From the monthly archives: "September 2006"

Red, spiky fly?
This guy flew into a leaf and fell in front of me last week when I was in upstate New York…I’ve never in my life seen a bug like this. He must be some variety of fly, could you please tell me what he is, exactly? I don’t mind how long you take to answer, even if it’s like, 2 months. I understand you’re busy, so if nothing else, at least I can give you a cool photo of a weird bug! Thank you very much!

Hi Jennifer,
The Beelike Tachinid Fly, Bombyliopsis abrupta, is an important biological control agent. They parasitize caterpillars.

I thought you might like this
I saw on your site that you were looking for a photo of an ‘orange dog’ and I believe this is it. I found these huge caterpillars in late June on my lemon tree in Arlington, Texas. Stretched along the branches, they were perfectly camouflaged as bird droppings. When disturbed, they display a red-orange star-shaped organ that smells like ‘caterpillars’. The scent is what clued me in to their presence. I smelled them while watering the little tree. These are very large, scary-looking caterpillars, and I wore gloves to pick them up; however, they didn’t harm anyone. We kept these in an aquarium on the back porch (with netting over the top) and I sacrificed a few more of my lemon leaves to allow them to reach maturity. We released six of the adults in early July. Unfortunately I was unable to photograph the adults.
P.S. Love your site.

Hi Char,
Your letter is quite wonderful. Since that request was made, we have received several wonderful images of Orange Dogs, but yours is the first submission of a Chrysalis, which excites us to no end. Swallowtail Chrysalids can be distinguished by the girdle of silk that keeps the pupa in an upright position.

Photo of Golden Orb Weaver (Argiope aurantia)
I don’t need help identifying this one (I think). It seems to perfectly fit the female Golden Orb Weaver, according to everything I’ve seen.
Greg Gorman
Louisville, KY

Hi Greg,
Your identification is correct. This species is also called a Black and Yellow Orb Weaver or a Writing Spider. Your photo shows a beautiful web.

imperial moth caterpillar
Hey BugMan!
Check out our Imperial Moth Caterpillar! This was found by a volunteer at our annual Beach Sweep River Sweep at Saluda Shoals Park. PS The rangers love the site and use it a lot. Keep up the great work!
Jay Robinson
Interpretive Park Ranger
Saluda Shoals Park
Columbia SC

Hi Jay,
It thrills us to know that Rangers use our site. We are also very proud to have just received our own honorary Los Angeles Urban Rangers patch because of a talk we did at one of their rambles at the Los Angeles County Fair. Your Imperial Moth Caterpillar is a fine specimen.

identify caterpillar
My boyfriend found this caterpillar in his front yard in Southern Maryland. When he found this caterpillar(S) he was cutting the grass on a riding lawn mower and drove through a Red Bud Tree and out of the branches he started to get sensations in 3 or 4 spots on his body, on the side of his belly, arm and leg. Then there is a stinging burning sensation. We have searched the internet with no avail. Can you tell us what kind this is? Thanks
Steven & Sheree

Hi Steven and Sheree,
We did not recognize your caterpillar, and we were intrigued at your lack of luck in researching its identity. Searching the internet to no avail, in our minds, means that time and effort were spent. We simply typed caterpillar and redbud and googled, and the immediately found two sites, Stinging Caterpillars of Alabama, and Stinging Caterpillars on Shade and Ornamental Trees, that identified your caterpillar as a White Flannel Moth Caterpillar, Norape ovina, whose primary host is the redbud tree.

Blister beetle/don’t touch!
Hi. My three year old took these pictures of this beetle today; a blister beetle? I was trying to teach him not to touch/pick up anything we find in the yard. Didn’t know if you would like to use the photos as they turned out very well for him! We love checking out the bugs on your site. Thanks,
Sharon and Caleb Katz

Hi Sharon and Caleb,
It seems Caleb might have a future as a camera person. The Short Winged Blister Beetle is also known as an Oil Beetle.