From the monthly archives: "March 2006"

Three species in one???
Howdy kind bug people!
(Cleveland, Ohio, USA) I found this guy while repainting my garage last summer (2005) and have off and on tried to identify it and talk with people about it. Just found your site this morning and spent a few hours looking at photos trying to find something closely resembling my specimen. Nothing looked similar so I hope dearly that this post is not wasting your time and gives a proper challenge to experts in the field. The pictures are poor because i was on a ladder and had bad sun issue and an older digital camera that is not well suited to detailed closeup shots. Anyway, the body of this guy looked to be wasp-like, but the head and front two legs were almost definately mantis-like. The closest thing I could conclude about the wings is that they look similar to a cicada. Needless to say, i’m stumped. I respect all forms of life, though a few bugs can send my body into the flight or fight response. I kept my calm and so did this guy as he did not seem to mind my presence and only moved slightly when I got very close with the camera. Image breakdown: 0851.jpg and 0852.jpg are about the best shots I have for the overall picture of the insect. the forearms are fairly visible under the head tucked up in the "praying" pose. four legs visible under thorax and wing definition is clear. 0859.jpg is blurry but I included it because it shows the profile of the forearms as the insect moved and stretched them out. Very "paddle like" that may have some leaf-camoflauge purpose. 0863.jpg and 0864.jpg also show profile but in good focus that reveals antennae. Also of note (i think), the thorax in profile shows a good bit wider than the abdomen. Not sure what this could be, but doesn’t quite look right in my mind’s eye. Ok, that’s my crude analysis. If you need more information about what I saw, please feel free to write me back. I know you are swamped with reader mail, but I do hope you can help me out with Identifying this perpelexing creature!

Of course right after i send the email do i stumble upon the Lacewing section (thought it would be more moth/butterfly like so never checked it) and found the picture of the Mantispid from Detroit. Very similar to the specimen I found. Sorry to bother you, but thanks for the site, now I can rest easy(ier). cheers,

Hi Dan,
Thank you for using our site to identify your Mantispid. Your specimen is, we believe, in the genus Mantispa.

We had a wonderful holiday in Florida in November 2004. When we were leaving one of the parks in Orlando I saw this beautiful ‘insect’ and have meant to look it up ever since. My sons and I were mesmerised by it. I asked some American people who were also on holiday if it was a native of Florida and they said that it had probably come in after some storms as they had never seen such an insect before either. It gathered quite a crowd in the end! I decided tonight that I’d try and find out what this lovely bug was. I have it as a screensaver on my computer but have often wondered about it – so thanks to your website I now know! I thought I’d send you my photographs. Another ‘wasp’? came along and one of my photos shows both so that I could remember how big this beautiful insect really was! Hope to visit America again soon to see if we can find any more beautiful creatures like this. Thank you from Wales, U.K.

Hi Marian,
Thanks for your lovely letter and your wonderful photo of a Polka Dot Wasp Moth. The Honey Bee provides a nice sense of scale.

Thank you so much. I am attaching 3pics of a Luna moth. hope you enjoy them – looking it up is what led me to your site (google). Again you are amazing, thanks

Hi again Kathy,
Thanks for the follow-up letter, and it brings up an interesting possibility. Luna Moth Cocoons are nearly always found on the ground, but we have heard that sometimes they remain attached to trees. The Luna Cocoon looks very similar to the Polyphemus Cocoon. Perhaps, just maybe, your cocoon is a Luna Moth Cocoon.

I thought you may want this picture. My sister found this Luna Moth caterpillar back in September. It was huge. It’s the best picture of its kind that I’ve seen.

Hi Jennifer,
We agree your photo is stunning. The coloration has changed from green to reddish and this is a sign that pupation is imminent.

Superb Katydid, Alectoria superba
G’Day Bugman, I’ve been looking for a way to ID this grasshopper and came across your web page . Saw one that looks the same but there was no info. Lets try with a bit more info. Location : Kookynie, Western Australia. North Eastern Goldfields 29/03/2006 Occasional appearance usually in Feb March when more than average rainfall is expected. Do you know what it is ?
Kevin Pusey

Hi Kevin,
We spent several hours researching online when the other photos arrived several days ago. Because of the antennae, we have decided this creature is in the family Tettigoniidae, the Long-Horned Grasshoppers and Katydids. We are mystified that we could not identify this very distinct insect. Maybe your location information will help us find the answer. Perhaps what is necessary is a fieldguide to Australian insects. We have been toying with the idea of applying for grant money to embark on the What’s That Australian Bug? project, but that might just be an excuse to travel.

Update (03/29/2006) Moments later we got the following letter:
Hi Bugman, I noticed the picture of the ‘crested katydid’ you had been sent from Australia. I believe this is the Superb Katydid (Alectoria superba). Hope this is of help. Keep up the good work.
Aaron in London, UK