From the monthly archives: "April 2008"

Help to ID Caterpillar
We’ve looked all through all 13 pages of caterpillars on your awesome site, but could not find this one. We are currently camping at Oscar Scherer State Park near Sarasota , Fl and have seen several off these, mostly on the roads. They’re about 2 inches long. Thanks,
John & Joan Willlis

Hi John and Joan,
We know our archives are a tangled mess, but if you visit Caterpillars 11 from September 2007, you will find a photo of an Echo Moth Caterpillar, Seirarctia echo. It is backlit, so it looks different from your photo which is front lit. You can find more on the Echo Moth on BugGuide. All of the submissions to BugGuide are from Florida, but the moth can also be found in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

What is it?
Hey guys,
Today April 26, a bunch of these beetles just showed up and they are everywhere! Never seen them around here before and the fact that they are in numbers makes me wonder…
Anyhow, before I smash them or roast them and eat them, thought I better find out what they are. I did review your many fine photos and saw a couple similar but not exact specimens. Thus the inquiry. I generally don’t use pesticides for all the obvious reasons. So, if these guys are problematic will the birds eat them? Thanks,
San Diego
Found them in the lawn and around foundation plantings.

Hi Greg,
Interestingly, when we tried to use BugGuide to identify what species of Caterpillar Hunter in the genus Calosoma you have, we found an identical request. Your request came first, but because we are a very small operation, and the posting is done internally, not through contributor posting, the image on BugGuide was posted first. We will see if an answer is provided. Our money is on Calosoma semilaeve, which seems to be a well documented California species. Calosoma cancellatum is another possibility. Frequest, well-spaced rains in southern California in the past six months are resulting in good vegetation growth and an increase in caterpillar populations. This means a food source for predators, including your Caterpillar Hunter.

spider query
Any idea what this one is? It jumps really far. and had iridescent green eyes. I tried to pick it up with a piece of paper and it put its front legs up in the air.

This is a Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae. Without a location, we will not even attempt to identify the species.

Hi Daniel,
I sent the attached photographs to you some time ago and I never heard back so I assume they were lost. I’m still curious about the spiderlings, however, and I wonder if you have any thoughts. The pictures were taken in late May on our deck in southwest Oregon in a madrone/oak forest. Based on Bug Guide pictures, the spiderlings might be an Argiope or an Araneus species, but the adult looks like a jumping spider. When the adult appeared, the spiderlings ignored it, although they would respond by moving rapidly if I so much as blew lightly on them. I suspect that the adult is too small physically to be the mother and produce that number of eggs but, if I’m right, then what is it, and why weren’t the spiderlings frightened by it? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. I enjoyed the back and forth between you and Johanna and her nails. Your website is interesting, informative and fun, all at the same time, and I read it regularly. Thanks for your help.

Hi Bob,
You are correct that your spiderlings are Orb Weaver Spiderlings, probably Argiope or Araneus species. The adult spider is an Antmimic Spider in the genus Castianeira, probably Castianeira cingulata.

green lyssomanes
Greetings, and thank you for your WONDERUL site! We live on the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida, so we have zillions of lovely critters that share our world, and we use your site for reference often. My 3 and 6 year olds also love perusing the great photos. Finally I may have a photo that you could use. I noticed that you don’t have many pics of the Green Jumping Spider–hard to photograph because they are so small. I took this the other day on our playset—they are quite unafraid of us and blend in with the green plastic slide…. Thanks again,

Hi Robin,
Thanks for you kind letter and your photo of a Green Jumping Spider. We believe it is Lyssomanes viridis, the Magnolia Green Jumper as pictured on BugGuide.

Spider photos
Attached are photos of a spider a worker at a local grocery store found in a bunch of organic bananas. He said the sider was inside a egg pouch with the spiderlings. He froze and destroyed the egg sac after he removed the adult. Is this a banana spider?

There are several unrelated spiders known commonly as Banana Spiders, including Golden Silk Spiders in the genus Nephila and Huntsman Spiders. One of the most commonly encountered Banana Spiders is Heteropoda venatoria, also known as a Giant Crab Spider. It looks like the spider in your photo might be a female Heteropoda venatoria.