From the monthly archives: "August 2009"

horned caterpiller
August 24, 2009
Hello,
Some friends and I were taking a walk in Hemlock gorge in Maryland and we came across a very strange caterpiller. It was on a chunk of tree bark which was on top of a large rock in a stream.
Jason
Hemlock Gorge Maryland

Hickory Horned Devil

Hickory Horned Devil

Hi Jason,
We always enjoy posting the first Hickory Horned Devil photographs of the season, and your photo is neither the first nor the second we received, but it is the most detailed.  Thanks for sending us this gorgeous Hickory Horned Devil photograph.

Orange blk spotted soft body insect
August 24, 2009
Found on Corn flower plant. Has a soft shiny body
Gary
New York

Potato Beetle Larva

Potato Beetle Larva

Hi Gary,
This is the larva of a Potato Beetle in the genus Leptinotarsa.  BugGuide notes that though the genus is collectively known as Potato Beetles, “but note, not all spp. host on Solanaceous plants.

What kind of moth is this?
August 24, 2009
We found this moth at a lake in northern Wyoming. It has very feathery antennas. White wings with black spots. Its abdomen is white and black striped, with a fuzzy orange head and thorax. My images are not real clear. Thank you.
Allison
northern Wyoming

Hera Buck Moth

Hera Buck Moth

Hi Allison,
This is some species of Buck Moth in the genus Hemileuca, possibly the Hera Buckmoth, Hemileuca hera.  You can see if the photos posted to BugGuide match your moth.

Almost artful display
August 24, 2009
Me and my wife were on the way to the hospital to get some metal stitches pulled from me tummy from a hernia surgery, and seeing as we had the nikon tagging along with us in the backpack, decided to go by the fountain situated in front of BLDG 2 at the Bill Hefner VA Hospital in Salisbury, NC. We truly couldn’t have come at a better time as as soon as we arrived there was also a pair of grasshoppers prolonging the species as it were. I almost thought it necessary to recommend a hotel, LOL! I will be probably be adding another post here since I truly don’t know where this other insect I found falls into the category. Several Butterflies (Swallowtails and others) were showing off before us along with the random wood boring bee.
This insect is approximately 9/16″ to 5/8″ in length and was kinda slow in moving selectively extracting pollen, and almost playing dead when we got too close. It has some markings that almost look as if someone had attempted to paint small flowers on each side… Absolutely stunning when you can zoom in. Let me know what this litter bugger is, me and my wife are dying to know!!!
Amateur Photographer, Can you tell?
VA Hospital, Salisbury, NC Next to waterfall

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Dear Amateur Photographer,
This moth is known as an Ailanthus Webworm, but sadly, it only eats the leaves of the Ailanthus, or Tree of Heaven, and it doesn’t do much to remove this scourge from North America.

Why do these two creatures hang out with each other; GREEN JUNE BEETLES AND EMPEROR BUTTERFLY ?
August 23, 2009
I have seen in the past several weeks of August both the green june beetle and the emporer (hackberry Monarch) Butterfly hanging out with other in groups on several of our trees. Why are these two insects drawn to each other? What are they doing?
Also there is a third beetle that I have never seen before either. What is it? It is large and scary looking but seems to not be welcomed by the green junebug and butterlflies but still tries to hang out in the area that they are. I saw only the one new beetle at 6:30 in the evening.
Curious T-Beau
Gatesville, Texas

Sap Feeders:  Hackberry Emperor and Green June Beetles

Sap Feeders: Hackberry Emperor and Green June Beetles

Dear T-Beau,
These insects are all feeding on sap that is oozing from the tree.  Perhaps the tree was injured or perhaps there are boring insects that are causing sap to ooze.  Emperor Butterflies in the genus Asterocampa as well as many other butterflies do not strictly take nectar from flowers.  According to BugGuide, the Hackberry Emperor, Asterocampa celtis:  “Adults take sap, fluids from dung, carrion, etc. Like the Tawny Emperor, very fond of taking sweat from humans.
Regarding the Green June Beetle, Cotinis nitida, BugGuide indicates adults eat:  “Pollen; ripening fruits, especially peaches; and the fruit and leaves of many shrubs.”  Your unidentified beetle is an Eyed Elater, Alaus oculatus, and BugGuide indicates:  “Adults may take some nectar and plant juices.” Your photos document an interesting gathering of insects at a shared food source and it is wonderful since sap is not indicated as a food for either the June Beetle or the Eyed Elater.

Sap Feeders:  Eyed Elater, Green June Beetle and Hackberry Emperors

Sap Feeders: Eyed Elater, Green June Beetle and Hackberry Emperors

Texas Leaf Cutter Ant – Atta texana (Buckley)
August 24, 2009
Found a pile of leaf confetti at the base of a Shumard Oak in my yard, followed the trail for about 20 yards then it went under the fence. There were no ants, found out they operate at night and took some pictures this morning around 4:30. They may just defoliate my tree! Looked them up on the Aggie Extension site and believe that I have correctly identified them.
Renee
Seguin, TX

Texas Leaf Cutter Ant

Texas Leaf Cutter Ant

Hi Renee,
We agree with your identification of a Texas Leaf Cutter Ant.  BugGuide also lists many additional common names, including Town Ant, Cut Ant, Parasol Ant, Fungus Ant and Night Ant.  Leafcutter Ant and Leafcutting Ant are also used. BugGuide also states:  “Food  In Texas these ants damage weeds, grasses, plum and peach trees, blackberry bushes and many other fruit, nut and ornamental plants as well as several cereal and forage crops. The ants do not eat the leaf fragments they collect, but take them into their underground nest where they use the material to raise a fungus garden. As the fungus grows, certain parts of it are eaten by the ants and fed to the larvae. This fungus is their only known source of food.Leaf cutting ants will attack pine trees but ordinarily they do little damage when other green plants are available. During the winter when green plant material is scarce, seedling pines are frequently damaged in parts of east Texas and west central Louisiana. Where ants are abundant, it is almost impossible to establish natural pine reproduction. In such sites, young pine seedlings often are destroyed within a few days unless the ants are controlled before planting.
Remarks  Leaf cutting ants live in large colonies of up to 2 million.
”  We are also linking to the Forest Pests website that contains much information including this:  “Biology – The ants have a mating flight in May or June. After mating, the females establish nests beneath the soil and become the queens of the colonies. Worker ants carry the cut foliage and other vegetative material back to the nest, where it is used to culture the fungus that is their primary food.