From the monthly archives: "May 2007"

Crazy Katydid?
Dear WTB,
Love the site, use it all the time to figure out what’s crawling around our house here in the Texas Hill Country. Recently, we have been overrun with the bug in the attached photo. We find them in the leaf litter in large patches, averaging probably one to two individuals per square foot (it looks like the forest floor is jumping out from under you!). We often have similar looking creatures (usually all brownish, and sometimes green – both of which I believe to be some sort of katydid), but I’ve never seen them in this color before. Any clue? Best,
Dave from Texas

Hi Dave,
This is sure a gorgeous Shieldback Katydid, but we are unsure of the genus and species. We hope to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion. You did not indicate if this coloration is an isolated specimen, or if the many individuals you wrote about sport the same coloration. Here is Eric’s response: “You are correct in the identification, but I have no idea what genus or species it is, or why they are so numerous. I will post to my listserv and see if someone else can help “

Update: (06/05/2007) Unknown Shieldback Katydid
Hi there bugman,
An update on the Katydid Nymph photo I sent you all about one week ago (It is currently listed as “Unknown Shieldback Katydid” in the Katydid section). One week later, they have changed into the form as seen in the attached photo. I’m unsure if this will help, but it’s at least interesting. Thanks again,
Dave from Texas

Hi again Dave,
Thanks for the update. We still do not know what species this is, but we will post it back to the homepage.

Ed. Note: (06/08/2007) Eric Eaton sent out the following request:
Dear Friends: My friend Daniel Marlos, who runs the What’s That Bug? website has recently received images of some kind of katydid that is appearing in great numbers in the Texas Hill Country. I have no idea what it is, and can so far find no one else who recognizes it. Please see the images on the “Katydids 2” page. Please feel free to circulate this note to colleagues who are not on this listserv as well. Thank you in advance for any assistance.
Eric Eaton

Update: (06/08/2007) Mike Quinn answered Eric’s plea:
Here’s your bug. Large numbers are being reported from New Braunfels, Comal Co.; Canyon Lake, Comal Co.; and San Antonio, Bexar Co. These two counties are adjacent.
This morning Debbie Benesh and I went to Government Canyon SNA to look at plants, but a plague of locusts stole the show. Okay, so the insect involved seems to be the pink form of the truncated true katydid (Paracyrtophyllus robustus) rather than a locust. But the plague part sure was accurate. We saw literally hundreds of the beasts, most or maybe all of them feeding on the foliage of plateau live oak (Quercus fusiformis). And we could see only the lower branches of most of those trees. Yikes! I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the species before, and I sure won’t forget it.
Bill Carr, (Texas Nature Conservancy botanist)
Dr. John Oswald, Texas A&M, reported a similar outbreak of P. robustus in 2001 in Lee County (see remarks in following link). Truncated True Katydid, Paracyrtophyllus robustus (Caudell 1906)
Government Canyon State Natural Area, San Antonio, TX
Mike Quinn
Invertebrate Biologist
Wildlife Diversity Program
Texas Parks & Wildlife
Austin, Texas

Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
Hi, I have been looking at the page with unidentified katydids (Katydids 2), and thought I could help with some ID’s. From top to bottom they are: Truncated True Katydid – Paracyrtophyllus robustus

Hi Mr. Bugman!
I hope you can open this attachment and view this bug and let me know what it is…it’s making crazy, cause I can’t find out on my own…we’ve lived here for 8 yrs. and last year was the first year they appeared…i have a close up picture on a white background if you think you can analyze easier. These guys appear like they are floating or swimming underwater rather that flying…if you can let me know if the picture is good enough i’d appreciate it very much!

This is a Phantom Crane Fly, Bittacomorpha clavipes. Your description of their etherial manner of flight is quite accurate.

What is this?
Dear Bugman,
Found this bug on my pepper and tomato plants, I was wondering if you could tell me what it is? It is small, like the size of a lady bug, with a hard shell. It has wings, but didn’t appear to fly. I only noticed them when it tried to flip itself over. I looked online, and the closest thing I could find was something like the scale insect, but that doesn’t seem like a perfect match. Do you have any idea what this is? I guess my biggest concern is whether or not they are harmful to my vegetable garden plants. If it helps, I live in northern New Jersey. Please let me know if you can’t open the images, I will send them in another format. Thanks,

Hi Chuck,
This is a Clavate Tortoise Beetle, Plagiometriona clavata, one of the leaf beetles. It feeds on the leaves of tomato plants and other solanaceous plants. There is more information on BugGuide.

(05/31/2007) whats this orange bug?
I went outside late one night and this pretty orange bug was on the porch ceiling What is it? Thanks,
Melanie (Ft Lauderdale)

Hi Melanie,
We needed to do some research, but we located your moth, Syngamia florella, on BugGuide.

spittling spittles bugs
Based on comments on your site, I think this may be the work of spittle bugs of some sort…is that one of the bugs to the left of the spittle bubbles? Taken in Bowling Green, OH

Hi John,
You are correct. This is the foamy spittle from a Spittlebug. The spittle is secreted by the Spittlebug’s anus and it serves as a protective environment so the nymph can safely feed on plant sap. Adults are winged and look like Leafhoppers. They are sometimes called Froghoppers. BugGuide has additional information. The insect visible in your photograph is an Aphid.

Female Common Whitetail
I checked out this dragonfly on your site and BugGuide. I believe it is a female Common Whitetail Plathemis lydia. Thought you might like to add it to the juvenile male you have posted already.
Photo Lady

Hi there Photo Lady,
Your photo is quite wonderful. Thank you so much for allowing us to post this female Common Whitetail.