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

BIG BLACK AND WHITE BUG
July 31, 2009
I wrote yesterday, but have not received a copy of my email, so thought it did not go through. This bug was about 2″ long. It was thick with dark black legs and feelers that were thick. Its back legs were tipped at the foot area with black and white like its body. I don’t remember if the other legs were. I didn’t see wings, but it disappeared quick suddenly when I brushed it into the leaves with the broom. I’ve never seen one before.
Curious
Northeast Texas

Cottonwood Borer

Cottonwood Borer

Dear Curious,
Your spectacular Longicorn Beetle is the Cottonwood Borer.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Metallic Green Beetle with a really cool plastic coat
July 31, 2009
I found these beetles congregated in a wooden window frame in an abandoned building on the shoreline of the Pacific in Nicaragua. I was attracted by the bright green metallic color but then noticed the really cool “plastic coat” each was wearing. Looks like they’ve been recylcling the many discarded water bottles littering the shoreline. Any idea what this guy is?
Dean Campbell
Las Salinas Nicaragua

Unknown Tortoise Beetle from Nicaragua

Tortoise Beetle from Nicaragua

Hi Dean,
This is some species of Tortoise Beetle in the Leaf Beetle subfamily Cassidinae
, but we haven’t the time to research the exact species just now.  Perhaps one of our readers can provide the answer.

Identification from Karl
August 4, 2009
Hi Daniel:
I am fairly certain that Dean’s tortoise beetles belong in the genus Physonota. Of the several species occurring in Nicaragua, Physonota attenuate appears to be the closest match. Unfortunately, all of the reference photos I could find of this species are of preserved museum specimens, and tortoise beetles don’t preserve their color or clarity when they are dried. A live specimen would look much like the related North American species, P. helianthi, which can be viewed at the Bugguide site. Regards.
Karl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

odd looking butterfly
July 30, 2009
Found what I think is a butterfly on one of our sunflowers today. It has what appears to be 2 bodies sticking out of its back.
Chris
Conroe Tx

Hairstreak

Hairstreak

Hi Chris,
This is some species of Hairstreak in the subfamilyTheclinae of the Gossamer Wings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Question Mark Butterfly
July 30, 2009
Dear Bugman: Due in part to our unusually cool and damp summer, we have not seen very many butterflies in our gardens this year. Today, this very welcome & docile Question Mark Butterfly was feasting on our Black Knight buddleia. It was very cooperative, as I took over 20 photos. It then flew over to our blue spruce and rested there for some time. This is the first Question Mark we have seen in our gardens, and judging from the tears and scratches on it’s wings, this butterfly has had a rough go of it. One photo shows the underside of it’s wings, where you can clearly see the small white question mark, for which it is named. The other photo shows how fuzzy and very dark this one’s hind wings are. Another picture on your site shows a Question Mark that loo ks much lighter and more patterned on it’s hind wings. Is there a difference between the colors of the males and females, or is it just due to regional population differences?
P.S.: Kudos to you and your wonderful WTB? site. My family and I use it and browse through it almost every day. WTB? is the first resource we turn to when trying to identify bugs, and we have it bookmarked as a “Favorite” site.
An Avid Butterfly Friendly Gardener
Allen Park, MI

Question Mark

Question Mark

Dear Avid Butterfly Friendly Gardener,
Thanks for sending us your wonderful photographs of a Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis
.  The closed wing view beautifully illustrates the silvery punctuation mark that gives this species both its common and scientific names.  The dark coloration signifies that this is a summer Question Mark.  According to the Butterflies and Moths of North America website:  “Life history: Males find females by perching on leaves or tree trunks in the afternoon, flying to chase other insects and even birds. Females lay eggs singly or stacked under leaves of plants that are usually not the hosts. Caterpillars must find a host plant; they then eat leaves and live alone. Adults of the winter form hibernate; some staying in the north, many migrating to the south.
Flight: Overwintered adults fly and lay eggs in the spring until the end of May. The summer form emerges and flies from May-September, laying eggs that develop into the winter form; these adults appear in late August and spend the winter in various shelters.
The site also indicates that adults feed onRotting fruit, tree sap, dung, carrion. Only when these are unavailable do Question Marks visit flowers such as common milkweed, aster, and sweet pepperbush.

Question Mark

Question Mark

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

In January, we first posted the announcement that we are writing a book.  We have completed negotiations with our agent and editor at Penguin and finalized the deal, and we have purchased a new computer.  Now we need to actually write our book.  This will not be an identification guide and it will not be a scientific text.  To quote from our proposal “Rather than using the Q&A format, the book will be a compendium of accumulated information, and instead of concentrating of species identification in the way a field guide does, the What’s That Bug? book will be more of a general overview of groups of bugs.”  Hopefully, our book of curious facts, myths and insect lore will be completed by October, but that won’t happen if we spend hours each day responding to questions.  Though we have threatened in the past to limit the number of postings, the truth of the matter is that we love receiving letters and posting responses, and we have recently spent hours each day on the website.  Please be patient as we try to shift some of our attention to meeting our commitment to our agent and editor and making good on our promise.  Chances are quite good that if you have a question, using our in site search engine should lead you to an answer.  If your direct question does not receive an answer, please do not take it personally.  It is because of our own time constraints.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tiny, spiky bug
July 30, 2009
This little guy came inside with some flowers and I almost missed him as he was crawling around on my furniture. He was truly minute; my camera didn’t even pick up on him so the picture quality is bad. As a size reference, he literally had to climb up onto the white placemat in the picture. You’ll be happy to know I took his picture and then carefully carried him back outside on a leaf and put him back on the flowers.
As cute as he was, he probably would have been pretty scary looking if he had been bigger. You can see he is covered in spikes and he had a pretty severe proboscis. I don’t even know where to start looking as far as how to identify him. Thank you for you help.
Lisa
East Central Missouri

Assassin Bug Nymph
Assassin Bug Nymph

Hi Lisa,
This is an immature nymph of one of the spiny Assassin Bugs in the genus Sinea that is well represented on BugGuide.  It sounds like you are a gardener, so you will be happy to know that Assassin Bugs are important predators, but they must be handled with caution as they will bite and certain species are reported to have very painful bites.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination