March 6, 2010
We are currently preparing for two big events.
First, we will be returning to Ohio for a few days, marking the first time we are able to spend time with Mom on Mother’s Day in 31 years.  We apologize for any interruption in our responses, but we will not be answering any email while we are away.  We have prepared several interesting letters to post, one each day, during our absence so our regular readership can still get a daily dose of What’s That Bug? while we are away.
Secondly, What’s That Bug? is about to mark a significant milestone.  We are rapidly approaching out 10,000th posting.  Will your letter and image be selected?  Chances are good that letter will arrive during our absence, and we will try to post a significant letter and photo to mark the event.  Since the volume of mail increases as the temperature rises across North America, the odds of getting a personal response from us or getting a letter posted drops because we have such a small staff.  Please forgive this inconvenience and use our search engine or search our archives to try to self-identify your creature.  Chances are good that it, or something very closely related to it, is already somewhere on our website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Can you name this bug for me please?
May 6, 2010
Hello. I found this bug on a creeping vine on the sand dune on the beach in Maputo, Mozambique, Africa. It was eating the green leaves of a creeping vine plant and seemed to have spun a cocoon at some stage during its life cycle. Can you please help me find out the name of the bug? Thanks
MMoz
Maputo, Mozambique Africa

Tortoise Beetle

Dear MMoz,
This is some species of Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but we do not know the species.

Caribbean, crawling, red body, white stripes with some black
May 5, 2010
We have never seen these insects, but this year, there are _thousands_ and seem to reproduce with no obvious predator. Some eat downed fruit from a large Seaside Mahoe tree (sometimes called a seaside hibiscus), others seem to be eating dead plant material (example: a small dead palm plant about 3 feet tall), but some are seemingly eating live plant leaves.
There seem to be two variants:
(A) one flatter one with a red body and a white “collar” and an “X” marking on the dorsal side. It almost looks like an old foot soldier uniform from the 18th century.
(B) a more rounded one with a red body and several white stripes.
Anguilla
Caribbean (Anguilla, British West Indies)

Saint Andrew's Cotton Stainers: Mating Adults and nymphs

Hi Anguilla,
You have Saint Andrew’s Cotton Stainers, Cysdercus andreae, both winged adults and wingless nymphs.  The pair in the center of you one photo is mating.  According to Bugguide:  “The feeding activities of cotton stainers on cotton produce a stain on the lint which reduces its value. A few authorities have reported the stain comes from excrement of the bugs. However, most have stated that the stain primarily is a result of the bug puncturing the seeds in the developing bolls causing a juice to exude that leaves an indelible stain. Feeding by puncturing flower buds or young cotton bolls usually causes reduction in size, or the fruiting body may abort and drop to the ground. – University of Florida.

Saint Andrew's Cotton Stainer

Thank you! It’s a perfect answer, as we have a fruiting tree that dropped fruit. The stainers were all over the fruit, but also on a dead palm and some other _live_ plants. The live plants and the fact that these things can reproduce like crazy had us worried. (I have never seen so many end-to-end joined things before. They don’t have to work hard to pick up mates…)
Hopefully they have predators (birds, lizards, and (ahem) roaming wild chickens). if so I would assume they’d be controlled naturally. What _does_ eat them?
A great, great answer, in a fabulously short timeframe. Many thanks!
Mark

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

box elder bug love
May 5, 2010
Not sure if you are interested in another one,but here is a picture of mating box elder bugs from our local playground. My 3 year old wanted to know why they had 2 heads, which evolved into a very interesting conversation….
Sara
Bridgewater, NJ

Mating Boxelder Bugs

Hi Sara,
Thanks so much for sending us your photo of mating Eastern Boxelder Bugs, Boisea trivittata.  We are happy to post it.

Mating bugs?
May 3, 2010
Sorry for the lack of knowledge. I’m not exactly sure what kind of bugs these are! I thought they were lightning bugs, but I’m not sure.
Anyway, I thought you might like these mating buggies, and hopefully you could shed some light as to what these cuties are!
Terra
Massachusetts

Mating Winter Fireflies

Hi Terra,
We agree with you that these are Fireflies, more specifically Diurnal Fireflies, and most probably Ellychnia currusca, the Winter Firefly, which we identified on Bugguide.

Identify shiny blue bug in photo
May 4, 2010
I think this is a jewel bug. It was found at a height of about 1.5 m over the ground, on the leaf of a creeper. The area had lots of trees.
The bug was spotted on April 10th 2010, The winter had ended and hot summer was begining.
Evan John Philip, NISER
Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India.

Unknown True Bug

HI Evan,
We really don’t have time to track down the species, but this appears to be a Shield Bug and some species are called Jewel Bugs.  Your photo is so gorgeous that we want to post it.  Perhaps one of our readers will have time to post a comment with a correct identification before we return.