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

A Nawab Caterpillar?
Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 10:59 AM
Hello I’m came from Andorra la Vella (Between Spain and France). Today I discover a Caterpillar in a Flower, is this true? I attach photos about it
Luis Espinosa
Andorra la Vella

Bajá de Dos Colas Caterpillar

Bajá de Dos Colas Caterpillar

Hola Luis,
We tried finding information on the possibility that Nawabs, genus Polyura, might be found in the Mediterranean, but we had no luck.  Then we tried to search the family name and found the genus Charaxes on the ButterflyCorner.net website.   A butterfly called the Two Tailed Pasha was pictured.  Its range is described as “Afrotropic ecozone (Africa) and the Palaeartic ecozone (Europe). The distribution include whole Africa without the Sahel and the South of Europe (Spain, France, Italy and Greece).”  Sadly there were no images of the caterpillar, but we searched the species name and located what we believe to be your caterpillar, the Two Tailed Pasha, Charaxes jasius, which according to Wikipedia can be found in the Mediterranean.  Continued searching gave us the Wildside Holidays website that describes:  “The caterpillar can be up to 6cm in length. It is green with 4 very distinctive backward facing spikes on its head. They create a silk pad on a leaf and return to this after feeding.”  Finally, the common Spanish name for the butterfly is Bajá de Dos Colas. So, your presumption that this was a Nawab Caterpillar is quite close as the Nawab and the Pasha are closely related.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Seen in France
Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 4:54 AM
Sorry, that I have few information about this bug. I photographed it in the south of France. Its movements were very slow. Thanks for helping
AllanSmithee
France

European Rhinoceros Beetle

European Rhinoceros Beetle

Dear AllenSmithee,
We quickly identified your beetle as European Rhinoceros Beetle, Oryctes nasicornis, on Wikipedia. There are many subspecies mentioned and pictured on the BioLab website.  We love your photograph.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown Stinging Moth or Butterfly Stinging Caterpillar from Brazil.
Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 9:24 AM
Mr. Bugman, (this is my second e-mail…I am trying to be fortunate enough to get a little of your precious time to help me, so I can explain it to my children.)
This was found under the dirt (which my daughter stepped on it! Very painful!). Also on the banana trees and fruit trees around the area including oranges and also some coconut trees. This was on June 26, 2008 in Juazeiro do Norte, Ceara. Brazil. Winter time in the northeast area, temperature around 30F. I have looked all over the computer archive, also books in the library and book store. Could you help me to identify it. My sincerely gratitude. I hope I am not “Bugging” you too much.
Marianne Targino-VanBeber
Northeast Brazil, City: Juazeiro do Norte

Unknown Stinging Caterpillars

Probably Stinging Saturniidae Caterpillars

Dear Marianne,
We are sorry we did not answer your previous email, but it is impossible for us to respond, or even read, every email we receive. Since we just identified a stinging caterpillar from Mexico, your subject line caught our attention. We can tell you that these are not butterfly caterpillars, but for the moment, the best we can provide is that they are moth caterpillar , possibly related to Buck Moths or Io Moths in the family Hemileucinae. We will try to do some additional research when we have time, or perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide you with an identification.

Hi Daniel and Marianne:
Unfortunately the picture is a little fuzzy and it is difficult to make out details. Finding them “under the dirt” is a bit confusing as well. However, let’s try something and perhaps Marianne can help us out with some more information. They look like large caterpillars (?) and my first inclination is to suggest that they are Saturniid moths (family Saturniidae). They look like they could be in the genus Periphoba, possibly P. hircia which is common throughout northern South America. However, there are several Periphoba species found in that part of Brazil and they apparently are all quite similar. For comparison, I have included links to P. hicia and P. arcaei, a related species that is primarily from Central America. All caterpillars in this genus are capable of inflicting an extremely painful sting. Regards.
Karl
http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/kwphircia.htm
http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/Wadults/photopage.lasso?photocode%20dotj=DHJ25358.j

Dear Daniel,
Thank you very much for your reply.
I also want to thank Karl’s comments.
That day it was “rainning” green caterpillars. I wonder if one fell from the tree and was covered with dirt by accident and eventually my daughter stepped on it!
I was kind of scared to get any closer to one to take a better picture; but they were about the size of an index finger.:)
Marianne

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Clearwing Moth?
Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 12:17 PM
This insect was photographed in a longleaf pine forest in late September in SW Georgia. The head and antennae remind me of a moth or butterfly but the wings suggest otherwise. Could you please provide proper identification?
Thanks!
Aubrey
Southwest Georgia

Four Spotted Owlfly

Four Spotted Owlfly

Hi Aubrey,
What a spectacular photo of an Owlfly in the family Ascalaphidae, probably the Four Spotted Owlfly, Ululodes quadripunctatus. BugGuide has an excellent page with information on the species. Owlflies are Neuropterans and are related to Lacewings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Rhinoceros Beetle
Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 7:28 PM
Daddy’s no bug expert, and in fact is not fond of bugs at all, but when asked by the budding naturalist what kind of bug he had found in a friend’s yard, Daddy thought this was probably a rhinoceros beetle, or something like that. Right or wrong?
Daddy
Gavin (Daddy), Caleb (Budding Naturalist) and Isaac
Memphis, TN

Eastern Hercules Beetle

Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Daddy, Caleb and Isaac,
This is a male Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus, and it is indeed one of the Rhinoceros Beetles. We haven’t received an image of this species since our site migration in September, and we are guessing this is not a recent photo as sightings generally occur during the summer months.

