From the monthly archives: "January 2009"

Fly of Atacama Desert
Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 4:16 PM
Your letter to the bugman (please provide as much narrative and information as possible)
I found this fly in a garden of the coastal city of Antofagsta, Atacama Desert, Chile. Sitting on a leaf of a palm tree.
The size was 5mm approx.
Very interesting the pattern on the wings and the color.
Thanks for your help.
desert fly
North of Chile, desert, coast

Unknown Fly from Chile

Fruit Fly from Chile

Dear desert fly,
We are uncertain of the exact identiy of your beautiful Chilean desert Fly, but we will post the image in the hopes one of our readers will be able to identify its family or species before we can.

Update:
Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 9:19 PM
Hi Daniel:
This is a fruit fly (family Tephritidae) in the genus Trupanea. There are about 70 species in the neotropics, including at least four in Chile (T. bullocki, T. nigriseta, T. nymphula and T. simpatrica). Most look quite similar and apparently all the neotropical species feed on Asteraceae hosts(asters, daisies and sunflowers) as larvae. There are also 21 nearctic species according to the Bugguide, most in the USA. The Bugguide site has some good images that look very similar to the Chilean fly. Regards.
Karl
Link: http://bugguide.net/node/view/94894#counts

moth
Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 6:25 PM
what type of moth is this? I think it may be an underwing, I have seen no photos anywhere of this same moth.
Elaine photo girl
North east MA

Tiger Moth

Tiger Moth

Hi Elaine,
This is actually a Tiger Moth in the family Arctiidae, most likely from the genus Grammia. There are many similar looking moths in this genus and we do not feel confident trying to identify your specimen to the species level, but a glance at the images on BugGuide will show you some possibilities.

Please can you identify this creature
Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 12:56 PM
Hi, please could you help us identify this creature which my brother snapped in his little corner of the jungle near Cayenne, French Guyana – it is obviously hanging on a tree in the photo, is well camouflaged and looks pretty scary – he has never seen anything like it before, despite living there for about 5 years. Is it poisonous or dangerous (should he be worried??!)
Frankie
French Guyana

Katydid from French Guyana

Katydid from French Guyana

Hi Frankie,
This is a harmless female Katydid.  What appears to be a dangerous stinger is really an ovipositor.  We thought this might be a Moss Mimic Katydid like one from Costa Rica that  Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki identified for us in the past.  When we wrote to Piotr, here was his response:  “Hi Daniel,  Very hard to say from these photos. It looks more like Acanthodis than Haemodiasma (which does not occur in Fr. Guiana.)  Piotr”

Katydid from French Guyana

Katydid from French Guyana


Beautiful Bug
Sun, Jan 25, 2009 at 10:24 PM
Hi guys,
Found this nymph of a Eucalyptus Tip Wilter (Amorbus alternatus) hard at work on a young Ironbark tree. Stunning to look at but they do a lot of damage, particularly in areas where other trees and predators have been removed for grazing.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Eucalyptus Tip Wilter

Eucalyptus Tip Wilter

Hi Trevor,
Thanks so much for sending us this beautiful photo of an immature Eucalyptus Tip Bug or Eucalyptus Tip Wilter, one of the Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae. We also found a link to an Australian Insect site with more information about this species.

Bug Identification
Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 2:20 AM
Hi,
I would really appreciate your assistance in identifying this really bizarre looking insect, It has the body very similar to a cricket with a very strange head. On the underside it seems to have 3/4 of a smaller body inside its pincer type arms on its head (as seen in pic one).
The bug flew into my dogs water bowl and couldnt get out, so I found it and still cant beleive how weird looking it is.
BTW… I think you have next month’s bug of the month!
Thankyou,
Nikki, Australia
New South Wales, Australia

Weta

Weta

Hi Nikki,
This is a Weta, one of a family of insects endemic to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa whose closest relatives are the Potato Bugs or Jerusalem Crickets of the American West. There is a photo posted on Wikipedia of a Wellington Tree Weta, Hemideina crassidens, that looks very much like your specimen, but all indications are that the Wellington Tree Weta is only found in New Zealand.

