Imperial Moth Caterpillar
Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 5:39 PM
The rangers at the tool shed at the Crater of Diamonds in southern Arkansas had captured this caterpillar and were asking everyone if they knew what it was.
I didn’t know, but I knew where to find out.
I hope this image is better than the one you have, but nevertheless I turned them all on to your incredible site. Pic taken near the first of October.
Mike Green
Southern Arkansas

Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Thanks Mike,
We don’t like to consider one image better than another, just different.

Same Individual, Different Submission???
Large caterpillar found at park
Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 12:57 PM
Large caterpillar found at park
I work at a state park in southwest Arkansas and recently had a visitor bring in a very large caterpillar (about four inches long) he had found while exploring. Several people took photos of the beautiful specimen, and many offered guesses as to what it could be. As my particular park is more geologically-focused, I regret to say I was not able to accurately identify the caterpillar for its finder. It was very lively, walking across our table, and had powerful legs and mandibles. I released the caterpillar onto a sweetgum tree on the park premises. I have browsed through numerous photos, hoping to find exactly what type it may be. The closest I have come is a luna moth caterpillar, but none of the photographs I have seen depict exactly the same features as this caterpillar. Can you help out?
Waymon
southwest Arkansas

Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Hi Wayman,
We have a sneaky suspicion that your co-worker Mike submitted an image of the same Imperial Moth Caterpillar.  In the spirit of equity, we are posting both of your photos.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpillar
Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 6:21 PM
Dear Bugman,
Today, I found this caterpillar on my driveway underneath a Hickory tree. It is about 1 1/2 inches long, light brown, purple dots and two, yellow, “eye-like” dots on its body behind its head. When I carefully picked it up, I must have startled it and a strange yellow, forked tongue(?) came to its defense along with a strange odor. I’ve seen many insect defense mechanisms but none quite like this. Anyway, I live in Sussex County, New Jersey (northwest) and have never seen a caterpillar like this. Looking at your photos it appears to be a swallowtail of some type. Can you identify for sure? Thanks!
Tina Newfield
Northwest NJ, Sussex County

Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Tina,
This is most likely an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, but you are also within the range of the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail.  This typically green caterpillar changes color to brown or occasionally orange just before pupation.  The scent gland you mentioned is characteristic of the swallowtails and is known as the osmetrium.

Please Identify this Spider
Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 9:47 PM
I live in upstate NY just outside of Albany. One night I walked out my back door and found this spider crawling slowly towards me across my concrete patio. He was bout an inch maybe a little larger. I have never seen such a colorful spider in upsate NY. Could you please help me identify it
Fryman
Albany, NY

Shamrock Orbweaver

Shamrock Orbweaver

Hi Fryman,
We have posted several Orbweaver images over the past week, and each time we talk about the difficulty of exact species identification and the variability within species.  That said, we believe you have a Shamrock Orbweaver, Araneus trifolium and there is a close visual match posted on BugGuide.  Your specimen is a female.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I found cocoon-like brown hard masses on the front side of a leaf.What are they???
Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 6:13 PM
I was sweeping off the porch at the campground that I stayed at during the summer/fall.We had a big wind storm come thru and there were a bunch of leaves on the porch.On a lot of the leaves,I noticed these little hard brown cocoon-like circles on the front side of a leaf.I was thinking that cocoons were laid on the under part of the leaf,and that they were soft to touch,but these are hard and round.So I decided to cut one open and inside are these tiny red-orange color worm-like things inside.They moved a little bit,so I just thought that they were a worm of some kind.I’ve looked all over the internet and came up with nothing.Finally I posted my question and someone told me to contact you.I have pictures of the “cocoons” and the “worms” inside.The worms are very small and hard to see on the picture.Please help me identify w hat I’ve found!
Curious Nature Lover
Shreve,Ohio

Oak Leaf Galls

Oak Leaf Galls

Dear Curious,
Galls are growths on plants that may be caused by insects, mites, bacteria or fungus.  The Galls may occur on the leaves, stems, roots or flowers of the plants.  Most often, the Galls are plant specific.  We located a drawing in a very old copy of a text by Frank E. Lutz that we own.  The drawing is of a Oak Leaf Gall known as Dryophanta polita.  Since the text is a field guide, there was no additional information beyond the identification.  When we tried a web search of that name, be were led to several online texts that we could not access entirely.  One such text is Insects Affecting Park and Woodland Trees and the google teaser is “Oak leaf bullet gall Dryophanta polita Bass. A small, globular gall occurs in
numbers in August … ”  Another reference led to the common name Polished Oak Gall.  At this point, we can only speculate that Dryophanta polita is a Gall Wasp in the family Cynipidae, but curiously, it is not listed in BugGuide’s taxonomy for the family.  Another interesting side note is that Alfred Kinsey, most widely known for his studies of human sexuality and his best selling books in the 1950s, was first and foremost an entomologist who specialized in Gall Wasps.

Dissected Oak Leaf Galls

Dissected Oak Leaf Galls

October 8, 2008
We awoke early this morning to take out the garbage and noticed the numerous Painted Arachnis Moths on the screen door. The Santa Ana winds are blowing and moths get quite plentiful when that happens. Something flew from the door as we opened it and our first thought was that it was an Angular Winged Katydid. Imagine our shocked surprise to find this wonderful California Mantis, Stagmomantis californica, perched on the porch light. In the 13 1/2 years we have lived in Mt Washington, this is a first for our yard. We have seen occasional Mantids in the vicinity, and at work, but never in the yard. According to Charles Hogue in his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin: “The species prefers an arboreal habitat and is primarily found on shrubs of the Coastal Sage plant community. Males are often attracted to lights.” We rushed to get the camera to document this garden first for us.

California Mantis

California Mantis

Daniel:
Yes, you have there a male mantis of the genus Stagmomantis. Males are much smaller than females. You probably were remembering the big Chinese mantids or European mantids from back in Ohio; both are introduced (non-native) species.
Eric Eaton

Update: October 9, 2008
Eric reminded us that we never mentioned that our little male California Mantis is only about two inches long. He was still on the porch light when we returned from work after sunset last evening, and he remains in place this morning. Curiously, our good friend Helene who lives in nearby Glassell Park emailed us about the mantis that appeared on her porch the same day ours appeared. She promises to send a photo today.

Unidentified Caterpillars
Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 9:26 PM
Hi! I found this first caterpillar in Cap-aux-Os, on September 4th, during a trip in the region of Gaspésie (Eastern Québec, Canada). Back home, I was surprised to find a very simillar caterpillar, 20 days later, this time in Sainte-Émélie-de-l’Énergie (an hour north of Montreal). I am sending pictures of both caterpillars. I hope you can help me identify them. Thank you!
Béatrice
Québec (Canada)

Fingered Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Fingered Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Hi Beatrice,
Both of your caterpillars look like Fingered Dagger Moth Caterpillars, Acronicta dactylina, also called the Alder Dagger Moth Caterpillar. According to BugGuide, the species is “uncommon but widely distributed” and describes the caterpillar as: “Larva: body covered with stiff orange or brown hair dorsally, and pale yellowish or white hair laterally, with several much longer black hairs and white hairs concentrated near the front and back (may also have three dense dorsal tufts of long black hair on abdominal segments 1, 3, and 8) .”

Fingered Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Fingered Dagger Moth Caterpillar