From the monthly archives: "December 2007"

originally sent 12/23/2007) Strange Looking Bug
Hello Bugman,
I live in St Vincent and the Grenadines, on an island called Mustique. I was cleaning up outside when I saw this strange looking bug. At first I thought it was two bugs fighting with each other but on a closer look I think the bug was actually climbing out of its shell. Am I right? Is this a cockroach? Thank you for such a great site.
Tanya Clarijs

Hi Tanya,
Sorry we were unable to answer or post your letter originally. You are correct. This is a newly molted Cockroach. Its color will darken as its new exoskeleton hardens.

We saw this with a nest in the ground and eating this other insect. This was taken at a nearby park in Shelby Twp., Michigan. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks,

Hi Kelley,
This is a Cicada Killer wasp and a paralyzed Cicada. Most of our letters with images of Cicada Killers arrive in July and August, and we are guessing that this photo was not taken recently in Michigan, but probably during the summer. Cicada Killer wasps feed on pollen and nectar, but larval wasps feed on Cicadas. This female Cicada Killer has paralyzed a Cicada with her sting and is dragging it back to her burrow where she will bury it and lay an egg. The developing wasp larva will then feed on the paralyzed Cicada. Being that the Cicada is paralyzed and still alive, it does not harden and dry out so the larval wasp has living fresh meat.

Bug on Pine Tree
I have at least four of these on my pine tree about four feet up the trunk. They are at least an inch long. The tree also is infested with what I believe to be Southern Pine Beetles. I live in Florida. Is this bug related to the beetle infestation in any way? Is it beneficial, pest, or neutral? Thank you,

Hi Susan,
There are many beetles that feed on pine trees, and this is one. It is the Sculptured Pine Borer or Virginia Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis. The adults feed on pine needles, but it is the larvae that are most damaging to the trees. According to BugGuide: “Female lays eggs on scars in bark of living pines. Also sometimes feeds on downed logs. Larvae feed under bark over several years before maturing, may reduce much of tree to sawdust. Life cycle is two or more years.”

Love your site! Took your advice and purchased Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America to aid in identifying the interesting insects I often photograph. However, after searching the book and through all your pages of beetles, I couldn’t identify this guy (or gall). It appears to be a beetle, but can’t determine for sure. The photo was taken in Florida on April 18, 2002. Any ideas?

Hi Shane,
This is a Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae. We believe it is the Florida Blister Beetle, Epicauta floridensis, based on images posted to BugGuide. We will consult Eric Eaton, who authored the Kaufman Guide, to see if he agrees.

Confirmation: (12/31/2007)
Hi, Daniel:
I agree the blister beetle is in the genus Epicauta. Beyond that, I can’t say. Epicauta is probably decades overdue for a revision, and I dare say that molecular studies will reveal many more species than are presently described. Sometimes, identification to only genus level (or even family in some cases) is quite an accomplishment all by itself:-) Good work.

What kind of butterfly?
I photographed this guy feeding on a Turks cap flower. The close-up shows something on its head like a metal ring. Could it be a tracking device or part of one. I live just south of Melbourne, Fl. thanks,

Hi Mike,
Your butterfly is a Large Orange Yellow, Phoebis agarithe. According to BugGuide, it can be found year round in South Florida. We don’t see anything unusual on the head.

Reply ASAP!
I just stumbled across your site in my rush to find out what kind of bug this is I photographed. It’s being submitted to a local magazine, but I need the name of it before the deadline Sunday night! This was a last minute thing. I don’t even know if your site is ‘current’…or how often you receive/reply to emails. I’m crossing my fingers at how soon or “if” I might hear back from you. I’ve bookmarked your site–I can’t wait to look through the other pages. Love the Luna Moths! Oh, by the way this picture was taken here in Maine where I live….in case that helps. In the meantime, I’ll continue my own research on it! ugh!! Thank you,
Stephanie Lovell

Hi Stephanie,
This is a Hummingbird Clearwing Caterpillar, Hemaris thysbe. Good luck getting your photo published. Meanwhile, we will have it on our homepage for a few days.