From the monthly archives: "February 2008"

powdery white beetle in Florida
Hi, I live in South Florida and found two of these in my daughter’s little playhouse outside in the yard. They’re quite small — just a bit bigger than a lady bug. They are a dull, powdery white. I can’t find them online anywhere. Do you know what they are? (The photos are also attached.) Many thanks,
Cindy Glover, Lake Worth, FL

Hi Cindy,
Your insect is a Little Leaf Notcher Weevil, Myllocerus undatus. It is not a native species and has been reported from Florida. BugGuide has an excellent image, and a Florida Pest Alert Website lists 68 plants that can be damaged by this invasive species from Sri Lanka.

Beetle ID
I was hiking with friends in the desert the other day in Baja and we came across these beetles on a margarite bush (incensio in Spanish). They had black wings. Underneath, they were red-orange with black dots. Very pretty. Thank You!

Hi Lynn,
Your beetle is Lytta magister, the Master Blister Beetle. According to BugGuide: “Pressing or rubbing adult blister beetles may cause them to exude some of their hemolymph (“blood”), which contains Cantharidin. Cantharidin causes blistering of the skin, thus the name blister beetle.”

Name this green giant please…
Hi there bugman,
I almost had a heart attack when I saw this caterpillar on my young sweetsop/anon/sweet apple tree. I live in Miami Florida. I tried identifying it, is not a tomato hornworm nor a luna moth…It measures about four inches long, it only has the little red dots on the sides and the white line that ends in a horn, on its posterior end it has a grouping of red dots. It’s the only one I have seen in my garden and curiosity kills me. Please help me identify it, and thank you for this wonderful website and the work you do.

Hi Manuela,
You were close with the Tomato Hornworm. This is another Sphinx Moth Caterpillar, typically called Hornworms. It is in the genus Cocytius. It is either Duponchel’s Sphinx, Cocytius duponchel, or more likely, Cocytius antaeus, which has no common name. Both caterpillars feed on Sour Sop or Custard apple,
Annona glabra, and other related plants. The caterpillar of Cocytius antaeus is a closer visual match.

Hi Daniel,
I appreciate you writing me back. curiosity kept me searching until I found it on one of those University websites that have their “bug” study area. I agree that it matches more with the Giant Sphinx- Cocytius antaeus. The color and markings were exact. I had let it stay on my 2 1/2 foot tree overnight and when I saw my little tree in the morning…it had to go! I value more my sweetsop tree than a giant moth. It is not an endangered specie, the blue jays wouldn’t touch it nor the other birds, so the ants are having a go at it. Thanks again for your help.

Hi Manuela
We did a bit more research after receiving your response, and according to a Wikipedia article on the Giant Sphinx: “Its wingspan can measure up to 17cm, and is very rare in North America. It is the only insect in North America with a long enough proboscis to pollinate the also rare Ghost Orchid .” The Ghost Orchid was popularized in Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief that subsequently led to the film “Adaptation”.

(no subject)
Sorry for the low quality of the photos (I don’t own a macro lens for my digital yet) but this beetle was small at about 1⁄4 of an inch. The fabric it is walking on is a canvas cover for my boat, so you can get an idea how small it is. The photo was taken in Feb of 2008 in South Florida in my backyard. Can you give it a name? Sincerly,
George Detrio

Hi George,
The first time we received a photo of this beautiful metallic Weevil, Eurhinus magnificus, in April 2005, it created quite a stir. This Central American Metallic Weevil originates in Costa Rica, Panama and Southern Mexico, but was introduced to Florida.

Update: 17 June 2009, 7:27 AM
In trying to identify an unusual Weevil from Costa Rica today, we stumbled upon this great link with the life cycle of Eurhinus magnificus.

Identification of a sapsucker
Hi, This was spotted in New Zealand in large numbers on grapevines, olives and native vegetation (all along the edge of pines). It appears to be sap-sucking on vigorous and mature tissue — honeydew present, bees attracted. Its wings have 4 bits to them. Could not visibly see any sucking mouthparts with the naked eye. Very docile but hop with force when disturbed. Wings lay flat, not erect. Bodyshape reminiscent of leafhopper but wings are throwing me off – much more moth-like. Maximum dimension 1/2 inch square. Any clues appreciated!

These are Planthoppers as you originally suspected. We located the Ricaniid Planthoppers on the Geocities website, and believe this might be the Passionvine Hopper, Scolypopa australis. We found a website that states: “Scolypopa australis … remains as the only ricaniid recorded in New Zealand” as well as: “This species builds up into huge populations on passion vines and kiwifruit vines causing heavy deposits of ‘honeydew’. This leads to the growth of sooty moulds which impair the marketability of the fruit.”

Massive Moth: What
Hi Bugman
Spotted this excellent moth dead on my door step this morning (a victim of the cold i think) just wondering if you could shed any light as to the species, im sure it cannot be British seen as im 25 and never seen anything like it and as you can see by my pictures its of a decent size. Please could you tell me where its from if indeed it isnt british Thanks In Advance
Gary Richardson

Hi Gary,
We researched the Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic, and quickly located the Privet Hawkmoth, Sphinx ligustri. It is found in most of temperate Europe, including England. Most puzzling is the website lists its flight time as April through August. Your specimen is either very early or very late.