From the monthly archives: "January 2005"

What is this ??
My 6 year old daughter is fascinated with insects. She found this in our front yard and I have no idea what it is. Will you please help us shed some light on what this insect is? Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!

Hi Dana,
Your daughter found a Tersa Sphinx Pupa, Xylophanes tersa tersa, a member of the Family Sphingidae also known as Hawk Moths or Hummingbird Moths. Here is a link that will show you the life cycle of the moth. According to the site, ” Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers or leaf litter just prior to eclosion.” This could explain its appearance as your photograph indicated, which will also mean the adult moth will soon emerge. You didn’t state your location, but the site also maintains the moth “flies from Massachusetts south to south Florida; west to Nebraska, New Mexico, and southern Arizona; south through Mexico, the West Indies, and Central America to Argentina. An occasional stray makes its way into Canada.”

new pic of bug
hey thanks for your help i found a dead bug after spraying and got a couple of better pics of it this one is one of the little ones i had mentioned i hope these pics are better in helping you tell me what they are like i said before i have only found five now and i have sprayed three times. thanks for all your help
thank you

Hi Amos,
Your new photo definitely is of an immature cockroach. It looks to be a German Cockroach, Blattella germanica, which is an insidious pest. It is recognized by the two darker longitudinal stripes on the head shield. Better find the breeders as well or you might quickly be overrun.

unknown bug
Dear Bugman,
Orlando, FL is the location. Found this winged bug (attacking???) fuzz ball in the eaves of garage. The fuzzballs appear to be attaching a hibernating caterpillar of some sort to the eaves. I am not sure if this winged black bug was helping the sleeping caterpillar or trying to eat it. Neither was very active. Can you ID and/or explain?
Thank you.

Hi Niteowl,
Your insect is a Polka-Dot Wasp Moth, Syntomeida epilais. The caterpillars eat leaves from oleander. I’m guessing your specimen is newly emerged from the cocoon in the eaves.

Unknown Beetle
Here is a beetle I’ve found in my yard. Sorry the picture isn’t very good but I was wondering if you can identify it for me. We live in Pequannock, NJ and it was around the garden. I’ve seen it maybe once before a year or two ago.

Hi Loretta,
You don’t have a beetle but a True Bug or Hemipteran. It is immature so it is difficult to be sure of the species.

Thank you for your quick response. In that case then, I guess if I don’t keep one in a jar, I may never know : ). Thanks for looking though. Your site is very interesting. I will show it to my children. It also might help me on my diet if I look at it on a regular basis! Loretta

Two More Puzzling Specimens
Dear Mr. Marlos?
Thank you very much for identifying my previous mystery insect: the Trichiotinous bee-scarab. It was one of several insects which I have yet to ID. If you and your colleagues would be so kind as to have a crack at naming another two specimens of mine, I would be most pleased. The first, found near my home on Vancouver Island is likely a dung beetle but of an unknown genus (to me). The second, from my region as well, has proven to be even more challenging to ID. I am not even certain of it’s family and I hesitate to call it a scarab even though it exhibits several anatomical features which resemble those of such a beetle. (See attached photos for both.) On a final note, might I request the urls of the best sites in your opinion that may aid me in my quests for further insect identification? This may save me from troubling you with more ID requests in the future. Thanks again,

Rugose Stag Beetle Bolboceras obesas

Dear Sandy,
We always love turning to a real beetle expert, Eric Eaton, with difficult identifications. Here is what he has to say: “Well, as luck would have it, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and both these species are familiar to me. Both are males. Females do not have horns. The top [first] image in your e-mail to me is of a rugose stag beetle, Sinodendron rugosum. They are usually found in rotting logs. The second image is of an earth-boring scarab (family Geotrupidae). The species is Bolboceras obesus. Females dig burrows terminating in cells which they provision with fine humus, which serves as food for their offspring (grubs). Neat insects. I’ve never seen one alive, but they are supposedly common. Thank you for sharing.”
Regarding our favorite websites, we recommend Angel Fire and for caterpillars, we like Caterpillars of the Eastern Forests.

can you tell me what this bug is?
I live in Oakland, California and I found this bug on my outside my window. I have never seen anything like it. Can you tell me what it is?
Thanks. ~ Jeni

Hi Jeni,
It is difficult to be certain as your photo is blurry. It is definitely a True Bug or Hemipteran. Judging by the silhouette and coloration, I’m guessing a Brochymena. These are brown to mottled grey with a pebbly surface, from 1/2 to 5/8 inch long. Their coloration makes them difficult to spot on the bark of trees. They prey on caterpillars and other soft injurious insects, hence they are beneficial in the garden and in orchards.