From the monthly archives: "January 2008"

help with ID
Hello Mr. Bugman:
I’m an Extension Agent on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and my friend, who is traveling in Australia, sent this ‘bug’ picture. It was taken at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney and I’ve tried to identify the “bugs.” My guess is that they are tortoise shell beetles of the family Chrysomelidae . However, my collegue who studies ticks and is known as the “tickman” disagrees and says they are bugs – and not beetles. Could you please help me with identifying these creatures? Thank-You,

Hi Diane,
These are immature Cotton Harlequin Bugs, Tectocoris diophthalmus. According to the Geocities website, they are in the family Scutelleridae: “Species in this family are know as Jewel Bugs or Shield Backed Bugs . Bugs in this family are usually colourful with metallic colour of spots. Shield-backed bugs are plant suckers. They can be distinguished from other bugs by their scutellum completely covered the whole abdomen and wings. This is why sometimes they are miss-recognized as beetle. They are easily distinguished from beetles by having sucking mouthparts and the shield on the back is continuous, not the divided wings cover with separation at the middle. This family are closely related to stink bugs (Family Pentatomidae ). They also produce offensive odors when disturbed. We found three species in this family. ” Elsewhere on the site, it is noted that: “The bugs are also known as Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs . Females are orange with small patches of metallic blue scatter over their body. Males are metallic blue with red patches. Their patterns can be quite different between individuals. Males are smaller than the females in size. Their scutellum completely covers the whole abdomen and wings. “

Thank-You!!!! You’re a great resource for help in identification. I forwarded your reply to my friend who’s traveling in Australia. She really appreciated it and is bedazzling her friends with her local “bug” knowledge. Thanks again,

Unusual grasshopper
Hi again, here’s a pic of an unusual grasshopper I found a few months ago. I’m sure it’s a toothpick grasshopper but it looks a little different from the ones I saw on your site. We’re in Orlando FL. I’ve been cutting grass out here commercially for a long time and I’ve never seen one. Wondering if they’re supposed to be common here. It’s about 1 1/2 inches long.
Mike Suchora
Orlando, FL

Hi Mike,
This stunning image is of a Long-Headed Toothpick Grasshopper, Achurum carinatum. There are currently 14 images of this species on BugGuide, and they are all from Florida and Georgia. As to its being common, we believe it is not rare, and there might be many more submissions were it not for the excellent camouflage.

caterpillar freakazoid
we found a caterpillar yesterday in our driveway that is just under 8 inches long about 18cm! we dont know what kind it is. its freaky looking and is furry and spiky. can u help us out. we live in an urban area in north west NSW of australia. we dont think its a native.
Angela Ritter NSW Australia

Hi Angela,
The White Stemmed Gum Moth Caterpillar, Chelepteryx collesi, is a native species that we located on the Australian Caterpillars website. It is in the family ANTHELIDAE that is confined to Australia and New Zealand. The website explains that: “This Caterpillar is a great hazard to people climbing Gum trees. Scattered over its skin are tufts of long stiff reddish hairs, which are strong enough to penetrate human skin. When they do, they are very painful, and difficult to remove because they are barbed and brittle.” It is also noted that: “It is also one of the largest Caterpillars in Australia, growing in length to about 12 cms. Some trees where they may be found most years in Leichhardt are known by local school-children as ‘sausage trees’ because the Caterpillars look from the ground like sausages growing in the trees.”

sum bug help!
I just found your site and I must say it’s really awesome!! I’m from Canary Islands, Spain. I found this today walking around my lettuces and I’m wondering if it’s good or bad (I mean for my veggy garden, I know it won’t harm me). I think it’s an hemipteran, but I’m not sure what it feeds on. I googled it a little bit, but I’ve read some feed on other smaller insects, others eat plants and some feed on blood. Can you ID this one for me and maybe guess what it eats? Thank you, and keep up the great job! Hugs,

Hi Cernunnas,
We can’t tell you the species, but we have narrowed down your identification to the family level. This colorful specimen is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae. It is probably a plant eating specimen (sucking mouthparts for ingesting plant fluids) but some Stink Bugs are predatory. In trying to find you an answer, we found a profile on an entomologist, Jordi Ribes, who specializes in the Pentatomidae of Europe, and we will try to contact him.

Dear Daniel,
This Stink bug is Eurydema (Eurydema) ornata (L. 1758). Best wishes.
Jordi Ribes

Big moth in Florida
Just sent the pics of the moth in Florida and just wanted to introduce myself and say hello. I do love bugs and considering I have run my own lawn service here in Florida for the last 17 years, I do have a backlog of bug pics. I’ll pace myself. Glad your site is here. I always take the pics but alot of them just remain a mystery. Always have a critter keeper in the truck and have brought home many. Favorite to date was a bark mantis. It had personality. Just saying hello. Found this on my front porch. We have some visiting clear wing hummingbird moths and that’s what I thought it was at first. But it’s not. What is it? My best guess would be the Virginia Creeper Sphinx but not exactly. It was calm for a bit then raised it’s wings and stretched them for a bit then flew away. Video of that attached too. Fantastic moth. Please let me know what it is.
Mike Suchora
Orlando, FL

Hi Mike,
Your moth is a Gaudy Sphinx, Eumorpha labruscae. Many of the images we have received of this species are a more vivid green, while your moth is a lovely olive color. You can find wonderful photos and information on Bill Oehlke’s great website.

An nusual Caterpillar from NZ
Hi There
I found this caterpillar whilst trimming some grapevines . I have no idea what it is. I suspect some kind of moth. Hope you can help. Thanks
Tony Austwick
Tauranga, New Zealand

Hi Tony,
We were relatively certain we properly identified your caterpillar as an Emperor Gum Moth Caterpillar, Opodiphthera eucalypti, but finding it on a grape vine had us puzzled. Additional research revealed that grape is a host plant as well as eucalyptus.