Subject: What is this thing??
Location: south texas
October 23, 2014 2:26 pm
I only see these at night and there are tons of them!! They look evil!
Signature: Hannah Gohlke

Flatfaced Longhorn

Huisache Girdler

Dear Hannah,
This is one of the Flatfaced Longhorn Beetles in the subfamily Lamiinae, and we will try to determine the species for you.  We will check with Eric Eaton to see if he recognizes you beetle.

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:
Yes, I believe it is the Huisache Girdler:
Species Oncideres pustulata – Huisache Girdler – BugGuide.Net

Ed. NOte:  According to BugGuide:  “Primary hosts:  Leucaena lveruienta – Tepeguaje;  Acacia farnesiana – Huisache;  Albizia julibrissin – Mimosa;  Will also girdle mesquite, retama, ebony and citrus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: White and black insect in MN
Location: SE Minnesota
October 24, 2014 8:43 am
This insect was seen on October 22, 2014, in southeast Minnesota (Minneapolis). It was about 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch in length. It was on an aluminum storm door’s frame (the green background), at about 5:30 p.m. (less than an hour before sunset). It stayed in the same place (did not climb the door frame, etc.) at least through the time we went in at sunset to fix supper. It was no longer there the next morning (no surprise). Temperatures were probably in upper 50s Fahrenheit. The porch is raised about four feet above ground level. There is a dogwood tree next to it, with branches touching the porch roof and supports. The ground below the dogwood is occupied by hostas. The body texture appeared a bit like moth wings, i.e., as though there were small scales, but in the photo the body looks smoother. The body is more flat than round, in case the photo does not show that sufficiently.
Signature: Curious in MN

Someone else has told me the insect is probably a wingless female linden looper moth, Erannis tiliaria.  Photos of the wingless female linden looper elsewhere (e.g., at the end of the page at http://www.wci.colostate.edu/shtml/LindenLooper.shtml and at http://www.invasive.org/browse/TaxThumb.cfm?fam=210&genus=Erannis) appear to be the same general size, color, and pattern, and there are indeed linden trees in the boulevard strip about thirty feet from the porch, up and down the street. Not that I’ve seen info yet to say that the linden looper feeds on or uses for egg-laying only linden or basswood trees, despite the “tiliaria” name; it might be tolerant of other species, too, even dogwoods.  Also, the mating season is said to be in the fall, and I probably should not have omitted from my original post that the porch is roofed, with a low-wattage light that attracts moths, including presumably any male Erannis tiliaria in the vicinity.  So you can probably mark this one as closed.

Female LInden Looper Moth

Female LInden Looper Moth

Dear Curious in MN,
While this file is closed for you and may not require any additional information on our part, we are still thrilled that you followed up with the identification of the wingless, female Linden Looper Moth and that you provided so many helpful links so that we can prepare a posting for our readership.  The introduction of invasive, exotic species continues to be a significant threat to agriculture and native species diversity.
  We did locate a related species in our archives, a female Mottled Umber Moth, Erannis defoliaria, which is in the same genus and which is native to Europe.  It is possible that that particular posting from our archives is of the Linden Looper Moth as well.  In doing our research, we discovered your image already posted to BugGuide.

Oops.  I may have jumped too early to a conclusion.  A search for Erannis on your site found a page for a tentative identification of a wingless female of a mottled umber moth on November 29, 2009 in California, that looks very similar, too.  And from the photos of Erannis defoliaria and Erannis tiliaria found elsewhere, I’m not sure I could tell them apart just from a photo of the back. Perhaps you will be sensitive to details in the photographs that might distinguish the two.

We don’t think that we are able to distinguish between the two species, but at least we can be certain that we are dealing with a member of the genus Erannis and that it is an invasive species in North America.  Since you have nearby Linden trees, we would favor your original identification of a Linden Looper Moth.

You’re right, I did ask two places, at your wonderful site and at BugGuide.  I hope that’s not a problem.  If you’re preparing a post, you might be amused to add a link to a picture of E. defoliaria from a British guide (John Curtis’s British Entomology Volume 6, says the Wikipedia attribution of the image) over a hundred years ago: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Britishentomologyvolume6Plate703.jpg, that includes the wingless female, but not at sufficient detail in the image (I can’t speak to the print original) to be able to say what details are distinguishing for the female E. defoliaria and E. tilaria.  Thank you for operating a wonderfully useful site.

We love BugGuide and we have no problem sharing your image.  Thanks for the compliment and additional link.

