Subject: Lime Hawkmoth
Location: Southwestern PA
July 15, 2014 7:39 pm
I believe I have found a lime hawkmoth. I have the specim if it is an actual hawkmoth. I seen in one of the forums that no one has caught one yet. I have a live one and I’m not sure what to do about it.
Signature: C. Kessler

Pandorus Sphinx

Pandorus Sphinx

Dear C. Kessler,
You have misidentified your moth.  This is not a Lime Hawkmoth which is a European species, though we did receive one report of a sighting from Pennsylvania in 2009.
  Your moth is a North American species, the Pandorus Sphinx, Eumorpha pandorus.  The Sphingidae of the Americas site has additional information on the Pandorus Sphinx.  You should release the moth and let it live out its life by mating and reproducing.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?? Green Beetle
Location: Omaha, Nebraska near Missouri River
July 15, 2014 12:27 pm
Howdy there, found this gem at work, it was dead when I found it. It has characteristics of other green beetles, but have not found a match. I live outside of Omaha, Nebraska today’s date is 07/15/14
Signature: Thank you for your time! Joe

Fiery Searcher

Fiery Searcher

Hi Joe,
This is a Caterpillar Hunter known as a Fiery Searcher, and both adults and larvae are important predators that control the numbers of caterpillars.
  We received an account earlier this year of large numbers of Fiery Searchers in Missouri.

Subject: Insect from the south of France
Location: South of France, up a mountain, near Grimaud.
July 15, 2014 6:41 am
I came across this funny looking fellow, in the South of France, more specifically up a mountain near Cogolin, Grimaud and St. Tropez. This was two weeks ago, in the start of July.
It must have been around 8 cm long.
It had a slow and secure style of crawling. The thing that threw me off, is this very long and dangerous looking broth it has at the back.
Can you help me identify it?
Signature: Maria Olsson, Denmark

Saddlebacked Bush Cricket

Saddle-back Bush Cricket

Dear Maria,
This is a Saddle-Back Bush Cricket in the genus
Ephippiger, and according to Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki:  “Normally this species is green, but at higher elevations you often find dark-colored forms of this (and other Ephippiger) species.”  Though we are uncertain what you mean by “broth”, we understand you are referring to what appears to be a stinger.  This is actually an ovipositor, the organ used by the female to lay eggs and it will not harm humans.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Alligator Lizards
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 5, 2014 & July 12, 2014
While these are not the largest Alligator Lizards we have seen, the two individuals were between 10 and 12 inches long.  The first individual was repelling down the logs and the second larger individual was sunning in the late afternoon rays.

Alligator Lizard

Alligator Lizard

Alligator Lizard

Alligator Lizard

 

Subject:  Swarming Dragonflies
Location:  Corralitas Red Car Property, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California
July 15, 2014 11:03 AM
This morning on our walk of the Corralitas Red Car Property with Diane, we also saw several California Harvester Ant nests, including this very active site.  California Harvester Ants are indicator species which is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as being an:  “organism—often a microorganism or a plant—that serves as a measure of the environmental conditions that exist in a given locale.”  The disappearance of California Harvester Ants in Los Angeles is directly related to the loss of open space due to overdevelopment, and as the California Harvester Ant is a primary source of food for Horned Lizards, they have also vanished from our local ecosystems.

California Harvester Ant Nest

California Harvester Ant Nest

California Harvester Ant Nest

California Harvester Ant Nest

Subject:  Swarming Dragonflies
Location:  Corralitas Red Car Property, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California
July 15, 2014 10:30 AM
This morning we accepted an invitation to walk the Corralitas Red Car Property with community activist Diane Edwardson and we evaluated the merits of preserving the site as open space.  A large Tarantula Hawk was flying about lazily and then we saw some of the California Harvester Ants that Diane observed swarming about a month ago, but the real treat was seeing a large swarm of Dragonflies circling an endangered California Walnut Tree.  They did not appear to be feeding or mating, and there were at least 50 large Dragonflies in a small bit of air space.   Though we could not get a clear image of a static individual, the large size and overall green coloration has led us to speculate that the Dragonflies are Green Darners.

Swarming Green Darners

Swarming Green Darners

In researching this behavior we learned that the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences states:  “ Dragonflies swarm for two reasons.  Dragonflies are predators so if there is abundant food in the area, i.e. lots of small flying insects such as mosquitoes or other flies, a swarm may form in the same area.  In these static swarms, the dragonflies fly back and forth over a specific, well-defined area, eating the small flying insects within that space.  Dragonflies also migrate, so you might see large groups of them flying together in a single direction, either to escape poor local conditions (dry, very hot) or to seek warmer regions in the fall.  Migratory swarms can contain several million dragonflies and travel thousands of miles!”  Though we did not observe any prey, we can only presume that smaller swarming insects were providing food for this magnificent aerial display.  More information on swarming Dragonflies can be found on BayNature.

Swarming Green Darners

Swarming Green Darners