Currently viewing the tag: "bug of the month"
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

Subject: Weird pod I’m hoping will hatch a wonderful creature
Location: Brooklyn, NY
March 1, 2014 2:38 pm
Hi Bugman–
Yesterday my daughter and I found this strange pod under some oak trees in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY. It looks like some kind of cocoon–it has an imprint of a leaf on what seems like a hardened foamy surface. We’ve had a lot of storms lately so all kinds of things have been shaken lose from trees. It’s about two inches long.
Also, if it is some kind of cocoon, how should I care for it?
Signature: Carol Vinzant, editor, animaltourism.com

Cecropia Moth Cocoon

Cecropia Moth Cocoon

Dear Carol,
If it is viable, this Giant Silk Moth Cocoon will produce a gorgeous once the weather warms.  Keeping it indoors with warmth due to artificial heat will cause it to eclose early and result in a sterile death without reproduction. Giant Silkmoths only live long enough to mate and lay eggs, and they have atrophied mothparts, so they can’t even eat.  We believe this is either the cocoon of a Luna Moth or of a Polyphemus Moth.

Wow, that’s fantastic! I can’t wait to see what happens.
I didn’t understand from your message if I should keep it indoors or out. Right now it’s in a sheltered area with outdoor temperatures. When do they hatch?
Carol Vinzant

We don’t know what the ambient temperature needs to be before eclosion will occur, but we suspect it will hatch in the spring.

Great, thanks for all your help.
I blogged about the cocoon and your answer here: http://animaltourism.com/news/2014/03/13/what-to-do-with-cocoons-falling-from-late-winter-trees
Carol Vinzant
animaltourism.com

Thanks for the kind website plug Carol.

Update:  June 19, 2014:  Cocoon Hatches into Polyphemus Moth
thanks again for your help on this. it hatched the first week of june! it was a polyphemus. we released it back to the park.
http://animaltourism.com/news/2014/06/19/mystery-cocoon-revealed-giant-polyphemus-moth
Carol Vinzant

Polyphemus Moth

Polyphemus Moth

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weta bug?? In the Pilbara
Location: Tom Price
February 1, 2014 6:57 am
Hi. I work in Tom Price in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. I have seen this (what looks to be a female juvenile) weta walking around at night. But from all my research they are from New Zealand. .. can you tell me if they have been seen here before. None of the locals knew what it was…
Signature: Peta Louise

King Cricket

King Cricket

Dear Peta Louise,
Wetas and King Crickets belong to the family Anontostomatidae, and according to records posted to the Atlas of Living Australia, there are sightings from Pilbara.  While the Weta species found in New Zealand may be endemic and not found in Australia, there are representatives of the family in Australia where the common name King Cricket is used.  You can view some images of both female and male King Crickets,
Australostoma australasia,  on Aussie Pythons & Snakes.  You are correct that this is a female, but not necessarily a juvenile.  We also located a matching photo on FlickR.  Because they are large and formidable looking, King Crickets are often victims of Unnecessary Carnage.  We are tagging your submission as the Bug of the Month for February 2014.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Happy New Year
What’s That Bug? has been appearing as an online column since 1998 (originally on the now defunct American Homebody website) and then as a unique website since 2002.  If we consider the development of the website to be our true date of birth, we are beginning our thirteenth year online.  Our first Bug of the Month was the Dobsonfly in June 2006, and each month since then, we featured some bug that is representative of the season or relevant for some other reason.  Since the beginning of the new year is always a kind of rebirth, we thought you might enjoy this positively gorgeous set of images of the Metamorphosis of the Ladybird Beetle that were shot on Barbados.

Ladybird Beetle Eggs

Ladybird Beetle Eggs

Subject: different stages in a ladybird’s development
Location: Barbados
December 30, 2013 8:39 pm
Hi Daniel,
That is good to know. i will send in some pics occasionally but for now i think this set will make a great addition to your site. It is a set of the different stages in a ladybird’s development. eggs > larvae > pupa > adult and one of an adult with a buffet of aphids.
Regards,
Signature: Niaz

Ladybird Larva

Ladybird Larva

Dear Niaz,
Thank you so much for sending us your beautiful images documenting the metamorphosis of a Lady Beetle on Barbados.  We haven’t had much luck determining the species, however we are thrilled to find it is not the invasive, exotic Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, a species that has gotten a strong hold in North America, and which we fear might be resulting in a drop in the populations of native Lady Beetle species because of the fierce competition as well as aggressive predation.

Lady Beetle Pupa

Lady Beetle Pupa

It is the time of the month for us to select a Bug of the Month for January 2014, and we have selected your submission to run on our scrolling banner for the next month.  We thought metamorphosis would be a lovely subtext for the beginning of the new year.  So Happy New Year to all of our faithful readers as well as to our new visitors.

Lady Beetle from Barbados

Lady Beetle from Barbados

As an aside, the photo of the Lady Beetle feeding on the Aphids allows us to tag this as a Food Chain posting.

Lady Beetle feeds on Aphids

Lady Beetle feeds on Aphids

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination