found this in our garden.
Location:  allostock,knutsford,cheshire
August 15, 2010 12:25 pm
could you tell me what this is? i think its a horn tail wasp/wood wasp.
i live in cheshire in the uk.
kerry brown

Wood Wasp

Dear Kerry,
You are correct.  This is a Wood Wasp or Horntail,
Urocerus gigas.  The UK Safari website has a nice page on it.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

peruvian caterpillars
Location:  peruvian/bolivian border by rainforest
August 15, 2010 2:15 pm
I spent a few days near the Bolivian border in a rainforest lodge,These caterpillars were on a tree near the lodge.The butterflies were drinking from a muddy bit on the path I was using.Nobody at the lodge could help me.Can you identify these, especially the caterpillars.Would love to know what they hatched into.

Caterpillar Aggregation: Morpho telemachus

Hi Lesley,
Back in 2009, with the assistance of Keith Wolfe, we were able to post an identification of a similar Caterpillar Aggregation from Brazil as
Morpho telemachus.  Here is a link to the Neotropical Butterflies website that identifies these caterpillars as Morpho telemachus.  There is no photo of a butterfly attached to your email, only a duplicate of the caterpillar image.

thanks so much.I have only just found your site  and I am sure I will use it again and again. I am really really thrilled to identify these.Thanks again,
ps not surprised butterfly photo not attached, poar for the course with me! will find and forward.

Tomato Hornworm
Location:  Dayton, OH
August 12, 2010 7:58 pm
My kids found this guy on one of our tomato plants. It ate a huge hole in our biggest tomato. I had to pluck him off and relocate him to a tree at the other side of my yard. Beautiful creature, but I’m sad it ate my biggest tomato!

Tobacco Hornworm

Hi Jessica,
This may not matter much to you, but your caterpillar is not a Tomato Hornworm,
Manduca quinquemaculata, but rather the closely related Tobacco Hornworm, Manduca sexta.  The Caterpillars and adult Hawkmoths of both species look very similar and have similar diets, and both caterpillars will feed on the leaves, and occasionally fruit, of tomatoes.  According to BugGuide the Tobacco Hornworm can be identified by its:  “large green body; dorsal ‘horn’ (usually curved and orange, pink or red) on terminal abdominal segment; up to seven oblique whitish lateral lines, edged with black on upper borders. The similar looking Tomato Hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata, has eight v-shaped stripes and a straight blue-black horn. These caterpillars are often confused and misidentified.”

We have an interesting personal anecdote to relate.  Our publicist has urged Daniel to create a short 2-3 minute video to use a promotional device for his about to be released book, The Curious World of Bugs.  The video would be used to drum up television appearances including his much dreamed about Martha Stewart spot.  The morning of the video shoot, while he was still trying to settle upon a topic, his neighbor Elena walked by.  She was delivering the caterpillar of a Tomato Hornworm to the child of another neighbor who was raising them to observe metamorphosis.  Daniel knew he had one lurking on one of his tomato plants because of the telltale signs of chewed leaves and green droppings, and he quickly located the culprit.  He was going to give it to Elena to deliver along with her caterpillar, but at the last moment, he decided it would be a nice treat for his Fuzzy Bottom Gals, the new chickens.  Moments after the happy chicks finished fighting over the succulent green caterpillar, Daniel realized he had just fed the ideal topic for the video to the gals, and he decided to walk to the neighbor’s house to borrow the Tomato Hornworm Elena had found.  He returned with the caterpillar in a plastic produce box and sat to write the bullet points for the video monologue, not wanting to place the Tomato Hornworm on the plant too early since they are so well camouflaged and he wanted to be able to place it where the camera could easily include it.  About a half an hour before the video shoot, Daniel discovered that the Tomato Hornworm had escaped and it was nowhere to be found, so two different caterpillar subjects evaded a video appearance.  Undaunted, Daniel did the video without the subject actually appearing.  Hopefully he will be bright, witty and charming enough to entice the producers of the Martha Stewart Show to consider him for a guest appearance, even without a caterpillar.  Daniel still has to inform the little girl up the street, Milo, that her Tomato Hornworm is an escape artist.

Update on the Tobacco Hornworm:  Parasitized by Braconid Wasp!!!
What a great story! I hope the little girl wasn’t upset about her caterpillar. Sad update though, it has since died. We decided after my first email to keep it and hope for the best. Fed it many fresh tomato leaves and thought things were going well. It got lethargic so I sat the critter carrier we bought for him outside in the sunlight and hoped the warmth would help him. The next day, my daughter came running in and told me of the oval things on its back. I had to break the news that this poor caterpillar was dying and there was nothing I could do. I’ve attached the most recent photo of our poor caterpillar in case you want to use it on the site.

Tobacco Hornworm parasitized by Braconid Wasp

Thanks for the update Jessica,
Daniel has still not told Milo, but he did notify her father that he would pay a visit and provide an explanation.  Your Tobacco Hornworm was a goner before you discovered it.  It had been parasitized by a Braconid Wasp.  The Braconid lays eggs by “injecting” them into the Hornworm with an ovipositor.  The larval Braconids feed upon the internal organs of the Hornworm, eventually emerging to pupate on the surface, which your photograph illustrates.  Braconids are considered biological control methods for many agricultural pests, though their hosts are not limited to plant feeding insects.  Most Braconids are very species specific when it comes to the choice of where to lay eggs.