Andrea Leonard Drummond, Amy Gosch, Kristi E. Lambert liked this post

Subject: caterpillar
Location: Northwest Houston, TX
October 24, 2014 5:51 am
I found this in a parking lot in Houston, TX. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen anything like it. It looks like some of the Sphinx Moth caterpillars I’ve seen in Google Image Search, but it doesn’t quite match any of them. Could you help me identify it?
Signature: Jeremy

Hornworm

Hornworm may be Banded Sphinx

Hi Jeremy,
We agree that this is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, even though it appears to be lacking a horn.  Our first impulse was that this resembles a pre-pupal Waved Sphinx Caterpillar, but the lack of a horn and the orientation of the light slashes behind the spiracles and running from front to back in orientation would eliminate that as a correct identification.
  A prepupal Modest Sphinx Caterpillar pictured on Sphingidae of the Americas also has the white slash marks oriented the opposite direction.  As we must leave for work now, we are going to write to Bill Oehlke to get his assistance.  We wonder if it might be an unusually colored Ficus Sphinx, Pachylia ficus.  We were unable to locate its identity on the Sphingidae of the Americas Texas page.

Wow, thanks!  I honestly didn’t expect such a quick response. You guys rock! Let me know what Bill thinks.

Kimberly Fuller Karkovice, Kitty Heidih, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Megan Sweetness liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Zebra Jumper
Location: Toledo, OH
October 23, 2014 3:40 pm
Hey there!
Fall is thoroughly set in over here in Toledo, and the bugs are getting harder and harder to track down and enjoy. This little guy was kind enough to hang around in the cold though for me to test my new macro lens on. Thought you might enjoy him!
Signature: Katy

Zebra Jumping Spider

Zebra Jumping Spider

Hi Katy,
Your images of this Zebra Jumping Spider,
Salticus scenicus, are quite nice.  We like the results of your new lens and we look forward to spring and new submissions from you.

Zebra Jumping Spider

Zebra Jumping Spider

Jalah Stern, Kathy Haines liked this post

Subject: Argiope Aurantia – Question about Life Cycle
October 23, 2014 11:37 am
Dear Bugman and friends,
We have been lucky to have had three yellow garden spiders in our yard this year build webs where we could easily observe them. Our family watched all three build daily webs, eat, and grow for a few weeks. One spider got very large (in our opinion), perhaps a body of about an inch, not counting her legs. The other two were a bit smaller than that. One seemed to have a mate after some time, a little fellow that hung out on the edge of her web and crept closer over time (although we don’t know if there was ever any “action”). They all followed the same pattern, web building, eating, growing, and then disappearing. We are wondering if you could tell us why they just disappear…They are around for 2-3 weeks. The first one who disappeared possibly did not get enough to eat at the end; however, we did feed her a few flies the night before she disappeared, which she declined to eat (although she had eaten other flies we had gotten her previously). The other ate a really great meal one day,
at least 3-4 decent sized bugs (in fact, she had another bug caught in her web that she didn’t get to), and then disappeared two days later. What we noticed on the two we were able to observe closely is that they ate fine one day, but didn’t rebuild their webs that night, hung around kind of crooked the following day, and then were gone the next day. We were just wondering if you could let us know if this is typical for their life cycle. It did not get cold, it seemed like they had enough to eat, we didn’t see a dead spider on the ground under the web, no one walked into the webs, two were high enough that the only predators would possibly be birds (but one was right up against our window so it seems like it would have been very hard for a bird to get her without smacking against the glass). We got attached to all three, which may sound silly, and were really sad when they disappeared. So, I thought I would write you to find out if you could offer any insight. I know you are busy,
but just wanted to try. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. We have looked online and have been unable to find anything ourselves. Thanks again in advance.
Linda, Steve, and Gage
Signature: Linda Vincent

Golden Orbweaver from our Archives

Golden Orbweaver from our Archives

Dear Linda, Steve and Gage,
Sadly, we don’t know what happened to your Golden Orbweavers.  We have had similar experiences with individuals in our own Los Angeles garden.  They seem to just vanish one day.  The life cycle of Golden Orbweavers is a single season, and even if the weather if fine, it is still nearing the end of the year.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide you with some information.

Jessica M. Schemm, Kathleen Travis Perin liked this post

Subject: Bird Dropping Moth?
Location: Coryell County, Texas
October 23, 2014 9:39 pm
Hello, I spotted this moth near the garage when I returned home today. It was clinging to the Malvaviscus arboreus for hours. I haven’t had any luck in finding its genus or species. I’m guessing that it’s a Bird Dropping Moth, for obvious reasons. :-D
Thank you!
Signature: Ellen

Tolype

Tolype

Hi Ellen,
Your moth does resemble bird droppings.  There is a moth that is commonly called a Bird Dropping Moth and our readers frequently write in that Wood Nymphs in the genus
Eudryas resemble bird droppings, but neither is your moth which is in the genus Tolype and has no common name.  Seems looking like bird droppings is a good way to protect against getting eaten.

Amy Gosch, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post