From the monthly archives: "July 2009"

Larger than normal for Berkeley
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 4:39 PM
I’ve found the insects here in Berkeley to be generally fewer and less varied than where I grew up in rural Wisconsin. But a few weeks before I move back to the midwest this one turned up on my bedroom ceiling two nights ago. I’ve never before seen one in Berkeley. The body is 1 inch long and 0.25″ inch wide, and each antenna is 1.25″. I kept her occupied with a raisin during the photoshoot, which she seemed to appreciate. What is it?
Finally something large and not a crane fly
Berkeley, CA

Eucalyptus Borer

Eucalyptus Borer

Hi Finally,
This is a Eucalyptus Borer in the genus Phoracantha. There are two species with the same common name. Phoracantha recurva and Phoracantha semipunctata were both accidentally introduced from Australia. The two species are quite similar and we don’t feel qualified to determine which of the species you have found. The larvae bore in the wood of eucalyptus trees.

Update:
Thank you for the response!  Between those two, it seems to be clearly a Phoracantha semipunctata, based on the description and P. semipunctata photo here…
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7425.html
…and the P. recurva photo here…
http://www.barkbeetles.org/browse/subject.cfm?SUB=12355
— Finally

unknown insect spotted in the flower bed
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM
I snapped this photo of a strange insect in my flower bed. I have no idea what it is. This was the one and only time I’ve seen it. The paddle like front legs are interesting. You may have to zoom in a bit on the photo.
Mr. Rob
Eastern NC nearFayetteville

Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

Dear Mr. Rob,
You have photographed a Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus Phymata.  Ambush Bugs were originally  in their own family, but they have recently been reclassified as Assassin Bugs in the family Reduviidae, and the Ambush Bugs subfamily Phymatinae.  Ambush Bugs often wait on flowers in order to ambush and eat pollinating insects.

Water Bug from Mendocino
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 8:09 AM
Hi WTB. I am easily freaked out by bugs but have a strange obsession with your site, as I came across it trying to identify a beetle. I live in Mendocino and was excited to see that you came here, I even joked to my boyfriend I was going to track you down and make you look at my pictures! Anyway the bug I want identified today was found in the Noyo River last week. I’ve posted two different pictures- It seemed to me it was the same bug, but at different stages in it’s life…? The first pic. is when we put it on land. It was narrow at the butt, wider at the head, with a big whole that it “went into” when it was bugged with. They both had little stones all over their body. The second picture looked the same, but it had things shooting from its backside. It loo ked like its defense would be to look like some kind of tree fallings. They were found in shallow water on the rocks and once we started looking for them they were everywhere!
P.S. I see easily 25 banana slugs a day if you decide that you would in fact like a pic. of one!
katebell
Northern California- on the Coast

Caddisfly Larva

Caddisfly Larva

Dear katebell,
These are Caddisfly Larvae. Caddisflies are in the order Trichoptera. Caddisfly Larvae create homes for themselves by cementing stones, twigs, shells and other debris. The larvae are called Caseworms. According to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin: “The shape and method of construction of the case is characteristic for a species or group of species, and the variety in these ‘mobile homes’ is extensive: they may be purse-shaped, tubular, curved, snail-shaped, or rectangular, and there are even types with sticks set in an ascending square framework that mimics a little log cabin.” There is a picture in Hogue’s book that looks very similar to your examples and it is listed as being in the genus Hesperophylax.  We were in the Mendocino Woodlands campground near Fort Bragg and we are sad you did not try to find us.  We would love a Banana Slug image.  Please title the letter Banana Slug.

Caddisfly Larva

Caddisfly Larva

Lefty's hatchlings;  30 June 2009

Lefty's hatchlings; 30 June 2009

Wednesday, 1 July 2009, 9:33AM
Upon returning from Mendocino Sunday night, I quickly noticed that Lefty and Digitalis had spawned in my absence and the eggs had hatched. The spawning was no surprise. Digitalis was filling with eggs and both fish had breeding tubes extended when I left on Friday morning. Wrigglers were attached to the Amazon Sword leaf near the window on the left side of the aquarium. The next day, the fry were moved across the aquarium and then back again. Tuesday morning, I shot some photos through the water surface and Tuesday evening, the fry were still on the leaf, though on both sides of the surface. This morning, at first light, the fry were still there, but now, three hours later, with camera in hand, I cannot find them. The parents have moved them again. I expect they will be free swimming in a day or two.

Update: Friday, 3 July 2009, 7:58 PM
Today the fry became free swimming and the parents are quite defensive.  Yesterday was a busy day for the parents.  The fry were moved several times, and eventually were returned to the first leaf I photographed them on.  The eyes on the hatchling wrigglers are much more pronounced now.

Wrigglers 2 July 2009

Wrigglers 2 July 2009

Both parents are very protective, splashing me whenever I get close with the camera or with food.

