From the monthly archives: "August 2005"

What’s this teal caterpiller
I thought I sent this to you back in June but could find no answer. Found in Detroit area in June. Looked everywhere for a picture of it to no avail. Any idea?
Thanks, Chris

Hi Chris,
This is a Forest Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria. Although a gregarious feeder, this caterpillar does not form a tent. It is occasionally a pest, feeding on aspens, gums, maples, oaks, and many other forest and orchard trees. Caterpillar is found April to June. Here is a Florida site with information aplenty.

Help ID’ing a bug
Hi, can you help me identify the following very scary looking bug I found in my Seattle office? It raised its hind up like a scorpion to sting when it got scared (I’m speculating on its emotional state), and it appears to have a stinger, as well as some nice pincers? 6 legs and a couple antennas, I think.

Hi Jason,
Though an introduced species from Europe, this Rove Beetle, the Devil’s Coach Horse, is a gardener’s friend since it is one of the few predators that will eat snails and slugs. The defensive posture is a sham as the beetle has no stinger. It is harmless.

Pics from Az
Found in Payson Arizona late August.
Thanks Danny

Hi Danny,
Though we have received many photos of the Eastern Hercules Beetle, this is our first of the Western Hercules Beetle or Grant’s Rhinoceros Beetle, Dynastes grantii. The Western Hercules Beetle has a much larger horn on the male, nicely illustrated in your photo. We are also including the image of the female beetle you sent later.

I was wondering what this moth is – basking in the heat
Living in Southern California in 100 degree+ heat brings out the oddest creatures. This moth is was baskiing in the sun atop our patio cover but has now flown. As you can see it is a significant size. It is over 2" from head to toe and has 5" wingspan when resting. It is the size of a small sparrow.
Malcolm Carter
Menifee, CA

Hi Malcolm,
Both your moth and the Modest Sphinx are referred to commonly as the Big Poplar Sphinx. Some authors consider your moth, the western species, to be a subspecies of the other. Other authors consider them to be separate species. Here is as site that names your moth Pachysphinx occidentalis.

Gray hoards win squash
Hi Bug Man!
My first crop of spaghetti squash has yielded one small prize, and look who got it first. I didn’t find anything similar on the site. Know these guys?
Kelly B., Grafton, Massachusetts

Hi Kelly,
These are immature Squash Bugs, Anasa tristis. How surprising is that? I found a site with more information.

Thank you Daniel. Looks as though they are what killed the vine, too. Don’t think I’ll be eating that squash. Your site is saved under “favorites,” and my five-year-old son and I visit often. What a fun way to learn! We usually find what we’re looking for just by looking through the excellent photos — like the dobson fly, the hummingbird moth, and that freaky burying beetle that scared me half to death last year when I saw an obviously dead bird writhing and flopping about at my front door. My nickname for that bug is the re-animator beetle! Thank you for a wealth of information. -Kelly B.