From the monthly archives: "June 2006"

In all my 50 years I have never seen a big eye bug this big
I was wondering if you knew what type of bug this was. It was on my screen and when I got close to it it flew to the ground. I live in Central Florida. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Nan,
This is an Eyed Elater, one of the Click Beetles. The “eyes” are not real, but eyespots used to scare predators.

Odd torn wing moth…
Of all the moths we see around every year, we haven’t seen anything like this and was wondering could you identify it for us? We live in Northern California near Oregon. We found it inside our house.

Your moth is a Blinded Sphinx, Paonias excaecata. You can find more information on this moth on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.

What kind of moth is this?
This moth is clinging to my front screendoor. Can you tell me what it is? Thank you,
Elaine K. Goldsberry

Hi Elaine,
This is a female Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus. The Audubon Guide lists it as east of the Rocky Mountains, but according to Hogue, it is sometimes found in the Los Angeles Basin. The Polyphemus Moth is one of our Giant Silk Moths or Saturnid Moths. Adults do not eat and live just to mate. Since the Audubon Guide lists the flight of the adult moth in July, and since we get many questions regarding this moth in the summer, we have chosen it as our Bug of the Month for July 2006. We are currently experiencing and internet dilema, and are being forced back to dial-up. We will post and answer very very few letters in the next week, but we felt we needed a new Bug of the Month. Thanks for your worthy submission.

Update: (07/03/2008) polyphemous moth correction?
hi guys i love your site thank you!
the reason im writing is to let you know that the polyphemous moth is and has been in josephine county oregon my entire life and im older than dirt! we find them on storefronts in grants pass every year at about this time. i live on the north county line and had one on my door just a week ago (it is shown in oregon by the big sky moths website too.) no need to publish this just thought u would like to know..

Can you please identify this caterpillar (with picture)
I live in Suwannee County, FL and found this little critter out and about near the front porch this morning. My best guess is that it’s a Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar, however I am most often mistaken as opposed to correct with these assumptions. Would you mind helping me properly identify this caterpillar? As a note, when my dog tried to sniff at it, two spots on it’s head around the vicinity of it’s eyes bulged out big round bright orange spots about the size of two small drops of water. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the caterpillar to do it’s performance for the camera. Also, I tried looking up this caterpillar in your archives, but many of the pictures wouldn’t load.
Thanks for your time,

Hi Joe,
What an awesome photo of a Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar. The orange horns that appeared are a defense mechanism known as the osmeterium that produce a scent found offensive by predators.

Here is an insect I was hoping you could identify for me. It’s found in the rain forest of Brazil along the Amazon River. Thanks so much for any help you can give me. 🙂
Donna Riley

Hi Donna,
This is a Lanternfly, one of the Fulgorid Planthoppers. We are thrilled you send an open wing and a closed wing view.

Thanks SO much for your timely reply. Actually (did I tell you?) the photo was sent to me by a missionary Vaughn Goff whose work is in the Amazon jungle.

fire bug??
Found this beatle in the mountains of Idaho. Is this a fire bug? I thought red was usually a warning so we didn’t get too acquainted. Can you help me identify it??

Hi Allyson,
Despite being red, this is a Golden Netwing Beetle, Dictyopterus aurora. It is found in much of North America, in woodlands with decaying logs.