Update on Mt Washington Tobacco Hornworms
August 24, 2010
Daniel told Milo and she was understanding.  Daniel spotted this Tobacco Hornworm on the Caspian Pink, and he is going to let Milo know there is a caterpillar for her.  He is going to recommend a terrarium with a live potted tomato plant for raising it.

Tobacco Hornworm in Mt Washington

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Possibly Ophiogomphus bison?
Location:  Living Prairie Museum, Winnipeg, Canada
August 13, 2010 12:51 am
Took this pic while visiting Winnipeg’s Living Prairie Museum in June 2008. Just now getting around (tsk tsk) to finishing labeling and filing the pics. I think I located this dragonfly on BugGuide as the Bison Snaketail (Ophiogomphus bison) but would like your take on it to make sure. Also that name did not come up when I did a search on your site so if it is, perhaps you’d like a picture of one.
Cheers, Dee

Dragonfly may be Pale Snaketail

Hi Dee,
BugGuide lists the range of the Bison Snaketail as California and Oregon only, so we don’t believe that is your species.  Exact Dragonfly identification is difficult for us.  We believe you have the genus correct.  BugGuide lists the range of the Pale Snaketail,
Ophiogomphus severus, as including nearby Saskatchewan, so we believe that is a better candidate.

Hello again, Daniel.  Okay, this time I think we are much closer on a proper ID of the photo I submitted on 12 Aug (I reattached the same pic).  Looking at pics of the Pale Snaketail, it just didn’t have the right coloration.  I have seen several Gomphus which are in that geographic range and look very similar.  Wondering if there is ever so much variation to account for the difference I see in my pic and those online of Midland Clubtail (Gomphus fraternus manitobanus) because I believe they are not supposed to have the yellow spot on the last large segment of tail, like the Plains Clubtail (Gomphus externus).  The Plains seem really yellow compared to mine, but perhaps there is variation by age/location?  Someone posted a pic of what looks like an identical insect to BugGuide Hoping someone with knowledge of these Manitoban insects can enlighten us all.  At any rate, I don’t believe my pic is of either Pale or a Bison Snaketail, now. Thanks, Dee

Should I be concerned?
Location:  Michigan United States
August 13, 2010 4:44 pm
We found this giant in our yard (two so far)and they look very intimidating. Should we call in some experts?
Matt Cristoforo

Pigeon Horntail

Hi Matt,
Before we can accurately respond to your question, we need to have concern defined.  Are you concerned you may be stung?  That is not a concern with this Pigeon Horntail,
Tremex columba (see BugGuide), a type of wood wasp.  This is a female, and what appears to be a stinger is really an ovipositor.  The female oviposits her eggs in dead or dying wood, so you may have a dead or dying tree on your property.  You may need to be concerned if there is a wind storm and you have a family reunion under the dying tree and a branch breaks off striking several friends or relatives on the head.  That could lead to a concussion or even worse.  Do you need an expert?  We don’t know.  Are you capable of cutting down a dead or dying tree yourself?  If not, we suggest calling in professionals.

Very Nice!!  Thank you for your witty response.  You have indeed identified the pest….my relatives.  And your extermination suggestion is definitely worth looking into.  Looks like I’ll have to move that table a little closer to the tree.  Thanks again
Matthew T. Cristoforo

Pearl crescent?
Location:  Northern Maryland
August 13, 2010 8:37 pm
Dear bugman,
I caught this butterfly on a patch of black-eyed susans at our local zoo. I think this is a pearl crescent, but I’m not sure. Its coloring was similar to a lot of the butterflies on your site, but it took me a while to find a pattern that was close. So, pearl crescent or impostor?

Pearl Crescent or Northern Crescent?

Hi Jenny,
We believe you have correctly identified this Pearl Crescent,
Phyciodes tharos, as evidenced by images posted to BugGuide, however, the genus Phyciodes contains several very similar looking species, which you may also view on BugGuide.  The Northern Crescent, Phyciodes cocyta, is easily confused, and BugGuide includes this information:  “A lot of Pearls get called Northerns, and there is a lot of confusion between the two. It could be debated whether even some examples shown on Butterfly web sites and in books as “Northern’s” really are. The trait of a line through the middle of the hind wing in Pearls, and not in Northerns (at least in males) doesn’t always work, and should be taken with a grain of salt, and also the orange antennal clubs are only somewhat reliable (best in males). Generally Northerns are much larger and dominated by orange above, with the dark borders tending to be more narrow. The veins in the mid portion of the wing are more likely to be orange than in Pearl Crescents (more likely mostly black there). Pearls, especially the males, tend to have a lot more black above, and often very wide dark borders. Below the Northerns tend to be much more orange on the hind wings. None of these is a totally relaible trait by itself, and the “overall picture” is important, one needs to avoid focusing on just one or two details when trying to separate these two species.