Digitalis gets defensive

Digitalis gets defensive

yellow striped long horned beetle
Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 5:02 PM
i found this in Northern VT it is a long horned beetle of some kind, but its yellow striped pattern doesn’t look like any i know.
Ryan
Northern VT

Sugar Maple Borer

Sugar Maple Borer

Dear Ryan,
We have countless chores to do today, like painting window frames and cleaning the garage, but we succumbed to the temptation to post just one more letter this morning.  We are thrilled that we chose to open your letter as this is only the second image of a Sugar Maple Borer, Glycobius speciosus, we have posted in the 9 years we have been taking identification requests online.  That image, submitted in July 2005 was of a smashed specimenBugGuide has very little specific information other than:  “Range Northeastern North America Habitat Deciduous forests with hostplant (sugar maples). Season June-August
Life Cycle Larvae mine under bark of Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum .”  BugGuide also has six photos representing four different sightings.  This would indicate that the Sugar Maple Borer is not a common insect.  Because the host tree is of economic importance, the USDA has a web page devoted to the control of the Sugar Maple Borer.  The USDA describes the life history of the Sugar Maple Borer as “The sugar maple borer has a two-year life cycle. Most eggs are laid in midsummer in roughened bark locations-in cracks, under bark scales, or around wounds. Upon hatching, the larva makes a meandering mine beneath the bark. Mining continues until early fall when it excavates a shallow cell in the sapwood. Here it spends the winter. The following spring, the larva resumes mining, etching a deep groove in the sapwood. The mine partially encircles the bole or branch as it spirals upward. With the coming of winter, the second-year larva bores a J-shaped tunnel deep into the wood (Figure 1). In the tunnel’s far end, the larva forms a chamber for overwintering. Before spring pupation, the larva chews a hole to the outside through which it will emerge as an adult in June or July. ”  We are also quite happy that the website indicates that control has to do with eliminating unhealthy trees and proper tree pruning and watering when the trees are decorative and NOT pesticides.  Kudos to the USDA on that. ForestPests.org indicates:  “Eggs are deposited in bark crevices, under bark scales, or around wounds, usually during July and August. The larvae feed beneath the bark. The insect spends the winter as a larvae in a chamber formed in the sapwood. The following spring, it resumes feeding. As the second winter approaches, the mature larvae bores deep into the wood and constructs a pupal cell. Before entering the cell, the larvae cuts an exit hole through which it will emerge as an adult in the spring. The adult is a robust, velvety-black beetle about an inch long. Its head is covered with fine, yellow hairs. Its back is marked with several yellow bands, those near the front forming a characteristic w-shaped design. The life cycle requires 2 years. ”  Here at What’s That Bug? we have major issues with the classification of “pest” when in fact this beautiful native insect has survived for 1000s of years, and it has an important niche in the health of a forest, which includes the necessary removal of old growth.  Congratulations of your wonderful sighting and thanks so much for sending your photos to our humble website.

Sugar Maple Borer

Sugar Maple Borer

Mating Damselflies
Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 7:39 PM
Do you really need an explanation? 🙂
ET
Columbia, MD

Ebony Jewelwings Mating

Ebony Jewelwings Mating

Dear ET,
Your photo of mating Ebony Jewelwings, Calopteryx maculata, is gorgeous, and we thought our readers would probably like additional information.  The male has the darker wings and the female has the white spot on the wings.  BugGuide has additional information on this eastern North American species, including “Not a strong flier: adults flutter, butterfly-like, a short distance when disturbed. They are easy to get close to as long as you approach slowly and don’t make any sudden movements. Ebony Jewelwings prefer sunny spots in the woods but usually perch only a minute or two before flitting to another nearby spot.”  BugGuide has sadly shied away from discussing the sexual behavior of the species.  We decided to try to include some of that and located a German site that explained  “The male sex organ is located at the front part of the abdomen. Damselflies commonly fly in pairs during mating. Damselfly adults use their hind legs, which are covered with hairs to capture prey as they fly. They hold the prey in their legs and devour it by chewing. Adults are usually found flying near plants, usually in irrigated rice fields during the daytime throughout the year. The damselfly’s mating pattern is unusual. The male deposits sperm by bending the abdomen forward and then clasping the female behind the head with its claspers on the tip of his abdomen. The female then loops her abdomen forward and picks up the sperm from the male. The mating pairs are seen flying and clinging in tandem. ”  And finally, just to shake things up a bit, we located a National Geographic online article entitled Damselfly Mating Game Turns Some Males Gay by James Owen. Owen writes:  “Disguises used by female damselflies to avoid unwanted sexual advances can cause males to seek out their own sex, a new study suggests. Belgian researchers investigated why male damselflies often try to mate with each other. The scientists say the reason could lie with females that adopt a range of appearances to throw potential mates off their scent. In an evolutionary battle of the sexes, males become attracted to a range of different looks, with some actually preferring a more masculine appearance. ”  Later in the article, this is nicely explained.  Owen continues with the following conclusions of the Belgian team:  “Van Gossum, the study author, says most researchers agree such polymorphism most likely results from sexual conflict, with females evolving traits to avoid excessive harassment. While plenty of sex might suit male damselflies, this isn’t the case for females. Joan Roughgarden is a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University in California. She writes, ‘Copulation ranges from over one hour to over six hours, averaging three hours. While a long copulation might seem like great fun, this can waste a whole day and be too much of a good thing, especially if carried out day after day over a life span that is only a few days long.  Roughgarden adds that female damselflies collect all the sperm they need to reproduce from a single mating.”  Some of our readers will be comforted to know that the image that you submitted depicts a traditional male/female coupling.