From the monthly archives: "July 2005"

monarchs on my milkweed
I still like the milkweed beetles more, but this is the initial reason I decided to let the milkweed grow rampant in my garden (despite my neighbor’s request that I pull it all in the spring). I hope these are indeed real monarchs, please let me know if they aren’t.

Hi John,
The Monarchs have landed. We hope you get caterpillars.

Black Bug w/attachment
Please find attached some pictures in a zip file of this black bug I can’t identify. It prefers shady areas and when threatened it either flips on its back and feigns death or it raises its tail up much like a scorpion. I’m not sure if its tail is barbed though. I’m in ireland and haven’t seen this type of bug around here before. Could it posibly be a more exotic species come in on imports of fruit or such? Thanks for your time, much obliged.

Hi Conor,
I have Devil’s Coach Horses, Staphylinus olens, in my Southern California garden. It is native to Europe, but was introduced to Southern California in 1931. They are great in the garden because they eat snails and slugs. Though they have a frightening defensive posture, they have no sting, but can emit a malodorous fluid leading to its scientific name which means stinking.

beetle that’s been seen eating roses
First I just want to say that I greatly enjoy your website, there are some fantastic pictures on there, and I could spend hours going through them all. Second, I’ve found a beetle that I don’t think I saw amongst the many pages of beetles you had represented. These were found on some rose plants on the campus of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. They appear to have done quite a bit of damage to the roses, as you can see. Thanks in advance!

Hi Frank,
The Japanese Beetle was first discovered in this country in New Jersey in 1916 and has spread throughout most of the East where they have become a horrible pest. They are beautiful beetles that are hated by all rose gardeners. The grubs feed on the roots of grasses damaging lawns. You can purchase Japanese Beetle traps from a garden supply department.

Hi. I love your site. Hopefully you can help me identify this beetle found on a flower in eastern ontario.

Hi Mike,
Despite being called the Pennsylvania Leather-Wing, the range of Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus extends beyond the Keystone state. Adults eat pollen and nectar and are often found on goldenrod and in meadows, fields and gardens. Larvae prey on grasshoppereggs, small caterpillars and beetles. The are great biological controls for Corn Earworms.

can you identify this spider?
I’ve attached a picture of spider I found on a bush outside my house (I live in western PA). I’ve looked everywhere on the web, but haven’t been able to identify it. I’ve never seen anything like it before. The closest type it resembled was the horny orb weaver, but wrong part of the country. Can you help?
p.s. I’m still trying to get a better shot of it, but it’s not moving around much.

Hi Ann,
Our old Comstock book identifies this orb weaver as Argyrodes nephilae. It is common in the South and is distinctive because of the triangular abdomen. Comstock writes: “that a large part of the upper portion of the abdomen is silver-white; so that it appears like a drop of quicksilver.” It sometimes leads an independant life and other times it shares a web with Nephila clavipes in a communal existance.

fishing spider ?
Just logged onto your neat site. I think I have a fishing spider here, but not sure what it’s carrying. Can you help me out.
Thank you, Al Chartier

Hi Al
Fishing Spiders in the genus Dolomedes belong to the larger Family Pisauridae, the Nursery-Web Weavers. The female spiders, according to Comstock: “From the time the egg-sac is made until the spiderlings are ready to emerge, the mother carries about with her, wherever she goes, this great silken ball with its load of eggs or of young. the difficulty of doing this can be seen by a glance at … [your photos]. The egg-sac is held under the body; and is so large thaqt the mother is forced to run on the tips of her tarsi in order to hold the load clear of obstructions. … Just before the young are ready to emerge from the egg-sac, or just after they begin to do so, the mother fastens it among leaves at the top of some herbaceous plant or at th end of a branch of a shrub, and builds a nursery about it by fastening the leaves together with a network of threaeds. She then remains on the outside of the nursery guarding the young.” Thank you for your wonderful contribution to our site.