From the monthly archives: "March 2008"

Spider from Florida
I took this spider picture at the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park on 3/24/08 on the Coastal Hammock Trail. I have been unable to determine what kind of spider it is. Can someone help me? Thanks,

Hi Sue,
Your spider is an Orchard Spider, Leucauge venusta, a beautiful and harmless species.

Great website. Cool looking moths. These things just invaded our house the other day. Any idea what they are? Thanks for the help!

Hi Frank,
This is an Indian Meal Moth, Plodia interpunctella. It is a common household pest since it infests stored cereal and grain products, including pet food. Our own recent infestations included oat meal and corn meal.

Dearest Daniel
We live part time in a home in the Caribbean. Every day I say to myself “whatsthatbug”, so needless to say, I love your website and will visit often. And thank you for the quick response to my Canadian moth question! I’m throwing out flour as we speak. You rock!!!

Bee fly on grape plant
I found these bee flies on young grape plants in my backyard in Dallas TX. Bombylius major I believe. Have you known these to be a problem in vineyards? Curiously, they just landed on my Zinfandel and Shiraz grape plants, but not my Black Spanish plants which are Pierce Disease resistant (my first worry was the glassy-winged sharpshooter). Zinfandel and Shiraz are vitis vinifera (European) plants. Thanks,
Richard Jernigan

Hi Richard,
The Greater Bee Fly poses no threat to your vines. The adult Greater Bee Fly is a pollinator, and in that sense it is beneficial. The larvae though are parasitic on Solitary Bees, and in that sense, while not injurious, they might have an adverse effect on pollination done by the bees.

Hi Bugman,
We photographed this moth today on the back porch of our house on Edwards Air Force Base California. We’re in the western Mojave desert. I’ve been unable to find a resource to identify it and was hoping you could help. Wingtip to wingtip was about 7 inches.
William and Sara Wilson
Edwards AFB, CA

Hi William and Sara,
This is the second image we received today of a Big Poplar Sphinx, Pachysphinx occidentalis, also known as the Western Poplar Sphinx, from California.

mysterious beauty
I’m a librarian, and a patron submitted this photo to me and asked if I could identify it. I looked in books and online for hours and am still stumped. I’m not even sure if this is a moth or butterfly, and I can’t find a match anywhere. Any ideas? Thanks!

Hi Marco,
This is a Nessus Sphinx, Amphion floridensis, one of the sphinx moths in the family Sphingidae. It is a diurnal moth that flies until dusk. Where are you located?

Sorry – I just realized I left that out. This was taken this morning in the person’s backyard down here in Richmond, Texas (just outside of Houston). Thanks for the reply.

What’s this moth?
Hello there,
I live in Bakersfield, CA. When I was out at a horse farm, resting on a juniper was this very large moth, of which I have never seen before! I am trying to look it up, and I’m guessing it is a type of Sphinx, but was wondering which
kind, and abit of info. on it. Sure would love the help – it was so lovely! Sincerely,

Hi Karen,
Your Sphinx, Pachysphinx occidentalis, is called the Big Poplar Sphinx by Bill Oehlke, but we have also seen it called the Western Poplar Sphinx in other publications including BugGuide. It is found in riparian areas where the caterpillar food plants, willow and poplar grow. The species ranges in the western U.S. and Canada into Baja California. According to BugGuide, adults fly ifrom May to September in the southern part of the range, so we are guessing the unseasonal rains in California in fall 2007 have resulted in an early emergance this year.