From the monthly archives: "February 2007"

Hi There,
My friend found this moth inside his apartment in Cape Town, South Africa. What Kind of moth is it? Regards,
Angela Gerber

Hi Angela
This is not a moth. It is a Swallowtail Butterfly. We do not know the exact species, but we are confident that one of our readers, who is not currently late for work, might have time to do the necessary web research and then provide us with the species name and a link to the identification.

Though not an expert, I believe that is a butterfly of the species Scientific Name: Papilio demoleus. The common name will vary from region to region. Some common names are Citrus Swallowtail; Lime Swallowtail; Lemon Swallowtail; Chequered Swallowtail; Orange Dog and Christmas Butterfly. Here are two source for confirmation: and Hope I’m correct. cheers

Guilty as charged! It’s the Citrus Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio demodocus. Take a look at Best,

A follow-up:
When I saw the P. demoleus Linnaeus pictures (the Lime or Lemon Swallowtail), which appear to be identical to the images I found of P. demodocus Esper, I thought maybe P. demodocus was just a synonym. However, when I researched a bit further, I see that P. demoleus and P. demodocus are sister species! Throughout Africa, the butterfly that looks like this is P. demodocus, the African Citrus Swallowtail a.k.a. African Lime Swallowtail. P. demoleus, a very similar species of citrus swallowtail, is very much more widespread globally, and is poised to become a serious pest threat to Florida citrus groves, if reaches the mainland from the Caribbean. Take a look at
And in that article they do also mention the African species, and the confusion with the common names: “In Africa, the related African lime swallowtail, Papilio demodocus Esper, is also called the citrus swallowtail.”
Susan J. Hewitt

Thrips photos for you, if you wish.
Here are a few photos I took of some thrips. The second photo shows a thrips between two butterfly (Blue morpho) eggs. The forth photo shows a thrips beside a dead white fly (plant pest). The fifth photo (71614639) shows a thrips beside, I think, a dead fruit fly. You may add them, if you wish, into your thrips ID catalog.

Dear RS,
Though you did not indicate your location, because of the tropical Morpho eggs, we are guessing that you are associated with one of the numerous butterfly exhibits that have sprung up across the country. Here is Los Angeles, our yearly summer butterfly exhibit at the Museum of Natural History is called the “Pavilion of Wings”. Your Macro Photographs are wonderful. We are posting some that show both side view and top view as well as the leaf photograph that shows the scale of these miniscule insects that range from 1/2 to 3 millimeters in length. Some Thrips are winged and others not. Some Thrips are plant pests and others are predators. According to the Audubon Guide, there are over 600 species in North America.

Hello whatsthatbug,
Thanks for the reply. Sorry about the incomplete information. Your guess about an association with a butterfly exhibit is correct. I am a very frequent visitor to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, up here in New England; and open 364 days of the year.

Owlfly pics
Hi Bugman,
I thought your patrons might enjoy this picture i took of an owlfly in the Atherton Tablelands, QLD Australia. I was referred to your website by a friend and was subsequently able to identify this cute critter as an ascalaphid. Thanks a bunch, what a great site!!!
Reedsville, PA

Hi Erin,
Your Owlfly photo is quite beautiful and we are thrilled to post it.

What’s this bug???
We have been watching quite a few of these in our back yard but they never stop long enough to photograph until today when I watched one bury a big grub. They don’t appear to be aggressive but looks like some kind of wasp? (And no it is not dead in the second picture, it was actually burrowing a hole!) Would love some info. Thanks

Hi Maria,
Wow, what wonderful images of a Scoliid Wasp burying a Scarab Beetle Grub. We are not sure of the species and plan to immediately research this. We only wish you had provided us with a location. It looks like it might be the genus Scolia, but BugGuide does not show any solid black bodies. Scoliid Wasps are large, hairy, robust wasps that prey on Scarab Beetle Grubs. The female digs a burrow and buries the Grub, laying an egg. the wasp larva is an external parasite on the beetle grub. Adult Scoliid Wasps take nectar. Though he could not substantiate the species identification, Eric Eaton did provide the following natural history clarification: ” Daniel: I can’t tell you anything about the identification, but the life history needs clarification. Scoliid wasp females simply dig up a scarab grub, sting it into submission, lay a single egg on it, and maybe cover it up before fleeing the scene. The scarab grub can at least partially revive and go about its business, but is doomed….The adult female wasp does not prepare a burrow or anything, like most sphecid wasps, spider wasps, etc. Eric “

We live in Engadine, a southern suburb of Sydney, Australia