Weidemeyer’s or White
We had the great pleasure of watching our caterpillar (wish I took a picture but it looked like bird droppings with horns) turn into a chrysalis on July 4th. Today (July 10th) the pictured beauty emerged. I found two butterflies on your website that look like ours…The Weidemeyer’s Admiral and the White Admiral. I can’t seem to tell the difference in all these photos…can you? The caterpillar was found on a choke cherry tree in Big Sky, Montana. Thank you,
Big Sky Bug Kids

Dear Big Sky Bug Kids,
We are quite pleased to hear your metamorphosis was successful. This is a Weidemeyer’s Admiral, Limenitis weidemeyerii. While the dorsal view is quite similar to a White Admiral, the underside is distinctly different. Including both views with your letter will help ensure that future readers can make a proper identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

butterfly question
hi bugman,
i’m sending two photo’s of a b-fly i saw this afternoon and i thought for sure it was a california tortoiseshell. the dorsal view isn’t a good angle to really id it and the ventral view is very clear but when i looked it up in my books and on the i-net none of the ventral views look like my b-fly. so what do you think it is? his dorsal view looked so california tortoiseshell. can they look different depending on male or female? i saw it not far from nederland colorado, west of boulder in the mountains. and it is july 14 today. i so appreciate your help when you have the time. and i’m going looking for that b-fly again tomorrow to see if i can get a better photo of the dorsal side. thanks for all your help past and present. i just adore your web site, i’m on it all the time. cheers,
venice kelly

hi Venice,
Though your dorsal view is at an angle, enough of the upper wings show to incline us to agree that this is a Calfornia Tortoiseshell, Nymphalis californica, which despite its name, also ranges in most of the Pacific Northwest, and into Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah, as well as some adjacent states. If you get a better dorsal view, please send it to our attention.

2 pictures for you
Dear Bugman,
These fellows are feeding on the wild grape that shades our porch (Delhi, NY). Pretty big now — 4″ long and fat — and still eating. What are they?? Thanks,
Kids at Lotus School

Dear Kids at Lotus School,
This is an Abbott’s Sphinx Caterpillar, Specodina abbotti. This caterpillar has several different color variations, and the brown one is much more subtle than the green spotted brown variation we have been recently sent. We are copying Bill Oehlke on your response as he is keeping comprehensive records on species distribution.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

ficus creature
Heya guys, Cool site. I live in South Florida and I found this tasty little morsel under a ficus tree after a July rain storm. I don’t know if it crawled there or fell from the tree. Any way I hope it wasn’t poisonous! So what was it? seeya,

Hi Britt,
We do not recognize your caterpillar, but have decided to post it before trying to identify it. Structually, it resembles a Milkweed Butterfly in the subfamily Danainae, but not the species represented on BugGuide found in Florida. The coloration is quite different. It also doesn’t matche the species found on Geocities from Australia. We wonder if perhaps this is some tropical species that found its way to Florida, or if it is an escapee from a butterfly pavilion.

Update: (07/15/2008)
Had we not had one of these caterpillars posted on Bugguide about a week ago, I never would have known what it was, either. But, it is the larva of the “ruddy daggerwing” butterfly, native to Florida. Neat find, great pic!

Thanks Eric for the information about the Ruddy Daggerwing, Marpesia petreus.

Red Moth by Seattle
Hi there,
I found your website and I have enjoyed learning from it. I wondered if you knew what type of moth this is, it has been hanging around our place just north of Seattle the last few days. It is quite colorful, I am having trouble finding an exact match online. Even a short email leading me in the right direction would be very helpful sometime, it sounds like you get tons of email so thanks if you do get to this one. I’ve never seen a moth like this by our house before, it was really striking. Perhaps I just never noticed them, but who knows.

Hi Mark,
We don’t immediately recognize your moth, and a brief search of possibilities has not provided an answer. We have put in a request to Arctiid expert Julian Donahue and are eagerly awaiting his response. We had hoped to get that response to avoid updating this entry. Interestingly, the pattern and coloration resembles the Royal Walnut Moth, but we are confident that your moth and the Royal Walnut Moth are not closely related. We believe your moth is a Tiger Moth, an Arctiid, but are uncertain of the species. How large was this moth????

Hello, thanks for writing back to me so quickly. It wasn’t very large actually, about the size of a quarter. It didn’t mind me getting my digital camera up very close for a few pictures, and hung around for about 2 days, but I think it has departed. I’ve never seen a moth with those sorts of colors around our area, most of the ones attracted to our porch lights are varying shades of white, brown, grey, etc. It stood out immediately.

Identification: courtesy of Julian Donahue
This is the tiger moth Lophocampa roseata. According to the distribution map at http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species?l=3774 it only occurs in the Seattle area. I haven’t checked the LACM collection to see if we have additional records.

Wow Julian,
Thank you so much. We feel so lucky to have been provided with an image of a Tiger Moth with such a limited range.

I just came across your website (thanks to Google) because I was trying to identify a wasp that we had never seen before. We live in southeastern Massachusetts and have just recently seen this wasp and, until today, had only seen one, but today we saw two. So I went to your website to try to identify it, but I couldn’t be absolutely sure of the markings, so I went outside to take some pictures of it. Boy, did I get a bonus!!! One of the wasps came home with a huge bug which I assume is some sort of cicada. Can you tell I’m not into insects?!? I was lucky enough to get a couple of pictures of the wasp with its prey as well as its nest. Hope you can use them on your site. If you can give me any information on these wasps, I would appreciate it. Thanks and keep up the good work on your website.
Susan Augustus
South Dartmouth, MA

Hi Susan,
Your Cicada Killer Wasp is living up to its name. The larval wasps feed entirely on Cicadas that have been paralyzed by the female wasp. Male Cicada Killers, which do not sting, often act aggressively when defending their territory.