Oh, good 🙂
Actually, we just took that photo on my iPhone the same day that I sent it to you. Caleb has the beetle in a big box right now, with plants and rocks and dirt from where he found it, and was wondering what to feed it …

Hi again Daddy Gavin,
According to the University of Kentucky Entomology Website: “The feeding habits of the adult beetles are not well-known, but they have been observed to eat rotten fruit and the bark of ash trees. ” According to BugGuide: “Adults feed on rotting fruit, sap, to some extent.” Tell Caleb to try feeding him over-ripe bananas.

Excellent! That’s what we will do. We have him in a terrarium now, and he seems to be enjoying his habitat, and is very active right now.
Gavin Anderson

Urge to Release: Thursday, February 19, 2009
Hi again Gavin,
Several of our readers have posted comments urging Caleb to release this noble male Eastern Hercules Beetle, and we are inclined to agree.  Caleb has now had several days to observe the specimen and now if released, he may be lucky enough to find a mate and perpetuate the species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Venomous Mexican Stinging Caterpillar
Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 9:29 AM
I am wondering if anyone knows what sort of caterpillar this might be? It was about 1″ long, a creamy light green color, and was covered with very long dark brown hairs. It was originally much fatter than shown in the photo – by the time the photo was taken, it had dehydrated a bit due to being carrying around in a plastic bag trying to get it identified. Unfortunately I just had a very nasty encounter with one of these, in in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico (Isla Mujeres – just off the coast by Cancun). It dropped out of a tree and stung me on the leg. It immediately felt like the burn of a bee sting but rapidly progressed beyond this. Caused a large welt and redness and swelling of sting area about 6″ around. But the worst part was the systemic effects of the sting which were horrible (incredible back muscle spasms, tremendous abdominal pain, and intense nausea) such that I ended up in the emergency room. Have looked on the internet to try to find out what it was, but have also been unsuccessful in determining this. Even the locals there couldn’t tell us although most knew that it was very painful and to be avoided at all costs. Any entomologists out there looking for a challenge??? Would sure love to know what this nasty little bug was…
Thanks.
Yvonne
Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula)

Unknown Stinging Caterpillar

Flannel Moth Caterpillar

Hi Yvonne,
We haven’t the time to research this at the moment, but perhaps a reader can provide the answer. We don’t believe this is a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae because they don’t generally have hair. We really hope to properly identify this specimen for you and add your public service message to our archives.

Update: Eric Eaton contacted Doug Yanega who provided the following ID:
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
That’s the larva of a Megalopygid, probably a Megalopyge species near
M. lanata
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2322/2198568598_0ceb4ee7b6.jpg?v=0).
The long hairs are not the stinging hairs; the stinging hairs are
short, arranged along the side of the body not far above the prolegs.
Peace,
Doug Yanega
Dept. of Entomology
Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA

I was curious, so I asked around.
could use an identification and maybe some warnings, given that Spring Break is about to happen. The critter looks pretty tame, actually, not spiny like you tend to associate with venomous ‘pillars.
Please credit Doug with this. Thanks. Eric.

Ed. Note: Moths in the family Megalopygidae are known as Flannel Moths and the Caterpillars are sometimes called Asps because of the sting, or Puss Caterpillars.

Update:
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Hi Daniel:
This looks like the caterpillar of the Flannel Moth Megalopyge lanata (family Megalopygidae). It has appeared on WTB before (Unknown Panamanian Caterpillar on Cashew Tree – April 5th, 2008) and a lot of good information was given in response to that post. It is widespread throughout Central and South America and is definitely a creature to be wary of. Regards.
Karl
http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/Wadults/resultsallphoto.lasso?photocode%20dotj=DHJ55680.j
2008/04/05/unknown-panamanian-caterpillar-on-cashew-tree-is-megalopyge-lanata/Hi

Hi
Thanks for the info! Indeed, the photo noted below is a dead ringer for the
guy that stung me.
I have put a link to your website on an information site for the island,
just so that others can be aware and give a wide berth to this nasty little
bug!
Thanks for all your help
Sincerely,
Yvonne Hillsden

Update:
Friday, , February 20, 2009, 3:21 PM
Saw the post about the stinging caterpillar earlier in the week. the systemic symptoms sounded familiar to something I had come across recently. You may or may not want to share the attached pdf (cmaj-death-from-caterpillar ) with Ms. Hillsden.
Regards,
Jeffrey B. Tucker, B.C. E.
Entomology Associates, Inc.
Houston, Texas

Update: Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 10:07 AM
Hi Daniel,
Thanks for the heads up.  I had read the CMAJ article already (just after I had been stung actually) and frankly it had scared the crap out of me!  That was one of the reasons why I was so anxious to have my particular culprit identified.  I was very relieved when the entomologist from CA identified my guy as a flannel/puss moth sp.  Would definitely not have been happy to hear that it was a type of lonomia!
Who’d ever think these cute little furry guys could pack such a nasty punch!
Yvonne

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination