Inadvertent Carnage
February 22, 2010
Hi, WTB,
I’ve been enjoying getting acquainted with your site over the past few days.  Thanks to “kkroeker” and to Eric Eaton for the ID of the Humphrey’s Grasshoppers.
Here’s a sad photo of totally innocent, inadvertent carnage.  I had spent a little bit of time one morning in a small meadow where I usually find something to shoot, and where I am always looking for walking sticks because of past success in finding them there (Southern Arizona, foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains, about 4,400 ft, mid-September).
After returning home and a quick change of clothes, I was getting back into my car when I was shocked and saddened to see this poor specimen on my car seat.  Apparently, he had hitched a ride on the back of my pants and suffered the 30 minute ride home under a couple hundred pounds of oblivion.
The poor thing was not quite finished, but all the kings horses and all the kings men …
I had pretty much forgotten about the incident until a few days later when I was washing the white canvas pants that I had been wearing that morning and found a fairly detailed, shroud-of-Turin-like stain below the left rear pocket.
This was an arthropod whose life ended prematurely.
Denny Schreffler

Walkingstick crushed during a car ride

Hi again Denny,
Thanks so much for sharing this poignant tragedy.  It reminds us of a letter we received several years ago from a person who inadvertently stepped on a pair of mating Oil Beetles.  We believe this might be Diapheromera covilleae, the Creosote Bush Walkingstick or Greasewood Walkingstick based on images posted to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

spiny caterpillar
February 22, 2010
found this caterpillar on milkweed last summer in northern illinois forest preserve. Can you please identify it
Illinois, USA

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars

Dear renu,
These are Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars, Euchaetes egle.  You may find more information on BugGuide.

Io Moth(?) emerged from cocoon
February 22, 2010
Hi there! I’ve been using your site for a long while now and love the troves of information available here (I use most of my free-time at school reading the posts here) and figured it’s high time I made a contribution. I’m a big bug fan and always keep a sharp eye out for interesting specimens; that said I have a photo and story that I hope might be of some use to your site.
Today at school (22nd of February, 9:00am) I noticed a fuzzy orange critter hanging out on the trunk of an oak tree. Upon closer inspection I believed it to be an Io Moth newly emerged from its cocoon (seeing as the wings had yet to unfurl) [1].
I gently coaxed the creature onto my hand and led it to a tree in a much less high-traffic area for its safety and snapped a photo on my phone (excuse the quality) before releasing it.
I returned to the critter after class (around 10:30am) to find the wings have begun stretching out [2].
I snapped another picture and continued on my way.
After school I checked back on it around 2:40pm to find the wings much more stretched out and the critter still hanging about on the same tree [3].
After the Robotics Club dispersed I took one final check at the tree to find the bright yellow eye-spots glaring at me, I payed my final respects to the fluffy moth and snapped a final pic [4] before it flew away to avoid the incoming rain.
I am unfortunate to live far from any decent wooded areas, so finds like this tend to be scarce and my hunt for the elusive Luna Moth has proved fruitless thus far. Hopefully with the arrival of spring many new insects will cross my path. ^_^
Carl B. – Aspiring Entomologist
Clermont, Florida

Io Moth Metamorphosis

Hi Carl,
Thanks for your kind words, your wonderful story, and your important photos documenting the final stages in the metamorphosis of a female Io Moth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large brown and white spider and cocoon in the making
February 22, 2010
Hi- we found this spider near a boardwalk in Corkscrew Swamp, in or around Collier County, FL in mid-October. It was too far away to see clearly without the camera, but it seems in the picture to be “furry.” When it was scrunched up it was about the size of a half – dollar. The other picture was in the same place on the same trip. It was right on the edge of the swamp surrounded by a myriad of cypress trees. There were tons of these cocoons all over, and the leaves they were on were practically stripped (by the caterpillars, I’m guessing). I.D. would be appreciated!
Collier County, FL

Six Spotted Fishing Spider

Hi Sammy,
Crazy:  the letter and photo we just posted also came from the Corkscrew Swamp.  Your spider is a Nursery Web Spider, Pisaurina Mira.  The female is a hunting spider that is related to the Fishing Spiders, and she constructs a web in the branches for a Nursery.  BugGuide has photos and information on this beautiful spider.  We will address your other image in a separate posting.

Correction thanks to Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
The “nursery web spider” from “Sammy” in Collier County, Florida, dated Feb. 22, is actually the six-spotted fishing spider, Dolomedes triton, in one of its various color forms.

large green caterpillar
February 22, 2010
We found this caterpillar at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida in January.
I could not find it in any of their guides at the nature center, and have not been able to find it on-line
Daniel J. Marquis

Giant Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Daniel,
We believe this is a Giant Sphinx Caterpillar, Cocytius antaeus, based on a photo on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.  According to the website:  “Mature caterpillars are large ( 20.81 g) and have a horn at the rear end. In the last instars, larvae are uniform green with a dark purple center back line and a very sharp white posterior side slash with some dark green on both sides of it.  Larva feed on Custard apple (Annona glabra) and on Annona reticulata, Annona purpurea, Annona holosericea, and Rollinia membranacea, of the Annonaceae family.
”  We are going to copy Bill on our reply to you because he is keeping comprehensive data on species sightings, and he may also request permission to post your lovely photo to his website.

Thanks for the quick reply.
I’m giving a slide show presentation next monday on Florida birding ( which will include much more than just birds ). It will be good to put a name to this beauty.

Bill Oehlke confirms identification
Thanks Daniel,
Here is email I just sent to Daniel Marquis
Hi Daniel,
Daniel Marlos of What’s That Bug directed me to your image of a Cocytius antaeus larvae. The identification is correct.
Here is a webpage that might be helpful for your presentation and also for future determinations
If you can send me a larger picture of the caterpillar, I would like to post it to a webpage I will create for Collier County Sphingidae larvae.
The image would be credited to you, Daniel Marquis?
Bill Oehlke

Common name of wasp moth
February 22, 2010
Hi Daniel,
Here are two photos of the wasp moth Horama pretus, photographed in my room on Necker Is., BVI on Dec. 26, 2009. Is there a common name for this moth?
Donald Gudehus
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

Wasp Moth: Horama pretus

Hi Donald,
Common names are not really regulated, and one insect might have numerous common names, and the same common name might also be used for numerous insects.  To the best of our knowledge, Horama pretus does not have a common name other than the general Wasp Moth one.  Despite not being able to provide you with a common name, we are thrilled to have your photos of this lovely Arctiid.  We may try to contact Julian Donahue, an expert in the Arctiidae, to find out if he is aware of a common name.

Wasp Moth: Horama pretus