yikes! what kind of caterpillar is this??
can you tell us what kind of caterpillar this is? he (or she) has a false “eye” on the tail and kind of hisses when you touch it it also strikes out at whatever touches it like it want to bite… it is on our fence in barrington, ri right near a bunch of forsythia trees thank you
meme pudifin

Hi Meme,
This is an Abbott’s Sphinx, Sphecodina abbottii, Caterpillar. There are several color variations and this is the most spectacular. The false eye and the aggressive behavior will fool a predator like a bird into thinking it is dealing with a potentially harmful snake instead of a harmless succulent caterpillar. We are sad you did not include a location in your letter. We are going to copy Bill Oehlke on this in the hopes you will provide locations for both of us so he can include the information in his comprehensive species distribution date.
it is in barrington, rhode island in our backyard!! thank you so much are they common to this area??

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Great photo of a colorful unknown bug
I sincerely thank you for the most fantastic insect site on earth. You have helped me identify many bugs through all the great pics. I can not find this bug that was found on an enclosed porch in Dayton, Ohio. USA. Thanks in advance for your assist in the I.D. of this colorful bug.

Hi Again Terry,
Yesterday we wrote you a quick reply identifying your insect as a newly metamorphosed Wheel Bug, one of the Assassin Bugs. We have been thinking about your wonderful image, and wanted to post it. Sometimes time will not permit us to post everything we want to post, but we needed to revisit your submission. Many years ago, we received a similar, though very blurry photo. Your photo is so crisp and sharp and shows the orange coloration of the newly metamorphosed Wheel Bug as well as the black discarded exoskeleton. The orange color will soon darken. This Wheel Bug is still not mature. When it becomes an adult, it will have fully functional wings as well as the signature coglike wheel on its thorax.

I’ve pored over your 19 pages of beetles, (with many pauses for distraction by fascinating photos & letters) But haven’t been able to identify this big shiny smooth black beetle. The closest match seemed to be a Bess Beetle, but the proportions don’t seem right. and ours don’t have the lines running along the back. The photo was taken at night, with a flash. Sorry it lacks detail. They’re very glossy black, we see them here at our house in Minneapolis on June / July nights when they visit our front door screen (Under a porch light) some times 2 or 3 of them at a time. They are slow moving, they rise up into an aggressive posture when disturbed. One time I found one with its feet up floating in a bowl of water, not moving. I brought it inside and left it in a tray on the counter and after 3-4-days of "Death" it came out of whatever suspended state it was in and began to walk around. We decided we like them better outside than in! Thanks for your help!
Dave Ahl

Hi Dave,
We admire anyone who will pour over all nineteen of our beetle pages in an effort to identify a mysterious visitor befor writing to us. This is a female Ox beetle in the tribe Oryctini. We are not certain if it is in the genus Xyloryctes or the genus Strategus. Perhaps Eric Eaton can provide the answser for us.

The image is of a stag beetle, Lucanus placidus. In your defense, that is one awkward angle to make any kind of identification from! The entire head of the animal is virtually undefined. It took me a bit to see that the antennae were ‘wrong’ for a scarab….More images and information can be found at Bugguide (or I would not have been able to reach a proper conclusion myself!). One other clue was the behavior described: “rearing up” is classic for stag beetles, almost unheard of in scarabs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello Bugman,
Wanted to start off by telling you what a fantastic site you have. I must say that your site has given me a new appreciation for the wonderful and beautiful world of bugs. As a person who used to think bugs were yucky, I now find myself instead seeking them out. I was hoping that I’d find something interesting for you to identify so when I found this little guy hanging out on a wall, I got excited. However, I was quite disappointed at how easily I found my answer on your site. Either way i wanted to share this gorgeous insect with you, which I am almost certain is a mayfly, in July in the San Joaquin Valley. Thanks for your time, and of course, keep up the good work!

Goodness Gracious Kelly,
Are your Mayflies in the San Joaquin Valley on steroids? It is nearly as large as that VW Beetle.

On the road again
Driving through the Texas hill country last year these guys were walking across the road. They were all over the place but walking. He stopped in his tracks when I got within 4 feet. I’d guess he is about 3 inches long. I used the zoom feature on my camera not wanting to get any closer. LOL
Wesley O’Rear

Hi Wesley,
Last year there was a significant mass emergence of the Truncated True Katydid, Paracyrtophyllus robustus, in this pink/brown variation in Texas. This species is most often green. Before we realized your spectacular photo was a year old, we thought there might be another mass emergence.You can see more on BugGuide. He is a she as evidenced by her swordlike ovipositor.

What’s This Bug?
I sent you pictures already but I decided to send them “cropped” because I realized the last ones were really huge! Please tell me what bug this is. I can’t find anything like it online.

Flower Fly Thanks
Hi hi. I found the flower fly on your website. I had been looking under "bees" and been unable to find it. Thanks for your informative site and sorry for bothering you.

Hi Rebecca,
Your photo was on our computer screen when we needed to shut down, and we have just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to relocate your image in the perplexing labyrinth that is our email account. The image was so beautiful, we have obsessed on relocating it. We are piecing together your letters so we can post this beautiful Syrphid Fly or Flower Fly, Eristalinus taeniops.