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

Luna moth larva this far north?
Hello Bugman…
You have a wonderful site here and I’m hoping you can help with identifying a bug for me. It is about 2 1/2 inches long and as thick as well… my thumb comes to mind but a tube of lipstick is about right. I discovered a very large caterpillar marching across my front lawn this afternoon. (September 3 2007) I took about 25 pictures of it and came to the conclusion it is a luna moth larva….BUT I cannot find anywhere that they live this far north. I live in central British Columbia, Canada. Prince George, to be precise. I found that they eat paper birch so I deposited it there. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my paper birch but it looked like it needed a tree and had it succeeded in getting over to the neighbors it probably wouldn’t have made it to the end of its already, too short, natural life. Long story short…. it seems to be spinning a cocoon. I’d like to see the results and take a bunch of pictures. How can I do that without buying the bird cage? Also, will this larva live inside the cocoon all winter? Even if it’s -25 or -35 celsius and has a mountain of snow heaped on it for 5 months? Maybe I will buy the cage…. I have bird feeders out but that’s no guarantee they won’t eat the big green bug. I’ll attach a couple of pictures (I resized them to 1/3rd their original size) and maybe you’ll be able to identify it as something other than a Luna. (I really hope it is a Luna and that I’ll get to see the final results next spring) Thanks in advance for your expertise. Sincerely;

Hi Heather,
This is a Luna Moth Caterpillar and they do live in the extreme North. They spin a cocoon around a dried leaf and pupage inside. The leaf remains on the ground among leaf litter. The blanket of snow actually helps keep the pupa from freezins as it acts as insulation with the decaying leaves providing additional heat.

Correction(09/04/2007) “luna” from BC, damsel drowning
A couple of questions regarding recent postings: Are you certain the Luna Moth caterpillar from British Columbia is in fact a Luna? I’ve raised Polyphemus for a number of years, and it sure looks like a “Poly” to me. The white bars on the sides are key. As for the damselfly drowning during mating, it seems to me I’ve read the males sometimes do this to prevent other males from mating with “their” females. Anything to that? Cheers!
Don Dinndorf
St. Augusta, MN

Thanks Don,
We stand corrected.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Interesting photo (and location) of a bag worm
Hi Bugman,
Thanks to your site, my brother & I are able to identify the insect in the attached photo! We found this bag worm outside of a Walgreens, attached to the "Handi-capped" parking sign. I am amazed that it made it all the way up to the top of the sign without being destroyed by someone! Plus, not sure how it got it in the middle of a parking lot? Best,
Stacey Gee
Poughkeepsie, NY

Hi Stacey,
While the adult male moths of bagworms have wings, the females are legless and wingless and remain in the bag their entire life, laying eggs there after attracting a mate with pheromones. If a female bagworm caterpillar chose that site for its cocoon location, it will surely guarantee her progeny will not survive as they will be too far from a food plant. If a male moth emerges, he will be able to fly away. This whole scenario gives one pause to think.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Red and black beetle?
Two days ago, hundreds (thousands?) of these red and black bugs appeared in my Atlanta backyard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before. What are they?

Hi Megan,
These are not beetles. They are Boxelder Bugs and this is the first photo we have received this season. We get numerous reports in the fall from people who have huge aggregations of Boxelder Bugs on their maple trees, on the sunny sides of their homes, and occasionally when it gets cold, inside their homes. Winged adults alse aggregate with the immature nymphs you have pictured in your photo.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

i just found your great and informative site! i am really enjoying it! it reminded me of a photo that i took earlier this summer/spring. i’ve attached 2 photos, Giant Leopard Moths (i think), that are mating. i’m assuming they all have different markings, and what intrigued me so, was the ‘face’ on the back of the head of the one moth. i thought you might like the photos for your collection.
Augusta, Michigan

Hi Donna,
Your mating Giant Leopard Moths are a wonderful addition to our Bug Love pages. Giant Leopard Moths are also called Eyed Tiger Moths.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Can you help identify this bug? It reminded me of the humming bird moth untill I got a closer look at it. I was happy to be able to get so many pictures. This is the first time that I have seen this one and would like to know more about it. Thanks for your help. PS I FORGOT TO MENTION IN THE FIRST E-MAIL THAT I LIVE IN THE UPPER NORTHWEST CORNER OF PENNA. NEAR ERIE, AND THIS THING IS UNUSUALL FOR MY AREA.
Debbie Smith

Hi Debbie,
This is a Long-Tailed Skipper, Urbanus proteus, a butterfly, not a moth. Though they are more common in the south, you are withing the range of the species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

do you know what this is?
I have been searching on several identification sites for the correct ID of the lepidopteran in the two pictures I have attached. I have been unsuccessful in my pursuits, so I am posing the question to you, "What is that bug?" This moth was photographed 24 July 2007 in Richardson, Texas (suburb of Dallas, Texas). I apologize for the lack of information, and there are no good pictures of the underside of the wings. I would love to know if you can still ID this lepidopteran!
Amy Jones

Hi Amy,
This gorgeous creature is a Black Witch, Ascalapha odorata. You photo shows what big eyes they have. Amusingly, we just received a request to created a dedicated Black Witch page, and we will start with your image.

Thank you!!! That was such a quick answer…I am impressed! Thank you for maintaining your website because it really helps the amateur entomologist!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination