From the monthly archives: "May 2008"

Take me to your Leader! — Big beetle from Kerala, India
This thing was HUGE! Antennae at least 4″ across, and the body about 3″ long, or more. Maybe bigger. The column width of the magazine in the background is 4″. Searched all 14 pages of your “Beetle Files” (talk about an inordinate fondness!), didn’t see anything resembling it. Rural India, 40 km SW (appx) of Cochin, surrounded by mango and papaya trees. Too tired to write a snappy note, just wanted to pass the pictures on and maybe get an ID. Can send hi-res, but I think this should be sufficient for one email. (!) I’ve cropped these. Let me know if you need more detail, or better pictures. Field guide looks cool. I’ve added it to my wish-list! Thanks and Best Regards,

Hi Jim,
After a bit of internet research, we are no closer to an answer than before we began. We know this is a Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae, probably in the subfamily Prioninae. Perhaps one of our readers can provide a species name for this interesting beetle with distinctive markings and white scutellum, the little triangle at the front of the elytra or wing covers.

Update: 905/06/2008)
Actually, turns out I was right about the Indian longhorn. It is most likely a specimen of Batocera rufomaculata.

Thanks Eric,
We have found that the common name is the Mango Tree Borer.

unknown moth
We found this moth this morning and when we released it outside, it landed on a tree and took this defensive stance. Can you please identify it for us? Thank you. Please reply to aSAP. Thanks again.

Hi Linda,
Your moth is a male Io Moth, Automeris io, one of the Saturnid Moths. Female Io Moths have brown forewings rather than yellow.

Yesterday we noticed this gall on our largest protected California Black Walnut Tree, and did some internet research. We can’t locate a convincing photo, but believe it might be the result of the Velvet Gall Mite, Eriophyes caulis. We will check with local California Black Walnut experts Clare Marter-Kenyon and Julian Donahue to see if they know of this mite on Los Angeles trees. According to the information we can locate: “Little is known about the mites that occur on black walnut, but the velvet gall mite is common in some areas. The mite itself is so small that it cannot be seen with the unaided eye. Injury The velvet gall mite causes a conspicuous velvety red growth up to an inch long on the leaf stem, often causing the leaf to curl or twist over on itself. Galls may be numerous on individual trees but they are considered to be harmless to the tree. Control No control is recommended. ”

Need help in south Alabama
Hello Mr. Bugman!
Our class is trying to find the name of the caterpillars that I found. They were eating my Amaryllis and Paperwhite Lilies underneath some shady oak trees in my front yard. I’ve brought them to school and we have a butterfly habitat to keep them in. Could you please help us identify our new class pets and perhaps give us some advice on how to maintain their habitat? We’ve searched quite a bit for the name/image but have not been able to find an exact match. Thank you!
Danielle Watson
Bay Minette Intermediate School
Bay Minette, Alabama

Hi Danielle,
Using some key words, we quickly located your Spanish Moth Caterpillar, Xanthopastis timais, on a University of Florida Website. Both the caterpillar and moth are quite colorful and distinctive. BugGuide has some wonderful images. The caterpillar is sometimes called the Convict Caterpillar.

I’m not sure if this is a bug. This creature was hovering outside of my mom’s window last night. It is about 10-12 inches long. It has a tan head that looks like the head of a bat. The wings and body are green, with a forked tail. It looks like green leaf lettuce. She said that it flew like a hummingbird, with it’s wings moving so rapidly it appeared to hover. I have more pictures if needed, but this is the clearest picture because it was really dark outside. It was clearly attracted to the light. She said that when she turned the light out, it immediately appeared outside another window where the light was on.

We wish you had provided a location for your Luna Moth. We expect to be getting sightings from as far north as Maine and possibly Canada by June.

Sorry, this was spotted on April 30th in Cumberland City, TN. Thanks for your help… I eventually found it last night, but I didn’t find anything saying a luna moth could get that big!

Ed. Note: The staff of What’s That Bug? does not wish to comment on the alleged size of the subject Luna Moth, which is estimated at twice the size of all published documentation we have seen.

clear wing spynix moth?
Hi, I love your site. While watching the honey bees enjoy the first nectar of the year, I spotted what looks like a petite clearwing sphinx moth. I’ve never seen or heard of one so small – smaller than a honey bee. After watching for a few days, I’ve seen there are several of the little guys visiting our flowers. These little fella’s have a rigid proboscis (is proboscis accurate?), and the largest of them are slightly less than 1 inch long (measuring from head to rear of abdomen). Please help me to accurately identify them. Thank you.
Rachel, West Virginia

Hi Rachel,
This is a Greater Bee Fly, Bombylius major. Proboscis is the proper term for its mouth.