From the monthly archives: "March 2008"

What was that bug?
Hi Bugman !
I was recently visiting my folks in Maine, this cocoon(?) was in a maple tree in the yard. It is probably about 5 inches long. What do you think? Pondering in Portland,

Hi Jim,
This is a Cecropia Moth Cocoon. The small hole in the second photograph indicates that it may have been parasitized since it seems to small for the adult moth to have emerged.

Interesting caterpillar
Here are some photos of a very small and strange looking caterpillar we have in our backyard. It has a large and noble head with the two horns. It looks like nothing else on your neat site. The caterpillar spent the night evidently going around in circles on the top of a bucket. When I placed it on a plant it inched off. Tried a striped ivy and now he is climbing a hackberry. Does it look familiar to you? Thanks so much.
Randy and Jan
San Antonio, Texas

Hi Randy and Jan,
If this is not a Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar, Asterocampa celtis, then it is one of the other Emperors in the same genus.

Interesting little character.
Sorry if you’ve identified this bug before, but it is difficult to root through your webpage. It’s sort of like being told to look up the word psychology in the dictionary to learn how to spell it if you don’t know what it starts with. Anyway, if you could identify it, I’d appreciate it, thanks.

Hi D,
Navigating through our archives can seem daunting, but our website has something in common with most knowledge and many skills: that the learning curve is steepest at the beginning of the process. Your dictionary metaphor made us smile, since we often marvel that the things we have learned randomly from a dictionary while searching for a specific goal are often much more rewarding than the knowledge we actually sought. This is a Carrion Beetle.

Red Admirals, Bay Shore, NY
I know you prefer current photos (as they are found) but it’s still too cold here in NY for most of the insects to come out. I am waiting eagerly for them to show up! Here are a couple of Red Admiral photos from last summer(2007) when they came to feed and hang out on our shrubs around the house. If you can use them, please do. Otherwise, enjoy the photos.

Hi Tamar,
Though it is too cold in New York for Red Admirals right now, they are flying in our own Mt Washington, Los Angeles garden. Readers in warmer climates might benefit from your images. The open winged photo demonstrates the typical sunning posture of this frisky species.

Da bug
I am a ranger at Okefenokee NWR, where we have many species of butterflies. I found this caterpillar on March 28, 2008, on what may be it’s host plant. Can you identify the caterpillar, and, ideally, the plant? Thanks for a great website!
Sallie Gentry
Refuge Ranger
Okefenokee NWR
Folkston, GA

Da bug
Here’s your caterpillar. Have you figured out the plant yet? See you Monday.

Hi Sally,
It looks like JR gave you a task for the weekend. The caterpillar is an American Lady Caterpillar, Vanessa virginiensis. We found a website that states: “The larvae, unlike those of the Painted Lady, feed on a comparatively limited range of foodplants. The preferred food sources are plants of the everlasting tribe of the Compositae, such as sweet everlasting ( Graphalium obtusifolium ), pearly everlasting ( Anaphalis margaritacea ), and plantain-leaved pussytoes ( Antennaria plantaginifolia ); they also feed occasionally on burdock ( Arctium ), wormwood ( Artemisia ), and ironweed ( Vernonia ) (Opler and Krizek 1984; Scott 1986).” Additional web searching led us to the Connecticut Botanical Society website. We believe your plant is the Plantain-Leaved Pussytoes, Antennaria plantaginifolia, also known as Woman’s Tobacco.