From the monthly archives: "January 2008"

Hag Moth Caterpillar?
My name is Lidia, (I don’t speak english so much) I saw your page ‘What’s that bug’ and I like it, I saw an stranger bug in a tree in front of my house two weeks ago (I live in Panamá) and I was surprised and then I started to search in the web and I found your page, and I now I think that this caterpillar is a Hag Moth Caterpillar or Monkey slug. This is true? Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures. Thanks.

Hi Lidia,
While we cannot guarantee that your caterpillar is the same species as the North American Monkey Slug, Phobetron pithecium, the maps on BugGuide as well as our own letters indicate they are common in Texas. If they are in Texas, chances are quite good they are in Mexico. Since plants and animals tend to ignore international borders, chances are also good they may be found in Central America including Panama. If your specimen is not the same species, Phobetron pithecium, it is definitely in the same genus. It is therefore valid to call your caterpillar a Monkey Slug.

Please identify the bug in the attached photo. I’ve looked at the flies and wasp lists, but I have not found a match. Thank you.
Ron Fifer
St. Helena Island, SC

Hi Ron,
This is a Polka Dot Wasp Moth. Just today, we removed our Bug of the Month for January from our homepage, and it was a Polka Dot Wasp Moth.

I have a strange bug
I found him in my backyard, in Murrieta California. Do you know who he is?

Hi Linda,
My is this photo positively gorgeous, and the beetle itself is equally stunning. We finally located a matching image on BugGuide from Arizona, Tragidion annulatum. Margarethe Brummermann posted the following comment: “If I read the source correctly annulatum was the original name and is still used for the Southwest population, whereas peninsulare is a later split-off for the California and Baja populations.” We then followed a link to an image of Tragidion peninsularum. We are happy identifying your specimen as Trigidion peninsularum unless we are proven wrong. It is also the end of the month and time to select a Bug of the Month for February. We like to post timely sightings for that honor that will help readers with seasonal identifications. This species is a first for our site, and perhaps there will be additional sightings in California this year, so we are thrilled to make your Tragidion peninsularum the Bug of the Month for February 2008. We will write to Eric Eaton in the hopes that he will confirm this identification, and perhaps add some relevant information.

Hi, Daniel:
I can’t make a call on the longhorned beetle, other than to say the genus and gender are both correct….

insect Southern Spain
I just learned your internet address from TV. And I’m sending you a photo of an insect of which the photo was taken in Southern Spain, to be correct in Marbella. I would very much like to know which insect it is and the name in English but also in Latin, if possible, so I can find out the German name. With kind regards,
Annerose Reuter,

Hi Annerose,
We are quite curious where and when our site was on television, and in what context. This is some species of fly, probably in the family Syrphidae, known as Hover Flies or Flower Flies. Eric Eaton provided the following correction: “Hi, Daniel: The Spanish fly is a Frit Fly in the family Chloropidae. Can’t offer more information than that. Eric”

Dear Daniel,
thank you very much for the quick answer. I believe I will never really know which kind of fly this is because there seem to be hundreds. I saw TV this morning, in fact it was ZDF, the first program, and it is called “ZDF Morgenmagazin”. I’m sending you a link to the ZDF-site: http://www.morgenmagazin.zdf .de/ In the middle of the site you find: Die Momasurfer Nr. 28 and when you click on this, you come to this site:,1872 ,7153380,00.html and there you will find the hint on your site. With kind regards and thanking you again, yours,

Need bug ID please
I’ve been doing reptile rescue/rehab for close to 30 years now. I’ve seen every mite, springtail, tick etc there probably is in snake enclosures. However today, I found a film of "dust" floating on the surface (none sank that I could see) of a baby Amazon tree boa’s water bowl. The enclosed photo is of 2 specks of the "dust" at 1600x plus whatever the zoom of my digital camera might have added. I can’t find any good photos of larvae stages of various mite species. Plus it only has 6 legs. The only other "bug" I regularly see in the snake cages other than springtails and occasionally reptile mites is some type of very small fly that dies off when the cages are dry but come back when they stay damp for a few days or when bowels move or when a snake sheds, they stick around till the shed dries. (We lovingly refer to these flies as "shed flies". We use permetherin to kill off mite infestations. Permetherin does not kill these flies …anyway, that’s another topic. What is this little bug the larvae, pupa or adult stage of? Any idea? I observed the one on the right sloughing. It appears the one on the left had already sloughed. I can see them a lot better directly through the microscope than you can see in the photos. Sorry about that. It’s the best I can do with the equipment I have. Thanks
Brett Gardin

Hi Brett,
This is one of the Elongate Bodied Springtails in the suborder Arthropleona. In our humble opinion, this is Podura aquatica, which, according to BugGuide is: “Semi-aquatic. Often found floating on the surface of small bodies of standing water such as ponds, as well as on stream and pond banks.”

Please help I have been trying to figure out what these are but so far have been unsuccessful. The green one looks like some sort of shiledback katydid but not sure. I took that one in the summer 2007 in Florida. The other one has been prominent in my back yard (also in Florida) for almost a year, but still not sure what it is. Thanks a lot for your help

Hi Katelyn,
The insect we are not posting appears to be an immature katydid. Your other “ant thing” is actually a Stilt Legged Fly in the family Taeniapterinae and we located a lovely image on BugGuide.