From the monthly archives: "February 2008"

a katydid
Greetings! I saw this in mid August in a Cypress swamp in Hilton Head, SC. I thought it was a grasshopper, but then I started looking on your site and realized that it is a Katydid. A Red-headed Meadow Katydid?? Just a wild guess. thanks. I love your site.
Betsy Higgins

Hi Betsy,
According to images posted to BugGuide, we believe you have the genus correct, but that this is a different species of Meadow Katydid. We favor Orchelimum minor.

Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
I have been looking at the page with unidentified katydids (Katydids 2), and thought I could help with some ID’s. From top to bottom they are: Meadow katydid – Orchelimum (possibly eythrocephalum, but this is a nymph)

found in thousand oaks, ca
This is our friend Ned, we found him under a rock in our backyard. At first we thought he was a worm, then noticed his eyes and tried to ID him as a snake… then we went and looked again and noticed he had feet. Could you help us ID him? Thanks!
John & Nicole

Hi Nicole and John,
We knew this was a Salamander, since we find them in our own Mt Washington, Los Angeles garden. We discover individuals in our own garden when we move firewood that has been in contact with the ground for long periods of time. We did a bit more researdh and have discovered on a website that the Slender Salamanders in the genus Batrachoseps are a California specialty, occasionally straying into Oregon and Baja California Mexico. The taxonomy is quite confusing, and there are about 20 species. Your letter and image have inspired us to create an Amphibian page on our site, and we will photograph our own darker Slender Salamanders the next time we encounter one.

Help ID please or maybe Grev can help
Hi Guys,
this is a new one on me, I have never seen anything even close. This is a large moth, body about 1.5″ to 2′” long. It is an awkward erratic flyer and when in flight the wings appear orange/brown on the underside. When it
finds a roost it immediately swings upside down and folds its wings as shown.. I have looked on geocities and Australian Moths on line but I can’t find a match. Hope you can find a match for me. Taken 20th February 2008, Gold Coast, Queensland. Thanks for the research on those wasps, regards,
Trevor Jinks

Hi Trevor,
This is a most unusual moth. We will post your photos and hopefully someone can lead us to the correct species. The curving back of the wings is such a distinctive feature. We skimmed this Moth Site to no avail.

Update: (02/21/2008) ID found for the Moth
Thanks to Roger Kendrick from C & R Wildlife, the moth is a Eudocima salaminia, Noctuidae, Catocalinae. This link has all the info. Unfortunately this is a pest species for fruit so probably lots of these beautiful moths get poisoned. regards,

Update: (02/21/2008)
australian moth
Hi Daniel,
I had some luck with the last mystery moth, so, I’ve been looking for the mystery moth you posted the other day from Queensland. I think I’m on to it… If it’s not Eudocima salaminia, it’s got to be related to them, commonly the fruit piercing moths . Hope this helps you out, I’ve read how busy you both are. Here in CT there’s not much bugwatching to be done, we’re expecting some snow tomorrow. Take care,
Karen Oram, Shelton, CT

Want to know what this is…
What kind of insect is this?
David P. Summers, SETI Institute
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA

Hi David,
You have told us much more about yourself than you did about the Cerambycid Beetle in your photo. We do not want to assume that because you are in California, that your Longhorn Beetle is also from California. We would really like to try to identify the species and would appreciate confirmation that the beetle was photographed in California. It really is a strikingly beautiful specimen. We will check if Eric Eaton recognizes it.

Hi, Daniel:
Yes, the longhorn beetle is Crossidius coralinus, a common species in arid lands of the western U.S. Adult beetles in the genus Crossidius in general can be abundant on late summer composite flowers, especially rabbitbrush. I believe the larve feed in the roots of sagebrush, but don’t quote me there.

It wasn’t photographed in California. The photo was taken in Zion National Park, Utah, on the Paarus Trail (in the early afternoon?). The Paarus trail winds long the Virgin river at the bottom of the canyon. If it matters, it was bright and sunny but there had been a brief but heavy shower a couple hours before.

spider beetles, Niptus hololeucus, in the UK
Hi there bug lovers,
In the last 3 or 4 months I have been seeing these beetles in our city flat off and on (I’ve probably seen more than a dozen by now). I have been trying to key them ever since I saw the second one but never got any further than ‘bed bug’, which I know they are not, or assassin bug (which quite frankly is an even worse match). I have collected 5 of them (2mm -5mm, in all kinds of brown shades) in a jar where they ‘didn’t get to eat anything’ for about a month (appart from a dead spider which they seemed to have taken appart) until yesterday when I gave them a bit of old boilt rice (which they also seemed to like). We eat a lot of grain and health foods which means we have a lot of them around but they are being used and replenished regularly and I never noticed any batch to be parasitized. Although I’m sure that we must have a source somewhere I’ve never successfully located one. I have also recently noticed very few and small moth type holes in one of my boyfriend’s t-shirts and don’t know whether that could have been the bugs. The biggest bug (see pic of bug a grain of boilt rice) even has some really nice ornamentation on its back. Without magnification one can’t even see a suture on their backs but I did catch one flying once. Now, roaming through your site I finally found which species they should most likely be!!! I am sure they are some type of spider beetle, most likely Niptus hololeucus. However, no matter which site I find there seem to have been no sightings of this (American) species in the UK so far! If you could help me solve this riddle once and for all I’d be forever grateful! I have also attached pictures of two of my captured bugs. Thank you tons,
PS.: Since the last time I tried to contact you I have also found that they come crawling out of my downstairs neighbour’s drain sometimes and I have in fact seen one crawling out of one of our drains… ( abit weird for a bug that’s meant to feed on grains, no?)

Hi Julja,
We agree that this is a Spider Beetle, and also that the species looks correct. We googled some key words and found a great website on Spider Beetles with species listed and distributions. The Golden Spider Beetle, Niptus hololeucus, is listed as Cosmopolitan except for some areas of the tropics.

Bug Love (Grasshoppers, Moriarity, NM)
Attached is an image of a couple of amorous grasshoppers taken early October of 2007 near the town of Moriarity, NM; 40 miles east of Albuquerque. I am assuming the larger one is the female. She is almost as large as the index finger of a working man’s hand. The male had, what appeared to be, a defense behavior of springing its legs backwards if I got too close for its comfort. The broadside image was somewhat difficult to take because the female would rotate about the wire she was hanging on as I tried to position the camera; always positioning her belly toward the camera lens. I particularly like the bright red, yellow and black coloring of the male’s spiny legs; not to mention the vivid greens of their bodies. These bugs were everywhere and I can only guess they provided a substantial protein source to their natural predators for weathering the coming winter. Hope y’all enjoy. Regards,

Hi Dan,
The grasshoppers in your wonderful photo are Green Bird Grasshoppers, Schistocerca shoshone, also known as the Green Valley Grasshopper. According to BugGuide, they are found in “streamside (riparian) and desert habitats; also frequently found in cornfields or other tall growing vegetation.”