From the monthly archives: "August 2004"

I think that this is another hummingbird clearwing moth. If not, let me know. Thought you might like to have this pic. Thanks,

Hi Carol,
Thanks for the photo. It appears to be a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, Haemorrhagia thysbe, but it is impossibl to be sure from your photograph. It might be a closely related species.

This pic shows a different angle of the same bug. Maybe it will help to identify it.

Our best guess is Haemorrhagia axillaris, the summer form of the Snowberry Clearwing.

weird looking bug in Texas… please help!Hi! Please help us! My husband found this weird looking bug on our pine tree in Houston, TX . Two pictures are attached. It is probably 4-5 inches. Thank you!

Hi Jeanette,
You have a Sphinx Moth caterpillar, probably from the genus Pholus, probably Pholus satellitia, the Satellite Sphinx, or according to this site, Eumorpha satellitia satellitia. A variety, Pholus satellitia pandorus, is called the Pandora Sphinx. Some taxonomists call this moth Eumorpha pandorus. The caterpillar comes in several color variations, including green and reddish-brown. The food plant is the leaves of the grapevine. It appears to be on a vine climbing on your pine tree. Could that vine be grape?

Can you tell me the species of the spider in the attached pic? It ‘s about 4-5 in. in diameter. The web was huge and intricate. It’s legs are purple and yellow striped. I took this picture in Savannah, Ga. I know that it is not a bug, but wonder if you can still help.

Nephila clavipes is also known as a Silk Spider because of the strength of its web, and Banana Spider because of the coloring of its body. Your spider is a female. Males are tiny, the females weighing about 100 times more.

Strange caterpillar like bug in bottom of trash can
I have a trash can in my back yard that I had stored old bags of dog food. I went to empty it out tonight and the bottom of it was filled with this strange bug I have never seen. It looked like there were small ticks crawling all around them too! Pictures are included. Can you identify this for me?

Hi Greg,
Your photos are rather poor quality, so it is impossible to be certain. I am convinced you have some type of maggot. It looks like a Window Fly, Hermetia illucens, Maggot. This is a large black fly that resembles a wasp. According to Hogue: “The larva is robust, tapered in outline, and somewhat flattened, with a tough brown leathery skin covered with numerous short bristles. It is terrestrial and breeds in various organic substances, commonly decaying fruits and vegetables. In urban areas, the larva occurs in garden soil, in piles of compost and ground mulch, and near garbage pails that have been placed on soil.”

As we were responding to Greg, he emailed us back this note:
Garden Soldier fly larvae
I found the type of craeture it was I asked about. It is the garden soldier fly larvae. I have had a tick problem recenly and treated the yard for them. I think that they may have migrated to that small area too. Thanks anyway.
Greg L.

Hi Greg,
The Window Fly is a member of the Soldier Fly family Stratiomyidae.