From the monthly archives: "July 2008"

Giant bug
Hi Bugman,
My father found this big guy on a glass door, at his work, in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. According to him, it seemed to sit in the same spot for hours, giving him the opportunity to take a picture. I’ve tried all kinds of sites, looking for what this creepy bug could possibly be, when I stumbled upon your website! It was about 2 1/2 inches long, not including the monstrous antennas. We made the conclusion that it’s a beetle… but of course, we could be wrong. Can you help us?!
Jerica
Kansas City, Missouri

Hi Jerica,
Your beautiful beetle is a Cottonwood Borer, Plectrodera scalator.

Help identifying purple beetle found in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada
Hello,
We would like to know what kind of beetle this is. We found him on a wild rose bush in the desert scrub near Drumheller Alberta. He is green on his underside, legs and head and has purplish wings. He is about an inch long not including his antenna.

There is a photo matching your specimen posted to Bugguide, and Eric Eaton wrote: “One of the blister beetles in the genus Lytta, possibly L. nutalli or L. cyanipennis.” Perhaps one of our readers can provide an accurate identification for this positively gorgeous Blister Beetle.

PLEASE identify
For these two insects, I need to know their common English name, the Genus name, and the Species name in Latin—please help!!! Thanks so much!!!
(07/30/2008) Both were in Tikal, Guatemala. Thanks so much for your help.

Your beetle is a Cerambycid or Long Horned Borer Beetle known as a Harlequin Beetle, Acrocinus longimanus. It is one of the largest and most magnificent members of its family. It is found in Central and South America. We held off on an identification until you provided us with a location. We wrote back requesting the location because we really wanted to post the photo.

Attention … Great Spangled Fritillaries mating
Hi Bugman:
Here are a few photos of mating Great Spangled Fritillaries (Speyeria cybele) for your collection. They were taken on a perfect sunny afternoon last weekend in southwest Manitoba, along a forest trail in mature aspen parkland. The key identifying features of this species are the reddish background color on the underside of the wing, except for the relatively wide and clear yellow/cream band between the last two rows of silver spots on the underside, and the lack of any black spots or dashes on the base (inside of the long squiggly black line) on the upper side of the forewing. Apart from these features most Greater Fritillaries (genus Speyeria) are very similar and difficult to tell apart. I believe the curious intruder was another female (males are generally paler than the females). Keep up the great work! Regards.
Karl

Hi again Karl,
Thank you for your gorgeous photos and the concise species identification information for the Great Spangled Fritillary.

Update: (07/30/2008) Speyeria cybele pictures
Hi,
I noticed the Speyeria Cybele pictures on your front page, I think the identity of the male and female is mixed up. Speyeria cybele females are generally paler than males, especially westward and the color of the disc is a little richer brown. More generally in the genus Speyeria males of most species including cybele have darker scaling along the forewing veins, so I think in the top picture the female is on top while the male is on bottom and in the second picture both of the butterflies showing their topsides are males.
Mike

Response: (07/31/2008)
Thanks Mike.
You were quite correct and I did have the sexes reversed. I should have checked again. To add to your comments, many references do say that the female of the species is darker topside, but this is an overall visual effect caused by the heavier black (or dark brown) markings on females relative to males. The orange background color is always more vivid in the male. This difference is only slight in Manitoba, but increases as you go west, as you suggest (in Alberta the females can be almost black and white). Good call, and thanks again.
Karl

Ed. Note: (08/01/2008)
Choosing our Bug of the Month each month is sometimes a difficult decision, but we try to use a very recently submitted photo. The photos that Karl sent of the mating Great Spangled Fritillaries are positively gorgeous, and they brought back fond memories of the Dog Days of Summer in Ohio, and the numerous Fritillaries that would visit roadside wild flowers like milkweed and Joe Pye weed among others. These beautiful and noble butterflies were also among the favorites of Vladimir Nabokov, one of our favorite authors.

Attention … Great Spangled Fritillaries mating
Hi Bugman:
Here are a few photos of mating Great Spangled Fritillaries (Speyeria cybele) for your collection. They were taken on a perfect sunny afternoon last weekend in southwest Manitoba, along a forest trail in mature aspen parkland. The key identifying features of this species are the reddish background color on the underside of the wing, except for the relatively wide and clear yellow/cream band between the last two rows of silver spots on the underside, and the lack of any black spots or dashes on the base (inside of the long squiggly black line) on the upper side of the forewing. Apart from these features most Greater Fritillaries (genus Speyeria) are very similar and difficult to tell apart. I believe the curious intruder was another female (males are generally paler than the females). Keep up the great work! Regards.
Karl

Hi again Karl,
Thank you for your gorgeous photos and the concise species identification information for the Great Spangled Fritillary.

Update: (07/30/2008) Speyeria cybele pictures
Hi,
I noticed the Speyeria Cybele pictures on your front page, I think the identity of the male and female is mixed up. Speyeria cybele females are generally paler than males, especially westward and the color of the disc is a little richer brown. More generally in the genus Speyeria males of most species including cybele have darker scaling along the forewing veins, so I think in the top picture the female is on top while the male is on bottom and in the second picture both of the butterflies showing their topsides are males.
Mike

Response: (07/31/2008)
Thanks Mike.
You were quite correct and I did have the sexes reversed. I should have checked again. To add to your comments, many references do say that the female of the species is darker topside, but this is an overall visual effect caused by the heavier black (or dark brown) markings on females relative to males. The orange background color is always more vivid in the male. This difference is only slight in Manitoba, but increases as you go west, as you suggest (in Alberta the females can be almost black and white). Good call, and thanks again.
Karl

Please help identify
Hello,
I am from Southern Idaho (Jerome) and found these two beautiful insects feasting in my garden (well they aren’t feasting in the picture but they will probably be hungry after) anyway – I don’t know what they are? Horneyts? Flies? Squash Bugs? I didn’t write you right away because I was afraid I would receive a "boy your a dummy" response but I searched and searched and didn’t find this insect on your site. Close, but not exact markings. Can you help? Thank you so much for your time. I know you are very busy! Thank you,
Cindy Flowers

Hi Cindy,
We are going to begin by gently chastising you because we were hurt by your implication that we would call you a dummy when you have a legitimate question. It should be apparent that we answer the same question repeatedly (just look at our Dobsonfly pages) and we have even had to identify many times this month our July Bug of the Month, the Cecropia Moth, despite it being posted at the top of our home page. Your Wasp Mimic Clearwing Moths in the family Sesiidae challenged us. We found two possibilities on BugGuide that did not fully convince us, so we turned to the Moth Photographers Group where Paranthrene robiniae looked correct. Then we returned to BugGuide with that name and located the common name of Western Poplar Clearwing, but not too much in the way of information. We then found an excellent Forest Pest page that profiles your lovely moths because the larvae are borers in the wood of willows and poplars and extreme infestations can be very damaging to trees. Your photo is also quite beautiful and we would have been thrilled to receive it even if this wasn’t a new species for our site.