Subject: Unidentified Moths
Location: South Wales, UK
July 6, 2014 1:39 pm
Hi, I have found these two moths on the wall of my house in the last 3 days, and have never seen anything like them before. Can you help me identify them as I cant find them on the internet or in a book on British wildlife I have?
Thank you
Signature: Nick Jones

Poplar Hawkmoth

Poplar Hawkmoth

Hi Nick,
Both of your moths are Sphinx Moths or Hawkmoths in the family Sphingidae, but they represent different species.  Sphinx Moths is the more frequently used common name in North America while in the UK, Hawkmoth is the preferred name.  Moths in the family Sphingidae are characterized by their long, narrow forwings and by powerful flight.  The lighter of the two moths is the Poplar Hawkmoth,
Laothoe populi, and you can find more information on the UK Moths site where it states:  “Probably the commonest of our hawk-moths, it has a strange attitude when at rest, with the hindwings held forward of the forewings, and the abdomen curved upwards at the rear. If disturbed it can flash the hindwings, which have a contrasting rufous patch, normally hidden.”  The other individual is an Eyed Hawkmoth, Smerinthus ocellata, and it is also represented on the UK Moths site where it states:  “Fairly well distributed throughout England and Wales, this species has a sombre, camouflaged appearance at rest, but if provoked, flashes the hindwings, which are decorated with intense blue and black ‘eyes’ on a pinkish background.”  Though we have numerous examples of the Poplar Hawkmoth on our site, your Eyed Hawkmoth represents a new species for our archives.  There are many species of moths that have more brightly colored underwings which are used to startle or otherwise fool predators through some combination of camouflage and mimicry.

Eyed Hawkmoth

Eyed Hawkmoth

Thanks for the prompt reply Daniel – this is really interesting.
Although I’ve seen plenty of other moth species over the years (I’m 52 years old) I’ve never seen these types – even stranger that I spotted them on 2 different days. Is this because at this time of year they hatch?
Many Thanks
Nick

Hello Nick,
Hawkmoths are relatively long lived in the moth world, and adults feed from nectar producing flowers, hence Hawkmoths are present when blooms are present, and in the UK, that tends to be spring and summer, which coincides with your sightings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Soldier Fly–Hedriodiscus Varipes
Location: Wilderness State Park, Michigan
July 5, 2014 7:25 pm
Hello! Sorry I’ve missed a couple of days; I’ve been busy doing research. I’m sure y’all are busy as well! Today, I’ve brought you a soldier fly which I think I’ve got pinned down as Hedriodiscus varipes. The pattern on the head is pretty distinct for this species compared to other Hedriodiscuses–but what really confirms it for me is that Bugguide only has one picture of this species, taken back in 2007, in Wilderness State Park in Michigan… which is exactly where I found my specimen. (Bugguide does note that the species are hard to distinguish, but the genus is right, anyway.) It was very interested in these flowers, avidly dabbing at them with its tongue. This is a very large fly–the size of a horse fly, easily.
Signature: Helen

Soldier Fly:  Hedriodiscus varipes

Soldier Fly: Hedriodiscus varipes

Dear Helen,
This fly is positively gorgeous, both in color and in markings, and we are quite certain its impressive size added to its beauty.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are aquatic” so they are most likely always found near a habitable water source.

Soldier Fly:  Hedriodiscus varipes

Soldier Fly: Hedriodiscus varipes

Subject: Unknown Fly
Location: Great Salt Lake, Utah
July 5, 2014 3:22 pm
While on vacation, I stopped at the Great Salt Lake in Utah. On the shores of the lake, there was these flies that were about 1 1/2 inches in length and were large enough to cast a shadow as they were flying. I am somewhat familiar with insects but I haven’t seen any like these before.
Signature: Brandon

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dear Brandon,
This is a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, and we will attempt a more specific identification later today.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Shiny Black burrowing beetle
Location: Santa Fe, NM
July 5, 2014 10:06 am
Greetings! Love your site. Recently found a beetle in Santa Fe, NM, about 1″ long, and not a Patent Leather Beetle (Jerusalem, Bess, etc. Has ~no~ obvious separation betwixt thorax and abdomen, and no central thoracic line/division. Otherwise, similar, shiny darkest brown, nearly black, but somewhat reddish on the legs (in bright light). Small, clubbed antennae, low & parallel to face. Small curl to right of its face is actually its front foot, antenna better seen on the left.
Signature: Kento in Santa Fe

Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle

Dear Kento,
This is one of the Dung Beetles, but we are not sure if it is an Earth Boring Dung Beetle in the genus
Geotropes which is represented on BugGuide or a member of the subfamily Scarabaeinae also represented on BugGuide.

Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle

Subject: Obtuse Euchlaena Moth
Location: Mancelona, MI
July 5, 2014 7:46 pm
Here’s another neat moth from Michigan! Judging by pictures on Bugguide there’s a fair amount of variation in color and fine details of shape in the wings of individual Obtuse Euchlaenas (Euchlaena obtusaria). The general idea–serrated hindwings, pointing forewings, brownish coloration–remains the same. Wingspan, about 27-48 mm, Bugguide says. Evidently they like forests. This one was drawn to a lamppost on July 3rd.
Signature: Helen

Obtuse Euchlaena

Obtuse Euchlaena

Hi Helen,
Thanks for submitting this subtly marked Geometrid Moth that you have identified as an Obtuse Euchlaena.  We are linking to the BugGuide information page on the species.

Subject: Western tiger swallowtail caterpillar?
Location: Santa fe nm
July 5, 2014 9:05 pm
Found this super handsome caterpillar in our yard! He looks pretty close to finding a place for his transition
Signature: Sjhizny

Swallowtail Caterpillar near to pupation

Swallowtail Caterpillar near to pupation

Dear Sjhizny,
There are several butterflies similar looking to the Western Tiger Swallowtail that also have similar looking caterpillars, so your location is helpful in narrowing the possibilities.  According to BugGuide, species other than the Western Tiger Swallowtail,
Papilio rutulus, which range in New Mexico include: the Two Tailed Swallowtail, Papilio multicaudatus, and possibly the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus, which is reported as far west as Texas and Colorado and possibly the Pale Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio eurymedon.  The coloration on this individual indicates it is approaching the time to transform into a chrysalis.  Your image is quite stunning.