From the monthly archives: "October 2005"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unidentified butterfly or moth
I was photographing butterflies in August here in eastern Nebraska and ran across this little fellow. I can’t seem to identify it from my butterfly reference books, so perhaps it is a moth. As you will note from the photo, it appears to gather pollen on it’s legs, like a bumblebee. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks!
Doug Wulf

Hi Doug,
The pretty little Eight Spotted Forester, Alypia octomaculata, is a day flying moth that is often mistaken for a butterfly. That is not pollen on the legs, but brilliant orange hairlike scales. Caterpillars feed on Virginia Creepers, grape and Boston ivy.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Carrion beetle?
Hi Bugman –
Here are four pictures I took under my microscope. This beetle was found in a dermestid beetle culture by a taxidermist friend who does skull cleaning like myself. At first I thought it was a small carrion beetle Leptodiridae but it doesn’t have the small 8th antenna segment, Distinguishing features seem to be the clubbed antenna, protruding abdominal segments, hairy surface, metallic green (blusish) with reddish legs, tarsal code is 3-3-3 I think. Can you help with this. It’s quite beautiful. The beetle pictures I sent – the specimen was 5.5 mm long. Thanks.
Dr Whitey
Science Teacher; Clinton Tennessee

Hi Dr, Whitey,
We are very happy to get your photo of a Red Legged Ham Beetle, Necrobius rufipes. Here is a quote from the BugPeople Site: “This beetle was more important before refrigeration, when dried or smoked meats were more common. Larvae bore into meats, particularly the fat parts, do most of the damage; the adults are surface feeders. The redlegged ham beetle has also been recorded attacking cheese, bones, hides, drying carrion, copra, salt fish, herring, dried egg yolks, dried figs, “guano”, bone meal, palm-nut kernels, and Egyptian mummies. Substances infested but not fed upon have been silk, baled cotton, and woolen goods. “

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Some type of shield bug?
We have some type of Shield Bug (we think), and were wondering if you could help us identify it, an maybe pass along any information on it. We live in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California (Between San Jose and Santa Cruz), it is a forrested area, Redwoods, Douglas Firs, and some oak. It is a true bug with 8 legs, and as I said we think it is a type of shield bug. My 5 year old daughter has twice captured this bug, and has named him (?) Harold. Any information you could pass along would be great, she loves bugs and we hope to encourage this passion.
Alissa and Rowan
PS. Are you familiar with the Video "A Day With Bugs"? If so could you suggest any other similar insect videos for children, we watch this one at least once a day. Thanks Again.

Hi Alissa and Rowan,
You are correct. This is a Shield Bug, Family Pentatomidae. This is actually a Brochymena, one of the predatory Stink Bugs. It is well camouflaged for blending in with tree bark. They are found in orchards, woods and isolated trees. They feed on caterpillars and other soft bodied insects.
We are not familiar with the video you mentioned, but personally we love Microcosmos.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

small critters in my room
Hi! I discovered your site while trying to identify the very small bugs that keep on squeezing their way into my room. Makes me reluctant to open my window, because whenever i find them, they are either dead or dying. And i always seem to find them near my window. Since i’ve only seem them dead, i don’t have much information besides the photo i’ve attached. i hope the picture works…
Thank you!
Brenda from Ontario

Hi Brenda,
The Western Conifer Seed Bug often seeks shelter from the cold inside homes. It won’t damage your interior. It is just cold.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

two moth photos
Your site is wonderful! I’m a big insect person, and I’ve often needed help identifying insects, especially moths and butterflies. The photos people submit are lovely! I know you’ve already got both of these on your site already (Clymene moth – Haploa clymene, and Polyphemus moth – > Antheraea polyphemus), but I thought perhaps you might like them anyhow. Please keep up the great work! (Both of these were taken at my house in Tallassee, AL. In the clymene photo, you can see my cat Gizmo eyeing the moth
Kristina Pendergrass
Auburn University, AL

Clymene MothPolyphemus Moth

Hi Kristina,
So sorry for the long delay. We are posting both of your photos on our moth 2 page. The Polyphemus image is one of the nicest we have ever received. It seems funny seeing them side by side as the scale is so different, but they appear almost equal in size.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Pacific Tussock Moth
I’m just one of those people who work at the Exploratorium who loves your site, so I thought you might like to see an invader that concerned me earlier this year. The caterpillar in question was eating all the ground cover over a large area on the side of the hill where I live on Mount San Bruno, just south of San Francisco. Here’s what it looked like on the human-scale: Note the brown eaten area. Not a leaf left! I consulted a local expert and he informed me that the culprit was the Pacific Tussock Moth, Hemerocampa vetusta, which I couldn’t find in your collection of caterpillars, so here you go – a small portion of the MILLIONS that were out there: And a close-up: Keep up the good work!

Hi Ron,
Thank you for the nice letter. As you stated, this is a new species for us. We always like to research new species. We did locate a caterpillar on BugGuide that looks identical to yours that is identified as the Western Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Orgyia vetusta. The genus formerly known as Hemerocampa is now recognized as Orgyia. Thank you for the images.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination