black and white stripped caterpillar
December 24, 2009
I found these acrobatic caterpillars on my George Tabor Azaleas I believe it was in September. Their black and white stripes were quite different. It was their red head and legs and tail that caught my attention. No major harm was done to my azaleas. Could these be the caterpillars for a zebra swallowtail?
Leslie
Saint Fancisville, La

Azalea Caterpillars

Azalea Caterpillars

Hi again Leslie,
These are Prominent Moth Caterpillars in the genus Datana.  It is probably the Azalea Caterpillar, Datana major, which feeds on Azalea and a few other plants including red oak, apple and blueberry.  The species is well represented on BugGuide which indicates:  “female lays masses of 80-100 eggs on underside of leaf in late spring or early summer; first instar larvae feed gregariously, skeletonizing leaves of hostplant; older larvae eat entire leaves; usually one generation per year, with partial second generation in the south; overwinters as a pupa in a cell in the soil.
”  This posture is typical of caterpillars in the genus Datana.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

White butterfly with black stripes
December 24, 2009
Just wanted you to confirm that this is a zebra swallowtail. If it isn’t please identify it for me. It sure likes my G.G. Gerbing Azaleas.
Thanks. Leslie
Saing Francisville, LA

Zebra Swallowtail

Zebra Swallowtail

Hi Leslie,
This is a Zebra Swallowtail, Eurytides marcellus, which is well represented on BugGuide.  It is the only species in the genus found in the U.S., with the exception of the darker Dark Kite Swallowtail, Eurytides philolaus, which rarely flies in Southern Texas.

Spots and Stripes…I’m Stumped!
June 5, 2009
Hello there!
First I just want to say I’m so glad I found this site…so informative, thanks for your efforts! I’d like to ask your help in identifying this guy I saw on vacation in Aruba last week. He was hanging around the balcony all day, weather there was low 80s and dry. The pattern reminds me of a potato beetle but the body doesn’t seem quite right…maybe some type of borer? (Sorry if these are dumb guesses, these is soooo not my field, I’m only working with what I could piece together in the last couple hours from google and pouring through your site until my eyes went blurry :-) )
Thanks in advance and I hope you are enjoying your vacation!
Najah W.
Aruba

Unknown Cerambycid

Oxymerus aculeatus

Hi Najah,
As you indicated, we were away when you wrote in June, and we never really caught up on unanswered mail.  We are trying to post a few old letters today, and we find your request most interesting.  First, both Leaf Beetles and Longhorned Borer Beetles are in the same superfamily Chrysomeloidea, so your confusion is actually supported by scientific taxonomy.  Your beetle does have the markings of a Colorado Potato Beetle, and the antennae of a Longhorned Borer Beetle.  We believe it is a Longhorned Borer in the family Cerambycidae, though we are uncertain of the species.  Perhaps one of our readers can assist in a proper identification.

Identification courtesy of Karl
This looks like Oxymerus aculeatus (Cerambycidae: Cerambycinae: Trachyderini). The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has posted a “Pest Alert” for this species (available online), fearing that it may have become established in South Florida. I believe this is it, but I haven’t checked to see if there are related and similar looking species. Regards. K

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

black beetle with a red spot on back
June 3, 2009
we found this bug on our scrub oak, along with woolly oak aphids. What can you tell me about this beetle and the woolly aphid. Will they damage the oaks? we have hundreds of oaks planted, but only see the beetles on maybe ten, but the aphids are on many more. We just started to see the beetles, and the aphids have been there for about a month.
lalynn
southern new mexico

Unknown Immature Stink Bugs

Unknown Immature Stink Bugs

Dear lalynn,
First we must apologize for the lengthy delay, but your letter arrived when we were out of town and we really never caught up on unanswered mail.  We are trying to randomly select a few unanswered letters a day to address and post.  This is some species of immature Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, and we believe it is a Predatory Stink Bug in the subfamily Asopinae which is represented on BugGuide.  The genus Perillus seems like a good bet, and it contains two black species found in nearby Arizona, but BugGuide does not have images of the immature nymphs of Perillus confluens and Perillus  splendidus.  Perhaps one of our readers will know this answer.

Strange, hard, fly like creature
December 22, 2009
The strangest insect ever? Hard as a rock. Didn’t sting or bite but the spike on top and two on his sides were sharp and hard like thorns.
Had wings and was on the beach but seemed unable to fly in the strong breeze. Clung to me or my pencil till I let him go in the jungle.
Thank you! Kambri Crews
Mexico

Follow up re: Strange, hard, fly like creature
on December 22, 2009
I was silly and submitted a photo and brief email without first perusing your site and getting the gist.
Please accept my apologies for the lame narrative in my prior submission!
I have also attached one additional photo of THE most interesting insect I have ever laid eyes on. Have you any idea what he could be?
Thanks again! Kambri Crews
Maroma Spa & Resort, near Playa del Carmen Mexico

Treehopper

Treehopper

Dear Kambri Crews,
This is a Treehopper in the family Membracidae.  Many species in the family mimic thorns and they are nearly impossible to see when  resting on a thorny branch.  They may also mimic the lead tip on a pencil.

mystery bug in Virginia
June 3, 2009
About 10 years ago in Amelia, VA I found a bug outside our camping tent. I did not have a camera at the time, so my description may be very vague. It was brown, about 3 inches long, and had large pinching mandibles that might resemble those of a stag beetle. Its wings were rather large, covered most of its body, and (if I remember correctly) were laid flat on its back in a triangular shape. They were not transparent and had a brown and black color pattern to them. I only got a brief glimpse of this scary-looking insect before I ran from it (I was only 9 at the time). I do recall seeing a preserved specimen of this same species at a zoo, and I think the name attached to it might have started with the letter D. As I’ve said before, my description is based off of a 10 year memory of a bug that I’ve only seen once. Any kind of identification or suggestion of what it could have been would be greatly appreciated, as I have been trying to find it online for the past few years.
Megan
Amelia, Virginia, USA

Dobsonfly Drawing

Dobsonfly Drawing

Hi Megan,
Both your excellent description and your drawing indicate that you saw a Dobsonfly ten years ago.  We are sorry we were unable to respond when you wrote in June, as we were in Ohio visiting Mom.  Upon our return, we had so much mail we ignored most of it until the past few day when we are responding to some requests at random.  We are posting your letter and drawing to What’s That Bug?