Blue beetle
I found this in Flagstaff, AZ, while I was on a hike. It was on an Aspen tree. I’ve never seen a beetle like this before. Can you tell me what it is?

Hi Molly,
When we first received your letter, we couldn’t immediately identify your Pleasing Fungus Beetle, but we remembered the photo. Today, while researching larvae of the Pleasing Fungus Beetles, family Erotylidae, we stumbled upon photos of the adult Gibbifer californicus on BugGuide, and it matches your submission. So, after three weeks, we have an answer for you and we apologize for the delay.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I live in Tucson, Arizona and I found this beetle outside on my front porch. I thought it resembled a ‘ Megasoma punctulatus’ after looking on Google but then I realized that the horn like points on its head were reversed. It has three points above its head resembling an upside-down triangle. Thanks. Hi, Sorry for another E-mail but I forgot to include that it is two inches in length. Thanks again,

Hi Leon,
This is a Carrot Beetle, Tomarus gibbosus, and it is a new species for our site. You can find more information on BugGuide, which states that it ranges from “coast to coast.”

Correction: Oops, we erred (07/28/2008)
Hope your lecture at the Getty went well!
… Aside, on the “carrot beetle” from Tucson: they don’t get anywhere near two inches long! The insect in the image is a female ox beetle, Strategus aloeus. I’d be curious to know where in Tucson (it is a sprawling city) the person found it. I think that covers all your questions. Keep up the great work.
Eric Eaton

What’s this Beetle:
I’ve checked your archives, and wonder if this is some sort of tiger beetle? We saw them in Death Valley National Park in the salt field this past April.

Hi Tracy,
It stands to reason that since your mating Tiger Beetles are Cicindela californica, the common name would be the California Tiger Beetle, yet BugGuide does not list a common name. This sure is an attractive species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Part Dragonfly, Part Praying Mantis?
I found this very interesting insect in my backyard in Charleston, SC, on July 24, and it was ~1-1.5 inches long. When I found it, it was in the grass and looked like it had just ‘molted’/metamorphed because the wings were still kind of smooshed as if the bug had been crammed into a too-small container. I think it’s a praying mantis of some kind, but I couldn’t find any photos that looked like my critter! I know that mantids have wings, but these remind me of dragonfly wings in shape/coloration/vein pattern. And the kaleidoscopic eyes are something I’ve NEVER seen! Do you know what it is? Thanks,

Hi Kim,
This is a Mantidfly in the family Mantispidae, and probably in the genus Dicromantispa as evidenced by BugGuide. Despite their appearance, Mantidflies are not related to Mantids. We really love the close-up you have provided us. Your Mantidfly close-up photo looks like a glamorous Hollywood starlet portrait.

Query Damsel Flies mating followed by cannibalism
I was photographing these Eastern Forktail Damselflies (July 25th) and after mating the male appeared to be killing and eating the female. The wings actually fell off. I ‘Googled’ the query Damselfly Mating and Cannibalism and came to your site.
Marlene Walker
Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

Hi Marlene,
We are curious to hear from any experts regarding what we suspect is an unusual phenomenon. Postcoital Cannibalism is not that rare in the world of insects and arthropods since a male sperm donar will also provide a hearty meal for the female who now has the burdon of laying eggs. She needs her nourishment. The role reversal in your Damselfly image would seem to be an anomaly.

Correction: (09/03/2008)
Hello, I am a NY Dragonfly and Damselfly surveyor and am responding to the email below. The damselfly was identified as a male but it is in fact a female Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis). While it is not common for a female to eat the male it is not unheard of. Dragonflies and damselflies are frequently seen eating other dragonflies and damselflies.
Annette Oliveira
Long Island, New York

Location is Hawthorne, CA – Volucella bombylans?
Dear Bugman,
I emailed you a while ago with a blurry photo of something I’d not seen before. Today I was able to get sharp shots of this bug and it’s prey. I’ve attached two of them in hopes that you will be able to tell me if it is a hoverfly. Thanks for your time! I’m in Hawthorne, California – please don’t send me directly to the Trash!!! Sincerely,
Anna Carreon

Hi Anna,
This is a species of Robber Fly known as a Bee Killer. It is Mallophora fautrix, which accoring to BugGuide, is the only species in the genus found in California. We received another photo a few days ago. Putting an unusual scientific name in your subject line was a good way to get our attention.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your information. A cousin of mine saw the posting of the Mallophora fautrix posted on your site and emailed me about it (I hadn’t been out to the site since the day before it was posted). What an interesting creature this is! I’d never seen one before, and my mother, who lives .3 miles away, is now in search of one in her back yard. She says she’s never seen one in her 77 years of life and she’s determined to see one in her next 77 years.