From the monthly archives: "April 2007"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

hello, attached are a few photos of an unusual looking moth found in my backyard in hollywood, florida. at first glance, i thought it was just a dead leaf. when i went to shake it off my ferns it moved ever so slightly startling me. after taking a closer look at it, i realized it was a moth of some kind. i have never seen anything like this in south florida. is this a common species of moth?
erika fischer

Hi Erika,
There are two species of Sphinx Moths in the genus Protambulyx that fly in Florida and look similar. We are not sure if this is Protambulyx strigilis strigilis or Protambulyx carteri. Bill Oehlke has images and information on both species on his amazing website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

breeding huntsman spider
Your site was very helpful with identifying my pet spider. I think it is a huntsman or giant crab spider and definitely a female. Only her breeding behavior doesn’t match the description. I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and a friend found the spider in her basement. Instead of killing it she asked me to take it. After a couple of days of feasting on crickets and becoming VERY round, she started a kind of cocoon in one upper corner of her cage.

She was INSIDE the snowball sized construct and over a couple of days it became so dense, I couldn’t look through anymore. This was in January and yesterday the Mom spider came out of the cocoon, followed by about 100 tiny babies. I think, I won’t have a roach problem for the next couple of years…. Have you heard of a spider that is actually inside a cocoon with to lay her eggs or was that just an improvised burrow because the cage didn’t provide an ideal nursery place ? If so, she was pretty inventive. I’ll attach some pictures when she started the cocoon and some from yesterday with the babies and the VERY HUNGRY mom (has not eaten for three months). I transferred the “nest” to a bigger container without so many openings. You can see mom coming out of the crumbled looking cocoon (moving damage).

She later Squeezed the cocoon from inside and made it smaller and smaller and every convulsion made more and more babies to leave the safe home. They ran straight up towards the glass cover. You never stop learning with those amazing pets. I hope it’s not too much, but I’m really excited about it.

Wow Martina,
Your photo documentation is awesome. We believe this is a Golden Huntsman Spider, Olios fasciculatus. Our Audubon Guide says the “female carries egg sac in jaws until spiderlings emerge and disperse.” We are not sure about the nursery web behavior, but your photo documentation might be scientifically noteworthy.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Luna Moth
Took a pic of this Luna Moth on February 27, 2007, just north of Houston, Tx

Hi Lynne,
This is the first official Luna Moth photo we have received this year, and it is a gorgeous photo.

Ed. Note: (04/01/2007)
We have been receiving countless letters and images of Luna Moths from the Southern part of their range beginning in February and increasing in March. We suspect it is not too late to make the Luna Moth the Bug of the Month for April since the northern specimens will begin to emerge as springtime weather hits the north. These emergences should continue through May and June for the most northern specimens in Maine and Canada. Luna Moths overwinter in cocoons formed around leaves from the deciduous trees that they feed upon. These cocoons usually drop to the ground where they remain among the leaf litter. The warm spring sun stimulates the metamorphosis of the adult. Adults live only a few days and do not feed. They mate, lay eggs and die if they do not become a food source for birds and other predators first. The caterpillars spend the summer fattening up on leaves before pupating. There are two generations in the southern portion of the range.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what is this bug?
This bug is in Washington State. Do you know what it is

Hi Amanda,
This is a Plume Moth. We have been getting numerous photos from around the world lately of different species of Plume Moths.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

big pupa
Hi there?
Got any ideas about the identity of this pupa? I found it on the ground outside of my house in mid coast Maine on March 31st. It’s alive, that is, when I move it, it scratches around inside and actually will roll across the table top like a Mexican Jumping Bean. The husk is papery and there are tiny pin holes all through it, like breathing holes. It feels quite heavy and as you can see, is almost 2 inches long. That’s a big pupa for Maine where most stuff is pretty small in the insect world. I’ve been a gardener for 25 years and have never seen anything like it. I didn’t find anything in my garden insect references. Thanks in advance for your time,
Robin Robinson

Hi Robin,
If you don’t want this Luna Moth Cocoon to hatch too early, you need to keep it outside. If you have an old birdcage, that would be perfect. You should check daily to see if it has hatched. In Maine, we get most of our Luna Moth photos in May. Right now, we are getting photos from the Southern portion of the range, including Louisiana and Georgia. The Luna Moth is our featured Bug of the Month for April.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

We love your site
Thanks for helping us identify this beautiful visitor. The whole neighborhood has been by to visit to admire the beauty.
Emily Bangle
Nacogdoches, Texas

Hi Emily,
We got so many Luna Moth sightings in March, we decided to make it the Bug of the Month for April. We are happy the sightings are continuing.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination