Bug eggs on Oak leaves
Location:  Southeastern Iowa
August 16, 2010 2:35 pm
The attached photos show a multitude of bug eggs on the leaves of the oak tree in my backyard.
I cannot identify what bug these eggs are associated with. I would like to know if there is any danger to the tree’s health or to my home from these bugs.
Jay D

Oak Gall

Hi Jay D,
This is not an egg.  It is a Gall.  A Gall is a growth on a plant caused by an wasp, midge, mite, or occasionally another type of insect.  According to BugGuide: “There are more than 2,000 gall-producing insects in the United States; 1,500 are either gall gnats or gall wasps.
”  The insect produces an enzyme that causes the plant tissue to grow in a deformed manner, and this growth serves as food for the developing gall larvae.  It is generally believed that the Gall does not harm the plant.  We believe your Gall is a Gall Wasp in the family Cynipidae, but we could not find a conclusive match on BugGuide.  There is one image of an unidentified Gall Wasp Gall on BugGuide that looks similar to your Gall.   BugGuide gives this advice for Gall identification:  “Gall insects (and mites) are usually highly specific about what kind of plants they use, and even what part of the plant. To maximize your chances of getting a gall identified, record the plant species (include photos of the leaves, flowers, fruits, etc. if you’re not sure), and if it’s a leaf gall, note the position on the leaf (if it’s not obvious from the photo): upper side or underside; midrib, side vein, or somewhere else. Also note whether or not the gall is detachable, the size of the gall, and anything else distinctive about it that may not be clear in the photo. With oaks in particular, which are hosts for hundreds of kinds of galls, every little detail can help to narrow down the options.”  An interesting side note is that Alfred Kinsey who shot to notoriety in the mid twentieth century with his ground breaking studies on human sexuality began his professional career as an entomologist who specialized in the study of Gall Wasps.  He approached his studies on human sexuality with the same rigor that he used in collection over 1 million specimens of Gall Wasps.

Oak Galls

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Identify this bug
Location:  Eastern Oregon
August 16, 2010 4:40 pm
I need help identifying this bug. It was found in a forested setting at about 4300 ft.
Eric S. Tonn

Lion Beetle

Hi Tom,
When we received a submission just over a year ago of this same species, a Lion Beetle,
Ulochaetes leoninus, it took quite some time to properly identify it.  There continues to be but a single image of this species on BugGuide and there is no accompanying information.  CalPHotos has a lovely image of the Lion Beetle with its wings spread.  This species is quite unusual in that the elytra do not cover the flight wings.

Lion Beetle

We are so thrilled to be adding a second posting of this rare beetle that we are using all three of your images.

Lion Beetle

Feeding on Goldenrod
Location:  Southern New York State
August 16, 2010 4:18 pm
Saw this beautiful bug feeding on goldenrod in early August. It is about 1/2” long and unfurled gray wings under the colorful shell and flew short distances when disturbed. Also the unidentified wasps were busy at work. Cicada killer?
Don

Blue Winged Wasp

HI Don,
The image of yours that we are not posting is an Ailanthus Webworm Moth, a species we have posted several times in recent weeks.  We also just recently posted an image of a Digger Wasp or Blue Winged Wasp,
Scolia dubia, but it was photographed in a tupperware, not in its natural environment like your lovely photo.  Like many wasps, the adult Blue Winged Wasp feeds on nectar while the larvae are predatory.  Since they are not terribly mobile, the female wasp provisions for her brood.  In the case of the Blue Winged Wasp, the female locates and stings to paralyze the grubs of the Green June Beetle and the Japanese Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “Males and females have a courtship dance, flying close to the ground in a figure-8 or S pattern. Females burrow into ground in search of grubs, especially those of the Green June Beetle, Cotinis, and the Japanese Beetle. She stings it and often burrows farther down, then constructs a cell and lays an egg on the host. Larva pupates and overwinters in a cocoon within the body of the host. One generation per year in North, more in South.”  According to Mom, any creature that preys upon Japanese Beetles is aces in her garden.

