From the monthly archives: "August 2008"

Ectrichodia crux
Hi Bugman
I have noticed these assasin bugs feasting on a milipede on my farm in Pretoria ,South Africa . We live on a rocky outcrop of the Magalies mountain range at 1400m (4500ft)above mean sea level. The fotos were taken on the 5th January 2008 (mid summer) around 10AM with a Canon EOS 400D camera. I thought you may be interested in these fotos.
Kind Regards
Arend van de Wetering

Hi Arend,
Thanks for providing us with additional photo documentation of the Millipede Assassin Bugs, Ectrichodia crux, communally feeding on a large Millipede.

Bug help….
A few months ago by using your website I was able to identify a mysterious bug I had never seen before sitting on my basil planter outside as a nymph wheel bug. Well, here we are a month or so later without having seen the wheel bug and we walk outside and find the now “adult” wheel bug sitting out on our deck right before we watched it get attacked and killed by a (European hornet?). Please identify the bug attacking the wheel bug in the attached picture. Thanks for your help!!!
Sellersville, PA

Dear B & D,
Your identification of a European Hornet, Vespa crabro, attacking a Wheel Bug is correct. According to BugGuide, the European Hornet is : “Predatory on other insects, used to feed young. … The workers capture insects, bringing them back to the nest to feed the brood. Workers need more high-energy sugary foods such as sap and nectar, and hornet larvae are able to exude a sugary liquid which the workers can feed on.”

green caterpillar with orange spots
Hi, I found this caterpillar eating what looks like grape vine leaves which was growing right next to our tomato plants in our garden. It is about 2 1/2 inches long. The picture of its head is when its head is contracted. Later, it pulled its head out, making it a few centimeters longer. any hints on what it could be? thanks,
south-central indiana

Hi Katie,
Your caterpillar is a Pandorus Sphinx, Eumorpha pandorus. The caterpillar has several different color variations. We have gotten several images of adult moths in recent weeks. We are copying Bill Oehlke on this reply so he can add your sighting to his comprehensive species distribution data.

purseweb spider found july 2008 on Block Island RI
i found this spider on BI while walking my dog about 1 full inch long thought i would pass on the info

Thanks for the info as well as the high resolution image with plenty of surrounding habitat, which we cropped to a tight shot. We enjoy getting reports about this endangered, spectacular spider.

Hickory Horned Devil or Royal (or Regal) Walnut Moth Caterpillar Photo
Hi – My 8-year-old twins found this caterpillar on the street in front of our house (Aug. 21, 2008, Virginia Beach, VA) – we’re not sure what happened to it… Initially we thought he’d been run over (his mouthparts seem a bit damaged and there was liquid surrounding him – and very tiny ants were attacking him) but he didn’t really appear squished. We brought him in, rinsed off the ants and read a bit about him (which suggests that perhaps he fell out of a tree preparing to pupate and fell a bit too hard?) – and filled a jar with soft soil and what I hope are walnut leaves. He’s got a broken horn or two, and I’m not sure if he’ll make it (not sure what damage he’s sustained), but he is still moving around a little. Hopefully he’ll make it (we were afraid to leave him outside because the ants find him too attractive). Thanks for your site – my family and I use it almost every day to identify all the cool bugs in our yard!

Hi Monica,
Your Hickory Horned Devil would also be an attractive snack for birds and other predators. There is no way of knowing what caused the trauma. We received three images of Hickory Horned Devils today, and expect to get many more in the next month.

Hi, bugman
8/21/08 My name is Siegrid, live in Washington, NJ (Warren). My mom and I walk path wood in Merrick Creek, NJ. I walk notice saw on path ground, show my mom saw it. That Cicadas mating, I think that brighter green male and dull green dark female, I think sure and get picture. Thank you
Siegrid Werner

Hi Siegrid,
Thank you for sending us this photo of mating Annual Cicadas or Dogday Harvestflies. We would not use coloration as a means of identifying the sexes. We found a website on the Periodical Cicada that has a great explanation on how to differentiate the sexes of Cicadas. In a paragraph entitled Song of Cicadas, Mike Raupp writes: “You can tell the male because he has a blunt abdomen. It’s rounded on the back, blunt abdomen. But if we lift up the wing and look very carefully just beneath the wing, we’ll see an organ called the tymbal organ. That white membrane at the end of my thumb– you can see it vibrating– is how he makes that sound, and it’s only the male that will call.”