From the monthly archives: "July 2007"

What kind of butterfly?
Your site is awesome! After reading all the different kinds, I thought maybe this was a skipper. This butterfly let me take many pictures, even landing on my leg for a few shots! I really enjoy this picture on the pine leaves. (It looks better upside down!) We live in Elk River, MN, about 36 miles NW of the Minneapolis. Seems we had a lot of butterflies this July, 2007!

Hi Joyce,
This fearless butterfly is a Red Admiral, though we are quite fond of author Vladimir Nabokov’s name of Red Admirable.

Hello! We live in Iowa and came across this bug yesterday along a bike trail. Could you tell me what it is? Thank you!!

Hi Elizabeth,
This is a Pandora Sphinx Caterpillar. Judging by the number of adult moth photos we received this year, we expect your photo to the the first of numerous requests for the caterpillar identification this season. Grape is one of the food plants for the larva and your specimen appears to be be feeding on grape.

Dung Beetle
Hi there.
We really enjoy your web site. I know you must get scads of pics of the common dung beetle, but I just wanted to share this one with you because he was such an industrious little guy and so determined. And also because his dung ball was absolutely perfectly round! A beautiful dung ball if there indeed can be such a thing. He was pushing this thing uphill on my daughter’s driveway and when I snapped this shot, (he was definitely between a rock and a hard place!). I did NOT place the big rock in front of his dung ball, poor thing just ended up there. I guess that is what happens when you are pushing things around backwards and not looking where you are going. Enjoy!
Marti Bailey
Weatherford, Texas
P.S. I went back to check on him a few minutes later and he was gone. I guess he finally found his destination. Whew! What a treck!

Hi Marti,
If memory serves us correctly, this is the only photo we have ever received of a Dung Beetle with a Dung Ball.

Fanmail Comment (07/29/2007)
Dear Daniel and Lisa Anne,
I wrote you a fan mail awhile back – I still look at your site every day. Today I was utterly delighted to see a photo of a dung beetle rolling its perfectly round dung ball. My father is an acarologist specializing in phoretic mites partial to dung beetles. 20 years ago almost to the day, I traveled with my father to the magnificent Camargue Natural Reserve in southern France to observe dung beetles rolling those magnificent balls. Somewhere I have a hilarious photo that my mother took of my father taking a photo of a little beetle and ball. I wish I had it to send to you. But alas, you are busy. Sorry for the blather, I was just so happy to see that photo. Yours for eternity 🙂

carrion beetle?
We found this beetle while walking the dog in his “yard”. From what I can tell it is a carrion beetle of some type – but larger than I have ever seen. It appears to be a ?gravid? female that occasionally extends a half-inch long ovipositor. I tried to get the ruler in the photo, but it was moving around – she is over 2 inches (5 cm) long and nearly 2.5 inches long if you measure to the tip of the antennae. Largest beetle I have ever seen – What is it exactly?? Thanks,
C. Tumminello
Waynesboro, PA

Hi C,
This is a Broad Necked Root Borer, Prionus laticollis.

What kind of bees live in my garden, added location info
I will first tell you that I have taken it upon myself to see if I can identify these bees myself. I think they could be the European Dark Bee (Apis mellifera)(?) but the pictures don’t seem to match exactly. The habits of these bees is also very puzzling. In the evening these bees all congregate on my Miscanthus grass in my garden. They cling exclusively to two separate blades of grass and hang out there. They have not built any structure to live in and seem to have collected pollen for no reason at all. They do not seem aggressive but I still used caution taking these photos (that is why they are not very clear) because I am pregnant and thought it would be worth the effort to avoid getting stung by an entire group of angry bees. Can you help me identify these bees?
Thanks for checking into this, I hope this e-mail reaches you, I cannot open your websites home-page and have noticed that the latest request for ID was in ’05. Cheers,
Jessica Strickle

I see your website is up and running again and have also read through some of your scoldings to those who have requested ID. I am in Washington, IL (middle of Illinois) and these bees are about 3/4 of an inch long. If you get a chance to answer this, great! I just thought I might have a better chance with better information. Cheers,
Jessica Strickler

Hi Jessica,
First we feel guilty that you have called us on chastising (we like that better than scolding) our casual readership for not providing us with much needed information. We would never think to chastise you as your letter is so thorough. Yes, our website was down as we had internet connectivity problems, but our Time Warner serviceman, Tom, has assured us that the problem is remedied now. We believe, though we are not positive, that these are Mining Bees in the family Andrenidae. What has us curious is the social aggregation in a solitary species. We are going to request assistance from a true expert, Eric Eaton, on this.

Correction (07/29/2007)
Hi, Daniel:
The bees are all males in the tribe Eucerini (family Apidae), and probably the genus Melissodes, but I can’t be positive. They sometimes congregate like this to “sleep,” gripping a grassblade or twig in their jaws.

Found this beautiful pink and yellow fuzzy moth just spreading it’s wet wings for the first time last night 7/28/07. It’s caterpillar body was bright lemon skin yellow. Would love to identify it! We live in south-central PA. Can you help? I saw another one on your caterpillar list from another "Ellen" in central PA. It looked very much like ours. Have you identified that one??
Ellen D.

Hi Ellen,
This little beauty is a Rosy Maple Moth.