Fantastic!  My daughter and I love your site.  Thanks a million.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Gallinipper Mosquito
Location:  Kendall County, Illinois
August 16, 2010 12:37 pm
I believe that this is the Psorophora ciliata, or Gallinipper Mosquito. It seems to be an aggressive day biter. I thought you might like the photo. We live in Northern Illinois and this is the first year I have noticed these. We have had a ridiculous amount of rain this year though.
Stacy C

Gallinipper

Hi Stacy,
As we just noted in the immediately preceeding posting, we love getting preidentified insects that would be time consuming for us to research.  We are linking to the BugGuide page on the Gallinipper which indicates this “large mosquito” has a diet that includes “Males and females feed on nectar, females said to seek bloodmeals from large mammals. Females bloodfeed day and night and are able to bite through heavy clothing.
”  The Galveston Mosquito Control website indicates:  “It is the largest blood sucking mosquito in the U.S. Commonly referred to as the ‘Shaggy-legged’ Gallinipper. It is easy to identify by its large size and it inflicts a painful bite. Rarely found in large numbers. The larvae are large and are predacious upon other larvae. ”   It is also indicated that adults can fly from one to two miles.

Orange Holomelina rubicundaria – Virbia rubicundaria
Location:  Lexington NC
August 16, 2010 10:38 am
I think this is an orange Holomelina rubicundaria – Virbia rubicundaria moth. He was very small, and though he was orange, blended in rather well.
He was not too cooperative, but i I didn’t give up till I had at least one good shot of him.
Rick (SCWIDVICIOUS)

Tiger Moth: Orange Holomenlina

Hi again Rick,
Again we must state that we love getting insects that have been preidentified because then we just try to find links that support the identification.  We checked out
Virbia rubicundaria on BugGuide and the Moth Photographers Group, and we must say that we believe its close relative in the same genus, Virbia aurantiaca, looks like another possibility.  See both BugGuide and The Moth Photographers Group to compare.  In this case, the opinion of a real expert might be required.  Since this is a Tiger Moth, we will see if our friend the Arctiid expert Julian Donahue can provide a conclusive ID.

Great, I hope we get a verdict from Julian. I know its a rather strange angle that could possibly hinder the ID, but it’s all he was willing to do for me.  I have loads of insects I plan on sending your way, and I will try to ID each one of them as best I can.
I love your site, it helps a lot of people in a lot of ways, and  I have spent countless hours looking around, which is one reason I like to contribute what I can. My insect  photo collection is huge, and i try to take the best photos I can with my crappy lens. When I can finally land the lens i really want, you will see some beautiful pics coming your way for sure.

Thanks Rick, for both the compliment and the contributions, especially of new species for us like this Holomelina.  Since we teach photography we feel qualified to say we did not notice the crappy quality of your lens.  We think your photos are perfectly fine.  Trust us when we say we get plenty of blurry photographs of enormous size that take copious amounts of post production time before a mediocre image can be posted.  The photo is only as good as the person behind the camera and as long as the equipment provides a usable image, it is more than adequate.

Julian Donahue provides information, but no conclusive identification
August 17, 2010
Hi Daniel,
According to Covell’s eastern moth book, rubicundaria is a Gulf Coast species, while aurantiaca would be the one from North Carolina.
However, I wouldn’t bet on either one–I don’t have Zaspel & Weller’s 2006 revision of Virbia (including the former Holomelina) at hand. This is a tough group, and even spread specimens are sometimes difficult to identify.
Julian P. Donahu

bugs that hitch on my lawn mower
Location:  East Tennessee (near Knoxville)
August 15, 2010 4:13 pm
Hi,
When I mow the lawn with an electric lawn mower, lots of these little dark bugs with red stripes like to ride along. The seem to be especially attracted to the cover of the battery compartment and can fly. I can’t find them on-line.
Thanks!
Carol

Two-Lined Spittlebugs

Hi Carol,
You have Two-Lined Spittlebugs,
Prosapia bicincta, and we would bet our last dollar that you probably have masses of what looks like spittle on your tall grasses and other plants.  These are the homes of the larva of the adult Two-Lined Spittlebugs that you have photographed.  Once they mature, the winged adults become more mobile.  BugGuide indicates:  “In the immature (nymph) stage (surrounded by the “spittle” foam which protects them, and which they produce from juices they suck from the plant) they feed on centipedegrass, bermudagrass and other grasses, including occasionally corn.  Adults feed on hollies – they feed on the underside of leaves, and damage shows up as pale mottling not usually visible from above.

Two-Lined Spittlebugs on Lawnmower