From the monthly archives: "December 2007"

Ocean City MD
I found several of these washed up on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland at the end of December, 2007. Can you tell me what it is?
Mo Riddle

Hi Mo,
Though it isn’t a bug, we couldn’t resist posting your image of a Mermaid’s Purse, a very lyrical name for a Shark Egg Case. We are not sure of the species, but suspect it is a Dogfish. The Monterey Bay Aquarium website states: “Some sharks package their young in leathery egg cases, then abandon them at sea. Nourished by their yolk-filled egg sacs, the young sharks, called pups, develop on their own. After several months, one edge of the case comes apart and the tiny sharks emerge, alive and swimming. Occasionally egg cases wash up on beaches before the sharks inside can hatch. Beachcombers may know the pillow

Just curious about this little critter, any help welcomed. I’m having a hard time identifying him. Thanks for your help. Thanks,
Denise Cox

Hi Denise,
Happy New Year. This little beauty is a Great Purple Hairstreak, Atlides halesus. Its coloration is actually a vibrant iridescent blue when the wings are open. We wish you had provided us with a location, but we are guessing you are writing from Texas or Florida.

Good morning! Thank you for the quick response. You were right, Florida (Jacksonville) it is. He was just there for the viewing, and I just had to get a snap. Have a wonderful New Year! Thanks,
Denise Cox

What is this?
My wife came to within 1 inch of getting this spider in the face when heading to our bin last night. I had to snap a pic to try to identify this spidy. We are in Australia on the Central Coast of NSW near Wyong, Gosford is about 30 minutes drive south of us. Any help identifying this spider would be appreciated so we know what we have. Cheers

Hi Jason,
This is one of the Orb Weaving Spiders known as Garden Spiders. We believe it is in the genus Eriophora. There appears to be a degree of variability in the markings. We found an Australian Spider site with many similar looking spiders, but no exact matches.

trapdoor spiderlings
i thought you might like to see the image of what i believe are trapdoor spiderlings recently emerged. found at skidaway island state park, ga

Hi Anthony,
Thanks so much for sending us your photo of alleged Trapdoor Spiderlings. We will agree with your identification until an expert writes in to correct us.

caterpillat ID help!
Ask that Bug!
I think I have incorrectly identified the attached photo as a Tobacco hornworm. None of my books are much help. It is the color that has me puzzled. The Sphinx Moth caterpillar is a reddish brown, but I do not see the “horn” on it, so if you can help, please do. Thanks a lot!
Ruth Smith

Caterpilar ID help #2
Dear Bug people!
I forgot to mention the locale of the previous photo….the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in August. Also since the 1st e-mail, I have concluded that this may be in the family of Sphinx Moth Caterpillars, but not sure which one. They seem to prefer grape vines. Thisi s a willow branch, but it was eating and wiggling a lot! Thanks again for your help.
Ruth Smith

Hi Ruth,
We wrote back to you after getting your first letter with a request for additional information including location and food plant, without realizing that you had sent a second email. The location in Michigan was a tremendous help. We are relatively certain this is a color sport of the Peocila Sphinx, Sphinx poecila. Wow, a palandrome!!!!! We located an image on Bill Oehlke’s wonderful website that indicates he raised a group of caterpillars of the Poecila Sphinx and he noticed that: “One of the larvae was considerably darker than the others and upon moving into the fifth instar took on a dramatic, deep purple colouration. ” We will try to contact Bill Oehlke to see if he agrees that this is a dark Sphinx poecila. Bill Oehlke quickly wrote back: “Yes, it is poecila” in confirmation of our identification.

Hey there.
We found this “blue fly with a fur coat” flying around our yard. Any idea what it might be? We live in Chelsea, Québec ,Canada. Love your site! It’s super useful. Thanks for your help,
Celine & Marc

Hi Celine and Marc,
This is a Woolly Aphid in the genus Eriosoma. The winged ones are males.