From the monthly archives: "November 2004"

What is this caterpillar?
I emailed earlier this month and not long after your site went down for a while so I don’t know if it went through. We found the caterpillar wandering on the ground and although he resembles the Heterocampa that someone sent from MO, ours is quite a shocking shade of hot pink. We are in Hempstead, TX. in the middle of the Post Oak belt. The caterpillar has formed a chrysalis and we will wait and see if it transforms. But I would really like to know what we are looking for.
Thanks in advance,
Joy Sebastian-Hall

Hi Joy,
Yes, you have a caterpillar from the genus Heterocampa. Somewhere I remember reading that they change color just before pupating. There is much color variation in the green, brown and pink range. The moths are a grey color.

Strange Cocoons
Hi, Bugman,
We have two unusual cocoons around our house in central Florida. They are dark, spikey, and about 2 or 3 inches in length. What kind of critter can we expect to emerge from them?

Hi Curious,
You have a type of Bagworm, probably Thyridopteryx sphemeraeformis. This is a type of moth that often infests conifers like arborvitae. The caterpillars form the protective bag and never leaves it. It then pupates in the bag. The female is flightless and remains in the bag after emerging, and the male which has wings searches her out to mate.

I saw this bug
Hi there, I am originally from Argentina but I live in Texas now. Today I found this bug that in Argentina we call "vinchuca" and transmit a disease called "chagas" is a very bad disease. Someone told me that is a inoffensive beetle but it looks like the vinchuca (or kissing bug). The picture is not very good because I was scared. Can you tell me what it is?
Thank you

Hi Adriana,
We also have a Kissing Bug that transmits Chagas Disease, but your photo looks like a Wheel Bug, one of the Assassin Bugs. It is difficult to be certain based on your photo, but the distinguishing feature is the coglike “wheel” on the thorax. Wheel Bugs are related to Kissing Bugs, and both are true bugs, or Hemipterans. Wheel Bugs are not known to be disease vectors, but they can bite painfully if mishandled. They are beneficial since they destroy many garden pests.

Ok, What is it..
I’m thinking it’s some type of mole cricket, but it is considerably larger than I’ve ever seen… I’m estimating 2.5 inches long
just curious

Hi Robert,
You have a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket which is related to Mole Crickets.

Could you please identify this pretty little critter. As you can tell it
likes mums. It is small and looks pinkish when fluttering.
Thank you.
Albany, GA

Hi Zaroga,
Your lovely photo is of a species of moth from the Family Arctiidae, or Tiger Moths. Our old Holland Book identifies it as Utetheisa bella or Beautiful Utetheisa. It is a common moth which frequents the blossoms of Goldenrod in the late summer and early fall. The moth exhibits some color variations and is found along the Atlantic Seaboard.

Can you please tell us what kind of bug this is?Hi WTB!
Hello WTB.
Can you please tell us what kind of bug this is? We sure hope so! We found this bug on the dirt path in our back yard. We caught it in our bug vacuum, shortly after releasing an ant lion. I am 8 and brother is 6 and we LOVE bugs, so you can expect lots of questions and photos from us in the future, now that we’ve discovered your great website. We are anxiously awaiting your answer. Thanks! We live in El Cajon, California.
Thank you for your help!
The RamFam4

Dear RamFam4,
Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you, but we have been busy and also the site was down, yet again, due to heavy traffic. We wrote to Eric Eaton for assistance on your beetle. He wrote back: “The hairy beetle is some kind of Tenebrionidae darkling beetle. I’ll forward this message to a friend of mine who is an authority on California beetles. He’ll probably know the genus at least.” We hope to hear more and get you a more positive identification.
Ed. Note: We later heard back from Eric who contacted expert Art Evans who contacted Warren Steiner at USNM. According to Art: “the winner is Trichiasida! This, according to my friend and teneb expert, Warren Steiner at the USNM. According to me, the likely species are hirsuta, hispidula, gabbi, or impetrata. The genus was last revised by T.L. Casey in 1912 and is need of revision!”