Large Fly
Location:  Death Valley, California
August 27, 2010 4:33 am
We encountered some large – about 20cm long – flies in death valley, california whilst on holiday there. We were walking along a trail next to a dry creek. The flies were black and light grey and one landed on my back and penetrated my shirt so that I felt a pinch. Just curious as to what they are.

Western Horse Fly

Hi Andy,
You may compare your image of a Western Horse Fly,
Tabanus punctifer, to images posted to BugGuide, but there is no information on the specifics of the species.  You may, however, read about Horse Flies in general on the genus page of BugGuide.  Only the female Horse Flies bite and suck blood from warm blooded animals.  Charles Hogue, in his excellent book Insects of the Los Angeles Basis, writes extensively about the Western Horse Fly.  He observes:  “The adults are large robust flies nearly 3/4 inch (20mm) in body length.  The male possesses very large eyes, which meet on the midline of the head, making it appear to be nearly all eye;  the back of the thorax is black except for a fringe of white hairs along the side and rear borders.  The female differs in that the eyes are separated and the back of the thorax is all white or pale cream.”  Your photo is that of a female, hence the bite through your shirt.  The larvae of the Western Horse Fly develop in water, so even though your email indicates this sighting was in Death Valley, we suspect it may have been close to either Salt Creek or Devil’s Hole.  Hogue has additional information:  “Because they possess a voraious appetite for the blood of horses and cattle, the female flies may be extremely bothersome, especially when numerous.  They have been observed biting rhinoceroses, tapirs, and hippopotamuses at the Los Angeles Zoo.  They occasionally bite humans, with painful results.  Natural saccharine fluids, such as fruit juices and nectar from flowers nourish the nonbiting males and also serve as a diet supplement for the females.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Nessus Sphinx in Oklahoma?
Location:  Seminole, Oklahoma
August 25, 2010 9:12 pm
Ever since finding your site, I have been amazed by the pictures of the sphinx moths. I thought it would be so cool to see one, and being a bug kid and never seeing one around, I figured they weren’t native to Oklahoma. I was waiting on my family to get ready to go out to dinner, and saw all these insects on my oak outside so I grabbed my camera. There were butterflies, roaches, flesh flies and tons of horse flies all feasting on the sap (I’m guessing) on the side of my oak. As I was taking photos, along comes what I believe to be a Nessus Sphinx! The picture is not good… but maybe you can confirm from it for me? It was awesome! Possibly a dream come true… Thanks so much!
Amy Goodman

Nessus Sphinx

Hi Amy
Even with the lack of image clarity, the markings on the Nessus Sphinx make the identification easy.  The Nessus Sphinx is native to Oklahoma, as are numerous other Sphinx Moths.  Bill Oehlke’s excellent website has a list of Oklahoma sightings.

Garden bug infestation
Location:  Southern California
August 25, 2010 11:02 pm
I recently discovered an infestation in my flower garden by an unknown critter. I was hoping you would be able to identify him and let me know if he is safe to have around pets. The bug has wings and is able to fly for short spurts, he does not appear to like water and retreats up the wall when the sprinklers come on. They do however reproduce quickly as the population exploded unannounced and they are the size of my smallest fingernail.

Painted Bug

Hi Nicole,
When the Painted Bug,
Bagrada hilaris, first appeared in our own Southern California garden last year, we quickly identified it as one of the most recent invasive exotic species to become established in California.  The African Painted Bug feeds on plants in the cabbage family, and it proliferated on our kale and collard greens.  In the wild, it will survive on black mustard which is found growing in open spaces throughout Southern California, so it would seem this potentially serious agricultural pest is here to stay.  See BugGuide for more information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Clover Leaf Weevil
Location:  Kendall County, Illinois
August 25, 2010 6:48 pm
I thought you might like these photos to add to your weevil collection. I believe it is the Clover Leaf Weevil. We live in N. Illinois, on a farm. My daughter found it in her room. It probably came in on her clothes.
Stacy C

Broad-Nosed Weevil

Hi Stacy,
There is not enough detail in your image for us to be able to say for certain what the species is, but we agree that this Weevil is in the subfamily that contains the Clover Weevil, the Broad-Nosed Weevils, Entiminae.  You can compare your specimen to the individuals posted to BugGuide.

beetle thing with long beak
Location:  Farmingdale, Long Island, New York
August 26, 2010 12:54 am
Dear Mr. Bugman,
I’ve been browsing your site and haven’t really found anything close to this little guy I found today. I work at an airport in New York, and I found him while I was pumping fuel into my fuel truck. It looks kinda like a beetle, but it has this really strange beak. The beak is thin and about the length of one of its legs. And it looks like it has two antennae (?) protruding from the beak. The insect itself is about a centimeter long, I would say. This is the strangest insect I’ve seen in a while. I really hope you get to this one because I really want to know what it is!

Acorn Weevil

Hi Trevor,
This interesting beetle is an Acorn Weevil in the genus
Curculio.  According to BugGuide:  “Female uses her long snout for boring into nuts/acorns, and deposits eggs there. Larvae feed inside the acorn/nut and emerges to pupate in the soil.

Luminescent Bug
Rochester, Minnesota
August 25, 2010 7:27 pm
Hi Bugman!
re Image 1: My brother found this in Minnesota and said that the luminscence was real and not an artifact of the photo. It looks familiar but I am stumped. Any clues?
re Image 2- My Nephew found this little guy and said he only saw 4 legs and that it looked like a moving piece of schmutz. Ideas? (Sorry about low-res).
DeWaine from Homer


Hi DeWaine,
We can identify your insect, but we have no comment on the alleged luminescence which is not a typical characteristic of the pictured insect.  The insect found by your brother is an Owlfly in the family Ascalaphidae.  Owlflies are Neuropterans that are related to Lacewings and Antlions.  They are, according to BugGuide:  “Bizarre creatures that look like a cross between a dragonfly and a butterfly. The body resembles that of other neuropterans, more-or-less, but the prominent antennae are clubbed like those of butterflies.
”  Owlflies are not capable of emitting light, so the luminescence is a mystery that we are not equipped to solve.  The other insect is a Masked Hunter.