From the monthly archives: "February 2009"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this?
Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 3:36 PM
These were found in an old acorn mortar in the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles in February. They don’t move when touched.
Richard
Santa Monica Mountains, California

Leatherjackets

Leatherjackets

Hi Richard,
These look like Leatherjackets or Leatherbacks, the larval form of the Crane Fly, a group of flies in the family Tipulidae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpillar in Amazon
Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM
Last week of January (rain season), we found this Caterpiller on a tree near a salt water pool in the rainforest of the southern Amazon in Brazil.
The Caterpiller is about 10 cm long. Image 1 shows the full view; image 2 shows the face; image 3 is not the Caterpiller, but a part (flower?) of the tree. It seems the caterpiller is mimicrying.
What, o what kind of caterpiller is this?
Rien Schot
Southern Amazon, Brazil

Automeris species Caterpillar

Automeris species Caterpillar

Hi Rien,
We are posting your image right before leaving for work and haven’t the time to research the species. We are quite certain this is a stinging caterpillar in the genus Automeris, a large genus that includes the North American Io Moth. When we have a chance, we will browse through the World’s Largest Saturniidae Site to see if we can identify the species.

Update:
Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 10:47 AM
Daniel:
What an interesting run of awesome but dangerous stinging caterpillars!  I think you called it right, it is in the genus Automeris (Saturniidae : Hemileucinae). This is a very large New World genus (150 species and subspecies by one count), so making an absolute identification is very difficult. However, based on appearance and distribution I believe it can be narrowed down to A. egeus or A. larra. Of the two, I think A. egeus is the closer match. Regards.
Karl
http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/kwaegeus.htm

Thanks for the assistance Karl.  Once a word or term enters the zeitgeist of the world wide web, search engines latch onto it quite quickly.  A few weeks ago we answered and posted quite a few letters from Namibia.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown Wasp in North Los Angeles.
Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 9:25 AM
Dear What’sthatbug,
I’ve been a big fan of your site for ages.
I found this little wasp in Tujunga, far northern Los Angeles, CA. during mid/late summer.
It’s a small / med sized wasp. When I found it it was sitting on a twig, munching on the twig, or maybe eating something off of it. But I couldn’t see that he was actually eating the twig itself. These are quite common there but even after looking through all 15 wasp pages in your site and googleing a million things I could not find a name for this little guy/girl.
I hope you can Identify it, I’m pretty much obsessed with all living creatures and I’m dieing to know what kind of wasp this is so i can do some research on it. Thanks a bunch!! Love your site!!
Nitsan S.
Tujunga, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Golden Paper Wasp

Golden Paper Wasp

Dear Nitsan,
Despite going global with the world wide web, we still have a nostalgia for our humble local photocopied zine of origin, when most of our identifications were from the Los Angeles area. This is a Paper Wasp, Polistes aurifer according to BugGuide, or a subspecies, Polisted fuscatus aurifer according to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin. Wasps from this family chew bark and wood pulp into a papery substance for the production of the nest.

Update:
Fri, 20 Feb 2009 12:26:19 -0800 (PST)
Hi, Daniel:
Just an added note to the “golden paper wasp” post….The specimen is a male.  I can tell by the ‘square,’ yellow face (females have triangular, darker faces) and the long antennae, curled at the tip (females have shorter, uncurled antennae).
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Assassin bug
Sat, Feb 14, 2009 at 12:11 PM
Sear sirs,
I was trying to identify a bug that I took a photo of this morning. He was eating a small ant. Based on my search for a red bug with white spots I found your web and Id’ it as an Assassin bug.
Thanks!
Chris
Baton Rouge La

Milkweed Assassin Bug Nymph

Milkweed Assassin Bug Nymph

Hi Chris,
This is an immature Milkweed Assassin Bug, Zelus longipes.  Though there is another small winged insect in your photo, the Assassin Bug does not appear to be feeding.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

“Glowworm” form Indonesia
Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 3:02 AM
Hi!
During my recent holiday in Indonesia I saw some kind of bioluminescent bug (I guess it’s a beetle) on Sumatra, in the Bukittinggi region in the west.
The bug glowed continuously, without any blinking. After a few minutes it stopped, and would start up the light again when touched. It did not move very much, and only slowly, but maybe it was not in best health anymore. The guy from the hotel who lives in the area said he had seen it for the first time, so it can’t be too common.
I would guess it was about 6 cm in lenght. The picture on the following website shows a similar Insect, but unfortunately does not specify what it is: http://4to40.com/encyclopedia/index.asp?id=642

Firefly

Firefly

As an extra I have attached a picture of two large beetles from the same area, which are very common in a riverbed and seem to feed exclusively on the bark of the many mimosa bushes there.
Cheers from Germany,
Till
Sumatra, Indonesia

Unknown Rhinoceros Beetles

Unknown Rhinoceros Beetles

Dear Till,
In our opinion, the glowing larva is an immature Firefly in the family Lampyridae, and not a Glowworm in the family Phengodidae. We love your photo of the courting pair of Rhinoceros Beetles. We have just spent about two hours updating and posting and researching answers, and we are a bit exhausted and need to stop now. We hope one of our faithful readers can provide a correct species name for your gorgeous Rhinoceros Beetles.

Update:
Hi!
With your information of the Genus I looked at some more pictures on the web, and found these for Xylotrupes gideon sumatrensis:
http://beetlespace.wz.cz/e_Xylotrupes_gideon_sumatrensis.html
That looks very close, I think.
Also, X. florensis seems to be restricted to Lesser Sunda and Tanimbar Islands, which Sumatra does not belong to.
Till

Thanks for the update Till.  We can also provide a new link to the NaturalWorlds website that has a bit of information.  The subspecies from Australia on the Brisbane Insects website has a much smaller horn structure.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black spiny caterpillar
Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 12:43 PM
These caterpillars were found in a garden in Pretoria South Africa on a Kiepersol tree. The caterpillars are about 8 cm long. They are balck (or dark navy blue) with reddish spots on bothe sides of the body and sharop white spikes running next to the red spots on their bodies. I know this is a site for North America but would appreciate it very much if you perhaps have information for me.
Wia
Pretoria, South Africa

African Emperor Caterpillar

Cabbage Tree Emperor Caterpillar

Dear Wia,
These spectacular caterpillars are the larval form of the equally spectacular Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth, Bunaea alcinoe.  The Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth is one of the Giant Silk Moths.

African Emperor Caterpillars

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination