site to answer their questions.

Thanks for your reply. I teach about the whole kingdom of life in the sixth grade so I don’t get to animals until late spring, but I download my book for my students in September so they would have access to the links that are included in it. As of right now, I don’t have any schoolwork questions where the children would have to need you  to help them with their homework  so don’t worry about cheating. Hopefully it  would be purely for curiosity and  fun. I do manage to get my students excited about things from bacteria to fungus to arthropods sometimes. If anyone in the building finds a “bug” it usually is trapped and then escorted by an entourage down to my room. (I’m not sure what they think I’m going to do with it, but nonetheless it is given to me.) So as you can see, the kids will find a bug and maybe ask you what it is instead of me and do some browsing on your site and learn something.
If you are nosey – the school website is sfxp.org.
Thanks,
Jackie Battles

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Update:  June 24, 2014
We’re back, and though we did not see any Luna Moths, we did see a nice Firefly display just prior to our return.  Please be patient with us while we catch up on the hundreds of requests we received in our absence.

June 13, 2014
Gentle Readers,
The editorial staff of What’s That Bug? will be out of the office until late June.  We will not be checking our email and we will not be answering any new identification requests until we return.  We know that our fans enjoy our daily updates, so in an attempt to provide you with new buggy postings, we have postdated inquiries to go live to our site daily in our absence.  Enjoy the transition from spring to summer and wish us luck in sighting an elusive Luna Moth while we are on holiday.

Luna Moth from our archives

Luna Moth from our archives

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination