From the monthly archives: "May 2008"

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I found these bug casings on a painted pillar outside my front door today. They were stuck to it as if they really sank their claws in while exiting their shells. My wife thought they were bees because of the stripes on their abdomen. They also have some pretty mean looking claws. They are about one inch long, maybe a little less. What the heck are they? We live in Redding, (northern) California. Also, we leave the porch light on at night and they were found a few feet below the bulb. Thanks,
Mike Sawyer

Hi Mike,
These are the cast off exoskeletons of Cicadas. Larval Cicadas live underground. When they are ready to mature, they claw their way to the surface, shed their exoskeletons, and become winged adults.

I found this caterpillar in my yard (Pensacola, Florida) and I wanted to see if you could help me identify it. It is not very big, I would say about 1 and a half inches long. Thanks

Hi Noel,
Your caterpillar is an American Lady, Vanessa virginiensis. You can read mor about it on BugGuide.

Please will you help me identify this VERY strange-looking insect?
My friends and I lunch at a wooden table under some tall eucalyptus trees outside our chemistry building at the Australian National University in Canberra. Sometimes ladybird larvae and other little insects (and birds) commune with us.
Yesterday, we were visited by a very strange little insect. I have another photograph, in case it may prove useful). I have never seen an insect like this one. I tried to hold it, but it escaped me with a very powerful jump – like a grasshopper. After a couple of jumps, it was very successfully camouflaged on the pebbly ground. Kind regards,
Australian National University,
Canberra, ACT

Hi David,
This is an immature Eurybrachyid Planthopper, commonly called a Gum Hopper or Wattle Hopper. You can find a page devoted to this family on the Geocities website.

What the is this trantula-sized spider that I found in my house in Virginia?
My sister found this spider under a pumpkin that had been in our house since October. My mom actually thought this spider was fake when my sister first discovered him because it was so huge. We live in Northern Virginia and we found it today, May 29, 2008. It was about 3 1/2 to 4 inches (including its legs). I was looking up pictures of spiders trying to find out what it was, and I thought maybe it was a fishing spider of some sort, but this one did not have little black, spikey hairs on it like most of the ones in the pictures did. It was more furry. What is it?!

You are correct in thinking it is a Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes. There is much information online about these fascinating spiders that are actually capable of catching fish.

Larvae found in basement
I don’t know what kind of larvae this is but I never saw one quite so big. He is about 4 inches long and about ? inch thick. I live in South Central Pennsylvania USA. I am near water if that helps. This guy was crawling along my basement floor and I thought maybe you would know what he turns into or what he is? Thanks,

Hi John,
You have discovered a Hellgrammite, the larval form of a Dobsonfly.

ID Butterfly
Will you please help me ID this butterfly. I think it is some type of Hairstreak. This picture was taken on Sapelo Island, GA on May 21, 2008. Thanks,
Lee McHugh
Tallahassee, FL

Hi Lee,
The angle of view makes exact identification difficult for novices like us, but we believe this is a Southern Hairstreak, Satyrium favonius, as evidenced by an image posted to BugGuide.