From the monthly archives: "April 2006"

Hello there! I have to start by saying what an impressive site you have! I am a fifth grade teacher in San Antonio Texas and my students happened to find this rather large caterpillar on their playground. They were very interested in it and want to keep it to see if it will grow into a butterfly or moth. We did some research on different caterpillars and compared them to what this one looks like. The closest match we could find was to the eyed hawk moth, but all references to the eyed hawk moth came from Europe. I found a moth that looks like the eyed hawk moth on your website called the Cerisy’s moth and searched the internet for pics of a cerisy’s caterpillar to no avail. We would really like to know what we have…. Our caterpillar is about 3 inches long and was found on the ground. He is lime green with diagonal white stripes and some pink dots (I think those are the spiracles) There are trees nearby and I think they are willow trees, but not positive. We put our little friend in an aquarium with a mesh top and some tree branches. It eats like crazy and seems to be happy with what we gave it. Can you identify him for us? We are hoping to see him turn into the moth before school gets out.
Christie and her very interested fifth graders.

Hi Christie and Students,
This is definitely a Sphinx Moth Caterpillar. We recommend Bill Oehlke’s awesome site, but it will take some major searching. We have seen this caterpillar before, but can’t put our finger on a name just yet. Meanwhile we will post until it is identified. Thanks for your touching letter.

Do you recognize this chrysalis?

The orneriness in us wants to just reply “yes” and leave it at that, but we do not have a representative image on the site and are happy to have your Sulphur Butterfly Chrysalis. Since you did not provide us with a location and since your image is cropped oddly, we are not sure of the species. If you are in the American Southwest, it is probably a Senna Sulphur, Phoebis sennae, that feeds on cassia.

Great new image & a friend
Yes, sorry. My husband noticed I had supplied NO info. I’ll try and take a better picture. I am in Houston. And I do have a cassia in the backyard. Glad to know it is doing it’s job. I considered taking the plant out because it is quite ugly. I tried to trim it and did a very poor job. I’ll keep it around now. Thanks for the info. It was a rather ugly looking . How do such things turn into beauties??? By the way, I loved your sight and will be sure to pass it on to my friends!! This is really cool! I went outside to take a better picture of the chrysalis that I sent yesterday and some information on it and look what I found!! How strange that they crawled to the same place to “hang out” together!!!! Their host plant is across the yard. I live in Houston and would love an identification of these beauties. Thank you,

Hi again Charlene,
We are certain you have a Senna Sulphur caterpillar and chrysalis. Wait for the gorgeous clear yellow butterflies to emerge and send a photo of them as well. They are strong fliers and difficult to approach.

I saw this critter in Hawaiian Paradise Park on the east side of the Big Island (Hawai’i) south of Hilo. I first saw a larger one that was gray-bodied and it had the same fan-shaped head. At first I thought it was a kind of earthworm or other kind of worm. But when I photographed this 2.5 in. one with the yellowish body and dark dorsal line, I noticed what appeared to be a slime trail. The larger gray one was about 6-7 in. long with a uniform thin body (not segmented like an earthworm), perhaps a bit thinner in aspect ratio that his one. It seemed to move faster than the typical slugs in Hawaii (Veronicella cubensis?) but perhaps it was the more animated movement of the fan-shaped head that created that illusion. The points of the head articulated like a slug’s "antennae". I didn’t want to turn it over to examine the ventral side. Might this be a juvenile form? Any idea what it is?
Les Chibana
Volcano, HI

Hi Les,
Thanks for sending this unusually colored Arrowhead Flatworm, a Planarium.

Update (04/26/2006): Arrowhead Flatworm in Maui
Aloha, I am impressed with the photo you just put up on your home page from the Big Island. We found this Arrowhead Flatworm in our outdoor shower a month ago, just after several days of rain. It was 4″ long and yellowish with black stripes down the entire length of it’s body. We had never seen one before so I contacted our local Dept. of Ag to inquire if it is considered an invasive species. Apparently the answer depends on your point of view. If you want earthworms for your garden, then the flatworm is invasive. If you have an abundance of the Giant African Snail, then you may appreciate the flatworm as it is a predator of said snail. I read on the internet that the flatworm expands to over twice it’s size after eating, but I have yet to find an earthworm to feed to it. It would not touch my composting worms. Keep up the excellent and entertaining work on your website! It is much appreciated. Aloha,
Kihei, HI

I thought I better ask befor touching it!
Hi guys!
It’s been a while since I’ve sent you any pictures, partly because I know just about every bug I see now due to you wonderful website! With that said, every once an awhile I come across a bug I have never seen before, or I can’t identify off of your website which is very rare. I submit to you this little beetle I found perching upon the side of my RV. At first glance, I thought it was one of those "kissing bugs" (please fill in the correct name) and I know those can bite hard. My son said, "Don’t touch it dad!" So I headed the wise words of my six year old and took a picture of it instead. Hope you can give this guy a name for us. Until next time!
Mike, Ryan & Jack
So. Cal

Hi Mike, Ryan and Jack,
This is a Western Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus clypealus. It is often found on junipers, but we have found them sucking the juices from pomegranates and know people who get them on tomatoes.

chrysalis id
hi there I have 8 of these guys hanging off my porch. sorry the pictures are black and white if this is not enough I will take some more pictures in color. the caterpillar before it changed was black and spiky with a reddish dot on each segment and yellowish feet. the chrysalis is light brown.
thank you,
Heather in San Diego

Hi Heather,
We just posted a photo of the adult Mourning Cloak Butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa, today, so it is wonderful to have your Chrysalis photo to accompany it.

Please help identify these home invaders
I have browsed through the common millipedes/centipedes and pantry beetles as suggested and haven’t quite been able to identify the insect invading my home. I believe it may be a centipede. These bugs first appeared en mass (about 40 found in half an hour) in my Toronto home at the end of March. They are very slow and ball up in their hard shells when approached. I do not believe them to be pantry beetles as I do not find them in my kitchen. They seem to be coming in from under the spare room (where there is no basement)where it attaches to the main house. I have hopefully filled the cracks now but would really like to know what these are so I can better prepare to defend my home. I apologize in advance that the 3rd picture is a bit blurry. Thank you,

Hi Karen,
These are not insects but Crustaceans. They are Terrestrial Isopods commonly known as Pill Bugs or Sow Bugs. Children sometimes call them Rollie-Pollies. They are more of a nuisance than a problem.