Weta

Weta

Perhaps your specimen is closely related in the same genus, but we are having problems locating information. Many species of Weta are endangered and are protected by law. Perhaps one of our readers will supply us with a link and identification.

Weta

Weta

Nikki, your bug looks like a King Cricket, Australostoma. They live in burrows and come out on wet or humid nights. They are found in coastal New South Wales.
See a photo at
http://www.austmus.gov.au/factSheets/grasshoppers.htm
Grev

Caterpillars from Puerto Rico (moths?) Sun, Jan 25, 2009 at 7:18 AM
These caterpillars were photographed in the humid karstic forest of northern Puerto Rico. The one with the “horns” is huge. I found it on a Piper shrub (Piperaceae), and the several I’ve seen are always out at night. At first I thought it would be a species of Heraclides (Papilionidae) but after checking some pictures, I decided it can’t be. I was photographed in summer (though seasons i Puerto Rico are not well defined, except rainy/dry).
The other caterpillar was shot by day, in the same general habitat. I was photographed just a couple of weeks ago.
I have a lot of unidentified insects in my website on Caribbean Natural History ( www.kingsnake.com/westindian ). If it is OK with you, perhaps you can pay it a visit and provide me with any corrections/information you might think is relevant.
Thanks a lot for your kind help.
Alejandro Sanchez
Puerto Rico, northern karstic humid forest

Unidentified Puerto Rican Caterpillar:  Prominent Moth???

Silverking Butterfly Caterpillar

Hello again Alejandro,
We fear we are not really being of much assistance to you today. In our humble opinion, we would guess that these might be Prominent Moth Caterpillars in the family Notodontidae. You can see some North American specimens on BugGuide. Many Prominent Moth Caterpillars have unusual projections on their bodies similar to the ones on both of your specimens. We will post your photos in the hope someone can assist in the identification. We will also link to your marvelous website and hope your site doesn’t crash from the additional traffic.

Unidentified Caterpillar from Puerto Rico:  Prominent Moth???

Unidentified Caterpillar from Puerto Rico: Prominent Moth???

Confirmation from Eric Eaton
Monday, January 26, 2009
I think you are probably correct with the caterpillar IDs….
Eric

Update:
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Hi Daniel:
I haven’t been able to identify the first image but I believe the second one is of a Prominent moth in the genus Nystalea, probably N. collaris. The web site for Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) has a huge searchable database of moth (adult and caterpillar) images, including many for the various instars and color phases of N. collaris. The species ranges from southern Texas to Costa Rica, and the Antilles. Regards.
Karl
Link: http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/caterpillars/database.lasso

Update: February 13, 2009
Greetings Father Sánchez,
Since my research is limited to the early stages of butterflies (not enough hours in a day to add moths), I can only identify your first photo. It is a caterpillar of the Silverking butterfly, *Archaeoprepona demophoon* (Nymphalidae, Charaxinae), which feeds on several genera in the Lauraceae, its presence on *Piper* a result of wandering. As you discovered, *Heraclides* swallowtail larvae look entirely different and more or less like this:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3600/3280135520_4595b8168b_b.jpg
Best wishes,
Keith Wolfe

Update: Sat, Feb 14, 2009 at 8:05 AM
Daniel:
The caterpillar in the first image is not a Prominent moth, but a Leafwing butterfly (Nymphalidae : Charaxinae). It is a Two-Spotted Prepona (Archaeoprepona demophoon); not to be confused with the One-Spotted Prepona (A. demophon). The name Silverking may be more common in the Antilles. The distribution of A. demophoon is from Mexico to northern Argentina, including the Caribbean. Within that area the genus is broken down into at least 10 sub-species, each with its own fairly distinct distribution. The variety found in Puerto Rico (and apparently nowhere else) is A. d. ramorosum. The ACG site mentioned above has numerous images of A. demophoon caterpillars and adults. Regards.
Karl