From the monthly archives: "February 2007"

What’s this please?
Taken on Mount Tamborine, Australia.
It’s an odd tiny thing that walks backwards as if it’s spikes are on it’s head. Very jerky too. It’s like a mini dinosaur. Can you help? It’s got a few of us on the Ex-pats site flummoxed! Regards

Hi Colette,
We were certain this was an immature Plant Hopper, but were unsure of the species, so we scoured the Geocities website. We found several likely candidates in the family Eurybrachyidae whose nymphs look very similar to your image, but we cannot settle on an exact match. Several species are described as moving backwards. Some likely candidates include the Green Face Wattle Hopper (Olonia viridiventris), the Spider-face Wattle Hopper (Gelastopsis insignis), and the Eye-patterned Gum Hopper (Platybrachys vidua).

Atlas Moth?
Hi there,
Nearly stepped on this gorgeous monster as I got out of my parked car. Stumbled onto your site when I was trying to id it. Thought you might like a picture. Also wanted to ask if you think the little pink things are eggs?
from Singapore

Hi Gen,
We have gotten photos of Atlas Moths in captivity before, but this is the first wild specimen to come our way. Your are correct in speculating that the pink things are eggs.

Dear Mr Bugman,
I live in Cyprus (south west area) yesterday whilst cleaning the swimming pool, the attached was found dead in the bottom, I have tried to find out information, unsuccessfully, so at this point I am asking for your help in identifying the above, also any possibly explanation as to how it would have ended up where it did, there is no damage on it at all. I look forward to receiving your answer on this matter. Thanks for your assistance.
Janet Hughes

Hi Janet,
This appears to be an Oleander Hawk Moth Caterpillar, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii. If you have an oleander shrub nearby, the caterpillar probably left the shrub to pupate. Pupation occurs occurs underground. Many caterpillars change color just before pupation, which would explain the pink color.

Hi, Love your site. Most Aussies of my generation are familiar with Cicadas. We enjoy their singing all Summer, it reminds us of our childhoods!! I was really intrigued recently on a visit to a friends farm. We live in South East Queensland Australia about 72 miles west of Brisbane. We are in the middle of a severe & prolonged drought.However, recently there has been some welcome rain, about 4.5". This week at the farm there were huge swarms (millions) of the attached "Bug". They look like Cicadas, however, it seems unusal behaviour for them. They are very small, no more than 1" in length. I’ve only ever known Cicadas to shed & go into the trees for the duration, I have never seen them swarm en masse & never so small. We wondered if the weather has produced an unusal phenomenon or are they some other insect? I’ve tried to identify them without success. I’ve attached a pic for you.
Thanks & regards.Regards,

Hi Julie,
This is most certainly a Cicada. We did some research, and based on the protruding eyes and melanistic spots towards the apex of the forewings, we believe this to be a Bunyip Cicada in the genus Tamasa. We used Lindsay Popple’s awesome Cicada website for the identification, and he addresses the aggregation behavior thus: “Aggregation is a phenomenon observed mostly in the larger and medium sized cicada genera such as Thopha ,Psaltoda ,Macrotristria ,Tamasa and many others. Many of these species produce loud continuous choruses for long periods. The aggregating behaviour is most likely directly related to mate signalling opportunities. If a male cicada recognises the frequency components of another male singing he will fly in near to where the sound is coming from. He will then commence singing in order to signal to females that have already flown in, in response to the original males song. The process continues until the entire brood is restricted to a small group of trees. A possible, though indirect, by-product of this is that the sheer number of males singing in an area may confuse predators. ” We have written to Lindsay to see if he can substantiate our identification. Here is Lindsay’s quick reply and correction: “Hi there Daniel, You were close with the identification. It is a sister genus to Tamasa, a grass cicada called the ‘Grass Fairie’ or ‘Yellow Sugarcane Cicada’ Parnkalla muelleri. See: Cheers, Lindsay.”

Thank you. This is very interesting! We appreciate your efforts. I have attached a list of “flora” recently documented (by LandCare Australia spotters) on the property. This might be of interest in understanding the Cicadas habitat? The swarming (aggregation)seemed very random? but probably not! just the sheer numbers made it seem so. We had them in ears, noses etc. Our farmer friend was certainly “complaining” of incessant noise levels.I will have a look at the w/site mentioned. I was unaware that we had such a small species of Cicada? All of the ones mentioned on your w/site are familiar to us. Regards

butterfly monkey sex
And other insect porn for you! I was so happy to find out I’m not the only one!
Lacey Greene
Bishop, California

Checkerspots Fritillaries

Hi Lacey,
Your photos are all so beautiful. We wish you had provided a bit more information. Your mating Checkerspots in the genus Euphydryas, your mating Fritillaries in the genus Speyeria, and your mating Predacious Diving Beetles, Acilius mediatus, are all wonderful additions to our site.

caterpillar 3
I’ve sent you this photo a few times, and I was just wondering if you’ve been able to find out what sort of caterpillar this is and what the butterfly would have looked like had my cocoon hatched. Some parasite got the better of him before he could complete the cycle. Thank you
Costa Rica

Hi Jordan,
This might be an Automeris species.