Spiky orange caterpillar
June 9, 2010
Sending one more picture that might be a little less fuzzy. — My daughter and I found these caterpillars crawling all over the pansies last week. We put them in a bug keeper and all but one have cocooned. They are about one inch long, with orange and white stripes and black spikes. One of the cocoons is in the background of the picture. It is greenish-gray with orange spots. Any idea what they are? Thanks so much!
Kim and Katie (age 4)
Dallas, TX

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar and Chrysalides

Hi Kim and Katy,
It appears that your third caterpillar is also about to form a chrysalis.  These are the immature forms of the Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia, and in a few weeks, you should be treated to the emergence of lovely orange butterflies.  You can see images of the adult butterfly on BugGuide.  BugGuide indicates the following food plants:  “Larvae feed on Passionvine (Passiflora), Violets & Pansy (Viola, Flax Linum, Moonseed (Menispermum), Mayapple (Podophyllum), Stonecrop (Sedum), Purslane (Portulaca) and others. Adults are fond of flowers, and especially seem to like Thistles and yellow Composites. They also frequently visit damp ground.
”  Since we will be out of the office between June 15 and June 23, we are presetting a few letters to post during our absence so that our readership will continue to get daily updates.  You letter is set to post live to our website on June 22.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What kind of moth
June 14, 2010
This moth hung upside down in a tree next to my home all day. What is he and why was he hanging upside down???
Melody
Muskegon, Michigan

Polyphemus Moth

Hi Melody,
We cannot say for certain why this Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus, is hanging upside-down, except perhaps it was more comfortable.  We are setting your letter and photo to go live next week since we will be out of the office for a week and we want to maintain a schedule of daily updates.

Some sort of Dragonfly Species?
June 10, 2010
I was outside during mid afternoon doing some yard work, and out of the corner of my eye, this strange bug caught my attention. At first glance, it looked like a dragon fly, but it looked to odd to be one. It’s body appears to be much longer than a dragon fly. The body is also broken up into 5 segments and has what appears to be some type of stinger at the end of it’s body. It also kept arching it’s body up and down and you can see what I mean in the pictures. It was all black and had no distinctive markings or other colors. I also held it to get another good picture and from the head to the end of it’s tail was about 3 inches.
Buggy For Bugs
Detroit Michigan

American Pelecinid

Dear Buggy,
This is an American Pelecinid, the only member of its family in the continental U.S.  The American Pelecinid is a parasitoid wasp that preys upon the grubs of June Beetles that live underground.  Your specimen is a female and the female American Pelecinid uses her long jointed abdomen to lay an egg underground on or near a burrowing white beetle grub.  When the egg hatches, the larval Pelecinid feeds upon the grub.  We are presetting your letter to post live to our site between June 15 and June 23 as we will be in Ohio visiting mom for a week, and we want our readership to continue to get live daily postings in our absence.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Found this down by the River
June 14, 2010
Would love to know what this is, found by a river in New Brunswick Canada. It’s hard to tell the size from a photo but it’s much bigger than a quarter. It was found dead and I moved it by it’s leg to take a picture.
To Sara
New Brunswick Canada

Exuvia of a Dragonhunter

Hi Sara,
This is the exuvia or cast off larval skin of a Dragonfly known as the Dragonhunter, Hagenius brevistylus.  The larvae of Dragonflies are aquatic.  When they are ready to metamorphose into adults, they crawl onto land and split their exoskeleton for the final time.  The winged adult emerges, and after its wings have dried and hardened, it will fly away.  We will be postdating your letter so that it goes live later in the week so that our site can maintain daily updates while we are out of the office.

Exuvia of a Dragonhunter

Bug Love
June 9, 2010
Here’s another picture for bug love. I caught these two in an intimate imbrace while I was out hiking in Capitol Reef National Park. I sat down to take a snack break and caught some movement on the skunkbush. I’m not much of a vouyer, but they were so beautiful I just had to snap a shot. I’d love to know what these bugs are.
As always, thank you!
Holly
Capitol Reef, Utah

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Holly,
These are mating Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus, more specifically, Leptoglossus clypealis.  According to BugGuide:  “A spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (technically known as the tylus) distinguishes this species.
”   We are setting your letter and photo to post in the future during our absence between June 15 and June 22 so that our readership can be treated to daily doses of What’s That Bug? while we are out of the office.

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth?
June 13, 2010
Hello Bugman: What a great site! This morning I found this large moth resting on my screen door June 13, 2010, at my lake home in northwestern Illinois. I spent a lot of time on the Internet today trying to identify him and it was harder given I didn’t spread his wings (I’m a little squeamish about moths) (too much Silence of the Lambs). Can you tell me for sure what this guy is?
Thanks, Diana R., Davis, Illinois
South facing screen door, Lake Summerset, Davis, Illinois 61019

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth

Hi Diana,
Congratulations on properly identifying this Pink Spotted Hawkmoth, Agrius cingulata.  That is no small feat considering that its signature coloration is hidden.  Readers who want to see the lovely pink spotting on the abdomen and the pink stripes on the underwings can see this moth on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.  We are postdating this letter to go live in our absence from the office over the next week.