Subject:  Fun red bug of Togo
Geographic location of the bug:  Sokodé, Togo
Date: 04/22/2018
Time: 10:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this red bug in Togo which fascinates me.  Can you identify it, please?
How you want your letter signed:  Jerry Day

Immature Red Bug

Dear Jerry,
Your image is really great, but we are not going to be able to provide you more than a very general identification.  This is an immature Red Bug in the family Pyrrhocoridae, and we suspect it is probably a Cotton Stainer in the genus
Dysdercus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Colorful Ecuadorian caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Rio Silanche Sanctuary, Ecuador
Date: 04/21/2018
Time: 11:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Daniel, et al.
While visiting Ecuador mid-January 2017, I unfurled this Pyrginae  caterpillar from it’s shelter.  Sorry, I don’t know what plant it was on.  I wonder if one of your experts can tell me the name of the skipper.
Thanks much,
How you want your letter signed:  Dwaine

Skipper Caterpillar

Hi Dwaine,
This is a gorgeous caterpillar.  Upon embarking on identification research, we quickly found this very different, but also colorfully striped Skipper Caterpillar on FlickR and another Skipper Caterpillar (
Astraptes fulgerator) from Brazil on FlickR, shot by the same photographer, is an even closer match to your individual.  Despite the color difference, we would not rule out that your individual might be Astraptes fulgerator or another member of the genus.  Caterpillars often change color just prior to metamorphosis, and pink and purple are two colors some caterpillars assume when undergoing morphological changes.  This Biodiversity in Focus article cites the genus Astraptes and DNA identification, and it contains an image of some variability in Astraptes caterpillars based on food plants.  There are also images of Two-Barred Flasher Caterpillars on the North American Butterfly Association of South Texas site.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can provide any information.

Skipper Caterpillar

Thank you so much!!  That is a wealth of information I did not have.

Subject:  Black flying bug in large window
Geographic location of the bug:  UK
Date: 04/18/2018
Time: 01:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  For the first time I’ve been seeing these beetles (?) in a large window in our house. Half a dozen will be seen over the course of a day. The seem to crawl on it around the window, in our sitting room only. No food is present, no flour in the house.
The are approx 5mm long. The can fly but are slow to do so.
Have seen a few for the last couple of months, but now we are in Springtime the appear more frequently.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
How you want your letter signed:  DS

Deathwatch Beetle

Dear DS,
This looks to us like a Deathwatch Beetle in the genus
Ptilinus, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae are wood-borers [our spp. in hardwood.”  UK sightings are documented on UK Beetle Recording and according to the Website of the Watford Coleoptera Group:  “A wood borer, colonies of which are usually found in dry exposed Faguswood but a wide variety of hosts have been recorded including Sambucus, Fraxinus, Acer, Quercus, Ulnus etc as well as plywood and ornamental timber ¹. Both standing and felled timber are attacked.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Subject:  What are these Assassin Bug nymphs doing?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 04:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  That’s definitive, but what are they doing rolling around those sacks, and some of the sacks have been hung up?
Thanks for identifying.
How do you want your letter signed:  Mel Frank

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs with “Pod”

Ed. Note:  We met recently with noted author Mel Frank (see Amazon) and we correctly identified what he thought were Assassin Bug nymphs found on Cannabis as Leaf Footed Bug nymphs, probably in the genus Leptoglossus, based on BugGuide images as well as images from our own archives, and he wrote back wondering about this unusual activity.

“Pods” hung by immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi again Mel,
As we stated earlier, these Leaf Footed Bug nymphs are phytophagous, meaning they feed on plants.  Like other members of the True Bug suborder Heteroptera, they have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids, and members of this genus are frequently found on plants like tomatoes, pomegranate and citrus, and they damage fruit.  BugGuide notes:  “some are extremely polyphagous” indicating that they will feed from many types of plants.  Some typically plant feeding True Bugs are known to feed on dead and dying insects, including members of their own species, but that is opportunistic behavior and not true predatory behavior.  What you witnessed and observed over time, the nymphs “rolling around those sacks” and then hanging them up, sounds like the behavior of a predator storing food the way spiders wrap up prey with silk.  We wonder, perhaps, if while feeding by sucking the fluids from your
Cannabis, these Leaf Footed Bugs ingested cannabinoids resulting in altered “mindbending” behavior similar to experiments on a Spider’s ability to spin a web after exposure to drugs (see Priceonomics).  We have not clue at this time exactly what is in that sack these nymphs were rolling around, or why they were rolling them around and hanging them up.  It is a mystery.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he knows anything about this type of behavior in Leaf Footed Bugs from the family Coreidae.  We can’t help but be reminded of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and the aliens using pods to generate simulacra of humans. 

Subject:  Is this a beetle ?
Geographic location of the bug:  France
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 06:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I would really like to find out what kind of bug this is I’m reallh curious, I found it late at night in my garden, thank you for any help.
How you want your letter signed:  Thomas Young

Cockchafer

Dear Thomas,
This Scarab Beetle,
Melolontha melolontha, is commonly called a Cockchafer or Billy Witch in England.  According to Cabi, the International common names include:  “French: hanneton commun; man; turc.”

Subject:  Giant Swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 011:20 AM EDT
This morning from the window, Daniel noticed this Giant Swallowtail land in the meadow out front.  Daniel has learned through the years to get a shot quickly before fine tuning adjustments and camera angle, and sure enough, as he moved closer for a better angle, this beauty flew off.  If memory serves us correctly, Giant Swallowtails, which are native to the eastern United States, first appeared in Los Angeles around 1998.  Cultivation of citrus trees and the adaptation of citrus trees as an acceptable food for the caterpillars have led to this significant range expansion.

Giant Swallowtail