Currently viewing the tag: "bug of the month"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Squash Bug family?
Location: Bucerias, MX
September 30, 2014 2:11 pm
I’ve spent several hours online doing my due diligence before asking for help. Help!
Signature: Freda

Flag Footed Bug from Mexico

Flag Footed Bug from Mexico

Dear Freda,
This magnificent insect is a Flag Footed Bug,
Anisocelis flavolineata, and it is in the same family as the Squash Bugs, Coreidae.  Here is an image of a Flag Footed Bug on iNaturalist.  Your image is quite lovely, which is why we have decided to feature it as the Bug of the Month for October, 2014.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: So unusual
Location: Central PA
August 30, 2014 11:04 am
I have never seen this before but such unusual color and pattern. Quite lovely.
Taken 8-29-14 in Central, PA not far from a lake in early afternoon.
It was about 3 inches long.
Signature: Abby

Hooded Owlet Caterpillar

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Dear Abby,
This is a Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar in the genus
Cucullia, and after browsing through the species represented on BugGuide, we believe the closest match is to Cucullia omissa, which according to BugGuide goes by the common names Omitted Cucullia or Alberta Falconer.  This image from BugGuide depicts an individual with coloration that matches the Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars in your image, though other examples indicate the coloration of the caterpillar may be variable.  Another strong possibility is the Gray Hooded Owlet, Cucullia florea, and there are several images on BugGuide with a similar color pattern including this one from Maine and this one from New Hampshire.  It might even be a Goldenrod Hooded Owlet, Cucullia asteroides, based on the coloration of this individual from BugGuide.  There are also some individuals pictured on BugGuide that look like your caterpillars that are not identified to the species level.  The genus as a whole is described on BugGuide as:  “Adult: mostly drab gray moths with some fine black streaking; forewing long and narrow; tuft of hairs projecting from thorax forms a large pointed hood over the head, giving adults a streamlined “aerodynamic” appearance (a distinctive feature).  Larva: usually smooth (hairless) and very colorful, with mixed patterns of spots, stripes, and/or patches of mostly yellow, red, green, blue, and black – the range of variation between species is too complex to describe in general terms.”  BugGuide also notes:  “larvae feed on flowers of composite plants (family Asteraceae) and leaves of several trees – varies according to species,” and the individuals in your images appear to be feeding on a plant in the Asteraceae family.  Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars are among the most beautiful caterpillars we have represented on our site, and for that reason we have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for September 2014.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large black beetle
Location: East Coast of Virginia
July 31, 2014 1:13 am
We had this beetle stuck in our air duct system. It was 2-21/2 inches long We live in temperate zone. Our home in on creek with marsh and trees. Temperatures are in 80-90’s with hug humidity.
Signature: Jennifer in Virginia

Triceratops Beetle

Triceratops Beetle

Dear Jennifer,
Hot, humid summer days in the eastern portion of North America is peak beetle sighting season, and that is the time large Scarab Beetles like your Triceratops Beetle are active.  You can compare your image to this image on BugGuide and according to BugGuide‘s information page, the Triceratops Beetle is:  “Black, distinctly flattened, both sexes with three prominent horns on head. Elytra deeply striated. … Both genders have horns. This is unusual among horned scarabs.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Food:  Adults of this genus will take fruit and meat in captivity. One sources says adults eat other insects.
Life Cycle:  Adults come to lights. Larvae feed in rotten logs, reported, in particular, from dead oaks. Presumably, males (?) use horns to defend breeding sites. Lifespan of adults is reported to be quite long (up to two years) in captivity. Reported to have structures for sound production (stridulation) (2). Stridulate softly when handled (P. Coin, Durham, NC 11 July 2007).  Larvae and adults are also “carnivorous” and will – if not preferentially – feed on grubs & pupae of other scarabs (incl. D. tityus).”

Triceratops Beetle

Triceratops Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  This is not the first time Megarhyssa atrata has been featured as Bug of the Month.

Subject: Female Megarhyssa Atrata
Location: St Paul, MN
June 25, 2014 9:13 am
After finding your great web site I learned the name of the bug in my back yard. They were on a tree we were cutting down. Because it seemed to be laying eggs I decided to leave the stump for a while. Attached are some photos you may use. It is interesting to me that I have never noticed these before.
Signature: DS in MN

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!

Dear DS in MN,
Thank you for your most kind compliment.  The ovipositing female Giant Ichenumon or Stump Stabber, 
Megarhyssa atrata, is one of the most iconic North American insects and her image has been used to illustrate even really early entomological tomes as well as many popular insect books with broad appeal to popular culture.  Your images are stunning, especially the first one that depicts two individuals.  Just exactly what is going on in that image is most curious.  The tangle of bodies makes it appear that both females are trying to oviposit in the same location.  The female Giant Ichneumon is able to detect the location of the larva of a Wood Wasp that is feeding beneath the surface.  The larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail will serve as the prey of the larval Stump Stabber.   We have designated your submission as the Bug of the Month for July 2014.

Megarhyssa atrata ovipositing

Megarhyssa atrata ovipositing

A large Stump Stabber can have an ovipositor nearly five inches long, and one of your images captures the classic position of a female looping the organ as she drills beneath the bark to deposit her egg where the young will have a food source.

One, impressive organ:  five inch ovipositor

One, impressive organ: five inch ovipositor

Update:  June 26, 2014
Dear Daniel Marlos,
I just had to write one more time. The first set of photos I sent were of the first time I had seen a flying insect of its kind, today I went to see if they were still on the stump, I found a new type. See attached photos. The first photo is from my phone. The second and fourth photos capture an ant crawling -shows size a little better. I am excited to show these, I hope you can use them.
Thanks
Dan
P.S. There were ovipositing female Megarhyssa strata remains (wings and part of a tail) left on the stump! I guess a bird had a good snack.

Megarhyssa macrurus

Megarhyssa macrurus

Wow, what a wonderful addition to the Bug of the Month posting.  Your new Ichneumon is most likely Megarhyssa macrurus, and you can compare your images to those on BugGuide.  Your observation and speculation about the bird is a very good guess.  The female Giant Ichneumon is quite vulnerable while her ovipositor is buried deep in the wood, and she would not be able to easily fly away from a predator.  We have also heard of female Giant Ichneumons getting stuck and being unable to withdraw the ovipositor.

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identifying an insect
Location: Saguaro National Park East in Tucson, Arizona
May 1, 2014 4:41 pm
While hiking in the Saguaro National Park East today, we encountered bugs that we had not seen before. They had red heads or eyes, with spotted yellow/green on their backs. The bug, itself was black underneath. They crawled at a good pace but seemed to like clinging to the small plants with leaves, possibly eating the leaves. They were about an inch in length. Today is May 1, 2014 and like I said, we had never seen them before and we hike there at least 4 times a week.
Signature: R A Kirby

Iron Cross Blister Beetles

Iron Cross Blister Beetles

Dear R A Kirby,
These are Iron Cross Blister Beetles in the genus
Tegrodera, and we generally get a few identification requests from Arizona and occasionally California each spring.  We are making this our Bug of the Month for May 2014.  The bright coloration is quite distinctive as well as being aposomatic or warning coloration.  Blister Beetles in the family Meloidae are able to secrete a compound, known as cantharadin, that might cause blistering in human skin.  The aphrodesiac Spanish Fly is made by grinding the bodies of a European Blister Beetle.  According to the Sonoran Desert Naturalist:  “Normally these beetles emerge in large numbers in mid to late spring and move together in bands crawling or running across the ground. They feed on succulent leaves and flower petals. The larva stage is subterranean and likely is parasitic in nests of ground-nesting bees.” 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: large moth
Location: southern nevada
March 31, 2014 7:07 am
the last few months these big moths have been everywhere and my little brother is dying to know what they are. i’d say it’s bigger than a quarter at least
Signature: curious

Whitelined Sphinx

Whitelined Sphinx

Dear curious,
We have been getting in increasing number of requests to identify Whitelined Sphinxes, the moth species in your image, and we have decided to make your submission the Bug of the Month for April 2014.  We suspect there might be a significant annual Whitelined Sphinx population this spring, and we also got a Wanted Poster from University of Entomology PhD candidate Cristina Francois to report significant sightings of masses of Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars.  During favorable years, the Caterpillars, which can be eaten, are found in great numbers.  We are currently observing Whitelined Sphinx Moths very regularly as they are attracted to the porch light.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination