From the monthly archives: "February 2004"

Need help with a beetle ID
I came across this beetle today at Cockroach Bay preserve which is part of Tampa Bay. The reserve is near Ruskin, Florida and the beetle was in a very sandy area with some scrub grassland with intermintent wildflowers and weeds. I know much more about birds and butterflies…but from what I could gather this may be some sort of stag beetle? It was good sized…maybe 1.5 inches in length or so. Any input on this beetle would be great!
Colin Gjervold
Sarasota, FL

Dear Colin,
I must confess I am intrigued by a place called Cockroach Bay and I’m not entirely sure I want to visit it. Your photo, on the other hand, is a new one for us. We checked with our expert at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, Weiping, who writes: “Sorry to answer you so late. I took yesterday off for vacation. This image is not a Dorcus parallelus. You can see five tarsi on the hind leg. I am sure it is belonging to Carabus sp. (Coleoptera: Carabidae), probably from Asia..”
Ed. Note:
(09/06/2004) Eric, another of our beetle experts, just wrote in saying: “The Carabus sp. from Cockroach Bay, FL is actually a species of Pasimachus. Neat!”
Since we always defer to more knowledgeable experts, we will include both possibilities.

Update: (08/22/2006)
Hello Lisa Anne and Daniel, I recently came across your website and I was pleased to see such a vibrant (and well-done) site. I’m an entomologist and evolutionary biologist (specializing on the systematics, taxonomy and evolution of tiger beetles and their close relatives) and I have to say that I’m impressed with your accuracy rate! It’s much, much better than other comparable sites I’ve come across over the years. The two of you must really love insects. In any case, I noticed that you are open to information from specialists, so I thought I’d give you a few ID’s of species that I came across on your pages. I was having trouble sleeping, so I went through all of the tiger beetles, scaratines, etc and checked them out. Here you go: I’ll bookmark your site and check it out when I’m having trouble sleeping again!
“Pasimachus possibly, or Carabus species (02/29/2004) Need help with a beetle ID” This is most definitely a Pasimachus! (you can omit the exclamation point and the following if you want to print this, but that beetle is unequivocally a Pasimachus, not a Carabus. Those two genera are very easy to separate from even a photograph on the basic of many characters such as antennal length and form, head width and shape, mandible length/shape, pronotal shape, etc.) It is Pasimachus marginatus at that, a lovely species found in Florida and other parts of the Southeast.
Daniel P. Duran
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

What the hell is this Bug?

It is some type of dead and sqashed Orthopteran, probably a grasshopper. Though the body is very short, the long straight wings and long jumping legs indicate some type of grasshopper. Your coin is unfamiliar, and you gave no location, so any attempt at an exact species is impossible.

Update: (05/30/2006) Recently, upon receiving additional images of this Crested Katydid, we properly identified it on our Katydid page. This letter just arrived though.
I can ID both the coin and the ‘hopper on your 02/19/2004 entry It’s the crested Grasshopper (Alectoria superba family Tettigonidae) and is a native of central Australia as is the Australian 10 cent coin shown with it! Actually – no need as I see several other people have already done so ahead of me. I liked the site tho’
Martyn Robinson

Hi Martyn,
Thanks to your letter, we realized we still had an unidentified image of the Crested Katydid remaining on the grasshopper page. We have posted your letter and cleaned up our classification.

Yesterday, I spotted what i thought was a hummingbird around my jasmine tree. Upon closer inspection it appeared to be a moth. The most identifiable featurewas it’s extremely bright solid orange wings. It’s body was a blueish purple color with some white markings. I have not been able to identify it on any websites. I will have my camera ready tomorrow. Thank you for your help. I live in South Florida.
Jim Harhart

Dear Jim,
We would love to have that photo if possible. I’m guessing a member of the genus Errinyis, with many members living in Florida. Their upper wings are usually grey, but the lower wings are bright orange. The bodies are often marked with white. My best guess is Errinyis ello. Its caterpillars feed on guava, poinsettia, myrtle and other plants. Here is an image I located online.

Hi. First, I want to thank you for your wonderfully informative site. I was trying to identify the very creepy looking critter in my bathtub and was able to find out that it was a house centipede and that I need not be afraid. 🙂 Anyway, I had gotten a pretty good picture of it and thought I’d pass it along in case you could make use of it.
Thanks again.

Hi Tina,
I’m glad we could be helpful. I will post your photo immediately. Since we get so many letters about House Centipedes, it is always nice to have a new image for the homepage.

Thanks so much for your prompt reply. I had to laugh at your response. I do get my nails done, but at the same time I am fascinated by bugs, lizards – critters in general. I’m a birder and I love to photograph wildlife. I know most women cringe at critters, but not me! Too bad you can’t identify our backyard lizard. I can’t identify him myself, using photos on the internet – I’ll copy a picture of him just for the heck of it, but I know you’re an expert on bugs, not lizards.

Hi Suze,
You have a tropical iguana running around your yard. Many people keep them as pets and they
escape or outgrow their homes, and they release them. They find the Florida climate very hospitable,
just like people, and they continue to grow and even reproduce. They love swimming pools as well.
Please continue to write when you have questions.

I am trying to figure out what this bug is – I think its all the same bug but in different stages of life cycle. I was bitten by one on my thumb. It burned really bad when stung and has been swollen, red and itchy for 2 days now. Any help would be appreciated. CHECK, THERE ARE TWO TYPES, ONE HAS BLACK WINGS AND THE SECOND IS GROWING WINGS.
Kim Shraibati
Austin , Texas

Dear Kim,
Your photos are stunning. You have been bitten by an Assassin Bug, Family Reduviidae, which will inflict a painful bite if carelessly handled. Most species are predaceous on other insects. They have piercing/sucking mouthparts which are very visible in your photos. Sorry I cannot give you an exact species name, but it appears you have a nymph and adult of the same species. It is probably a Zelus species.

Thanks. I think I must be extra allergic because the itching is pretty bad. Finally the swelling is going down. Now I know to stay pretty far away from those guys.