From the monthly archives: "September 2007"

Mystery Caterpillar and Bee-Like Insect
Hey Bugman,
I live in Rhode Island, and I’ve run across two odd insects recently. I was wondering if you could help me identify them.
The first was a bright-green and brownish-purple caterpillar with four little spikes on it. It was about an inch long. The second is a vaguely wasp-like insect (I’m not sure if this is Batesian or Mullerian mimicry, and I didn’t stick around to find out), and it was about an inch long as well. Thanks for your help,
Guillaume Riesen

Hi Guillaume,
Your caterpillar is a Saddleback Caterpillar and we have posted numerous images of this species. Your vaguely beelike insect is a Locust Borer, a Cerambycid Borer Beetle that is very common in the autumn and is often associated with goldenrod. Many beetles in this family are considered wasp mimics. We believe we are going to make it the Bug of the Month for October and will probably be using your photo on our homepage the entire month.

Battering Butterflies
Hello Bug Man!
We love your site in this house! While at the shore each year I enjoy photographing butterflies. I am attaching several photos of two butterflies that appeared to be wrestling on the ground. This went on for a few minutes with the two ultimately flying off in different directions. I have never seen such aggressive behavior. Is it associated with mating? Any help appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Tracey Hynes

Hi Tracey,
This is a pair of Monarch Butterflies. A mating pair will stay engaged for a lengthy period of time. Perhaps what you witnessed was a difficult “uncoupling”.

My daughter nearly stepped on these while walking her dog through a recently mowed field. I have scrolled through your bug links until I am dizzy and cross-eyed. Can you tell me what they are? They seemed to be feeding on a small dead rodent, possibly killed during the mowing. (Notice the hitch-hiker flies.) Thanks.
South-central Missouri

Hi Vicki,
These are Sexton Beetles or Burying Beetles. They will bury the mouse and lay eggs on it. It just seems odd that there are so many at work as they generally work as a couple. We believe these are Tomentose Burying Beetles, Nicrophorus tomentosus.

Ceanothus Silk Moth, Hyalophora euryalus
Hello 🙂
I just recently started surfing your awesome webpage and thought I would send in a nice picture I got of a Ceanothus Silk Moth. This little guy was hanging out at a gas station in the Sacramento Valley, California in late June 2007. I had just recently left to visit the college I am currently attending when I snapped this photo. 🙂 Moths are my favorite type of insect, so needless to say, he cheered me up quite a bit and cured me of some of my nervousness about leaving home. Hope you enjoy the photo! Sorry if it’s a little large!

Hi Jenny,
Thanks so much for sending us your wonderful photo. Good luck at your new school.

Mimic Wasp???
I live in Satellite Beach Florida and saw this on my screen and was hoping you could tell me what it is. I think it’s some kind of mimic wasp but I’m not sure. Love your site.

Hi Jeff,
You are correct. The Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth, Empyreuma affinis, is a wasp mimic.

Photos of Giant Ichnerumons, Megarhyssa Macrurus
I was able to identify Giant Ichnerumons, Megarhyssa Macrurus thanks to your site – we have a dead tree that is covered with them here in Bolton, Connecticut. I am sending you the photos in case they are shots of the bug that you don’t already have. It looks like her ovipositor might be depositing her eggs??? Enjoyed your site. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Keep up the great work.

Hi Betty,
It has been several months since we have posted a photo of a Giant Ichneumon on our homepage. Your photo of a female Megarhyssa macrurus ovipositing is stunning.