Barbaroja caterpiller, striped, hisses.
Location:  El Salvador, near Chalate.
September 8, 2010 4:47 pm
This is my link to the photo, I am El Salvador, near Chalate, this is a caterpillar that hisses and they call it Barbaroja, I am searching the internet for it´s real name, please can you identify this for me. I am sorry I can´t post the real photo. I am in a public computer. I am linking you to my blog.
Signature:  Monica

Pachylia syces syces Caterpillar

Dear Monica,
Your photo is of terribly low resolution and it is blurry, an at first we thought this might be the caterpillar of a Tetrio Sphinx, but we have found a match to
Pachylia syces syces on Bill Oehlke’s website which states:  “In the early instars, larvae greatly resemble Pseudosphinx tetrio or a coral snake. They thrash about when disturbed and also ‘squeak’.”    Bill also writes:  “Larvae are reported to feed on Ficus microcarpa, Ficus prinoides, Ficus ovalis and Artocarpus integrifolia in Brazil.”  We can assure you that your neighbor Celina is misinformed.  You credit her with the following flight of fancy on your blog:  “She saw it and gasped. ‘Se pica! Matalo. Matalo!’  She picked up a rock from the back and smashed it.  The name of this insect is  Barba Roja translates to Red beard? How it stings is it opens its mouth and sticks out its tongue and bites you. The tongue is what pinches you. The venom makes the wound swell up and it will hurt for days. It is worse than getting bitten by a scorpion around here. She was bitten by Barbararoja when she was cutting weeds with her machete.”  There are many caterpillars that sting, but those in the family Sphingidae are not among them.

Thank you. I will correct the info on my blog. I am glad I wrote to you. Everyone has a different story about the Pachylia syces. It did thrash around, and squeaks. Celina told me there are two types, one that doesn´t sting and the other that does. And the way she described how it stings creeped me out. But according to Bill Oehlke´s website it doesn´t seem to sting, I will read it again.But yes that is the caterpillar. Sorry about the poor resolution. -Monica

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

September 8, 2010
Today while walking to the film lab between Union Station and Temple Street, Daniel noticed this Stout’s Hardwood Borer on a telephone pole.  He brought it our Mt Washington offices to photograph it because it is a very underrepresented species on our website.  We got that common name from Charles Hogue’s Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, but BugGuide refers to it as the Black Polycaon and has very little information about it.  Hogue on the other hand writes extensively about the Stout’s Hardwood Borer.  Hogue writes that they “appear in the fall (September) in unlikely places, such as in the hallways and rooms of new buildings, in warehouses, and in homes.  Their occurrence is explained by their breeding habits.  The larvae are wood borers that feed within various hardwoods such as oak, California Laurel, alder, maple, and eucalyptus — construction oods that are often used in building boxes, shipping crates, storage racks, and the slats used behind scoustic ceiling tiles;  the larvae will also infest finished wood products such as cupboards, cabinets, and furniture.  The adult Stout’s beetles may emerge from these products after the construction is completed and even after the product has been finished. … There is no evidence that the species reinfests lumber or manufactured wood products once the adults have emerged from them.”  Daniel can’t help but wonder though if the telephone pole in downtown Los Angeles was a likely breeding ground for the species.

This specimen is missing its left rear leg.

Found in Albuquerque NM Aug 2010
Location:  USA South West
September 8, 2010 2:48 am
I am curious as to the identity of this insect.
Signature:  It doesn’t matter.

Charlie Brown Blister Beetle

Dear It doesn’t matter,
The enthusiasm of your email literally oozed off the computer screen at us, so we were compelled to copiously research your identification request until we were successful because we thought it would mean so much to you.  The clarity of your low resolution image that appears to have been taken with a cellular telephone seems to indicate a beetle with a soft body, so we started by searching BugGuide for Soldier Beetles, and we drew a blank.  We next turned to Blister Beetles on BugGuide and browsed through page after page of BugGuide imagery in the subfamily Nemognathinae without success.  We had better luck with the BugGuide section on the subfamily Meloinae where we finally identified the Charlie Brown Blister Beetle,
Pyrota palpalis, but alas, BugGuide has no specific information on the species.  We sincerely hope that our research has not sated your curiosity, and that we have whetted your appetite to pursue more knowledge on this gaily marked beetle named after a pop culture icon.  At any rate, it did whet our appetite, so we tried some additional research in an attempt to learn specifics about the Charlie Brown Blister Beetle.  We did find it on the Texas Beetle Information website, but other than a map of Texas indicating the range in the southwest portion of the state and a link to photos on the Harvard Entomology website, there was not much to glean, though we do like the photos of the labels that accompany the type specimen.

Thank you for the research you put towards this query. I was able to find a good picture of one thanks to your assistance.
This is exactly the insect that my fiance took a picture of.
Thank you for you time and efforts!

You’re welcome.  We enjoyed doing the research.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Purple Beetle?
Location:  Bison Ranch, Arizona
September 8, 2010 2:43 am
I came across this beautiful creature in Bison Ranch, Arizona. I’ve been able to find other pictures of it online, but I still can’t find what it is called. Any ideas?
Signature:  Kae

Pleasing Fungus Beetle

Hi Kae,
Your beetle is one of the Pleasing Fungus Beetles but it has no unique species common name, just the generic family name.  It is
Gibbifer californicus and we have not posted a recent image, so your letter is a welcomed addition to our website.  Many individuals of this species are gray or bluish in coloration, so your purple individual is quite striking.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults feed on nectar, pollen, and some fungi. Larvae feed on wood-destroying fungi” and “female lays eggs in bark crevices of fallen rotting logs; adults emerge in summer.

Hummingbird Moth
Location:  Central Massachusetts
September 7, 2010 2:38 pm
I had seen your answer to a previous writer about these cool creatures and I wanted to forward a few pictures of them to you. All this time we thought they were possibly baby hummingbirds only to find out they are moths.
But, none the less are are amazing creatures and appear to have no fear. they would buzz around my wife as she was trimming the butterfly bushes in our yard. Enjoy.
Signature:  Brian Dicks

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Hi Brian,
We are happy to post your photo of a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.  It seems we have answered at least two identification requests for this creature every day for the past few weeks, but either the photos were not that good, or the letter was not engaging, or we had too many other letters we wanted to post, but whatever the reason, we have responded directly without posting the letters to our website.  We like that you took the time to identify your Hummingbird Clearwing Moth and that your letter is enthusiastic about nature, and that your image quality is very good, so we are posting your letter and photo of a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth,
Hemaris thysbe, which you may read about on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.

impressive, but what is it?
Location:  Ocala, Florida
September 7, 2010 7:25 pm
have seen 2 of these big boys this summer in north central Florida, both times in the grass. I live in Ocala, FL. I took these on my sidewalk. And here I thought I had a rabbit pooing on the sidewalk, lol! No, it’s this bug. I’m new to this region of the country….What is it?
Signature:  thank you! Laura

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

Hi Laura,
This large flightless Grasshopper is known as an Eastern Lubber Grasshopper,
Romalea microptera.  There are two distinct color variations.  Your individual is light, and the other is black with orange markings.  They are so different they do not even look like the same species.  It is said they are foul tasting which protects them from many predators.  According to BugGuide:  “When disturbed, it will spread its wings, hiss, and secrete a smelly fluid from its spiracles.”