From the monthly archives: "November 2009"

Inspiring Site – just another fanmail
November 5, 2009
I’m still currently trudging my way through your gigantic archive and loving it. I was always a bug lover, but I’ve learned so much and been able to happily identify bugs in my area I’ve seen around (Including the sudden swam of Polkadot Wasp Moths and Oleander Caterpillars). I’ve also pleased to learn that many bugs I was afraid of are perfectly harmless (Mostly various wasp species.). Also while going through your site, I had a nerdy artist sort of epiphany: Insects are like living art. So many have such wonderful color schemes and designs. Even bugs with neutral colors can be incredibly striking. Ever since I’ve been making a collection of photos off your site for color scheme references in my own art. It’s wonderful that there are some very good professional and amateur photographe rs contributing with their photos. Anyway, thanks so much for providing this service and your own educating comments. I look forward to finishing your archives.

Thanks for the sweet email Casey.

Black Katydid Bogong High Plains
November 5, 2009
What type of bug is this? We saw it on the 20th of January 2008. Near Falls Creek ski resort in the Victorian Alps. Bogong High Plains, Victoria Australia.
Matt Gawler
-36° 53′ 32.36″, +147° 17′ 26.20″

Unknown Black Katydid

Mountain Katydid

Hi Matt,
We had no luck identifying your black Katydid on the Brisbane Insects website.
Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck searching the internet than we have had.

Hi Daniel:
I haven’t checked out all the possibilities but this looks very much like a male Mountain Katydid (Acripeza reticulata). Females of the species are flightless. Check out this link to “Dave’s Garden” for more photos and lots of information. Regards.

Possible sawfly laying eggs
November 4, 2009
I was encouraged by Eric Eaton (Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America) to forward my question and photo to you for help in identification. He indicates that the insect is not a cicada, but is most likely a sawfly of some type. Thank you in advance for any guidance you can give!

My original question to him:
On September 8, 2007 I noted this (and numerous other identical) insects all laying eggs in similar clusters on the underside of leaves on a small tree. The tree had somewhat leathery leaves… perhaps a ficus of some sort? The location was within 100 feet of the ocean on the west end of the Honduran island of Roatan. I initially thought the insect was a type of fly – but am now convinced it is a cicada of some type. It seems to be morphologically similar to the Emerald cicada, Zammara smaragdina, from Honduras – photo at this site:
Over the last two years, I have contacted a series of individuals looking for help with ID, to no avail. Can you help?
West End of Roatan Island, Honduras

Unknown Insect lays eggs

Seagrape Sawfly lays eggs

Dear Karen,
First, let us say that your photograph is lovely, and the insect is an interesting specimen.  We are quite intrigued that Eric Eaton referred you to us since we constantly depend upon Eric to make corrections for us.  We do have several contributors who love the challenge of identifying exotic species that we post, and we hope Karl is reading.  Our first thought is that this might be a Free Living Hemipteran in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha, which includes the Cicadas.  Eric Eaton has pointed out in the past that there are many exotic families found in the tropics that are not represented in temperate areas.  If Eric believes this is a Sawfly, we do not want to disagree.  We would strongly recommend that you provide a comment to our posting so that if six months down the line, your insect gets identified, you will be notified.  We do not maintain a database of email addresses for our readership, and though we send emails directly at the time of posting, once time has elapsed, we would not be notifying the querant directly. We would also inquire if you have any images showing the head of the insect as that might help to narrow the field of suspects.

Thank you for your comments.  With the help of both Eric Eaton and Dave Smith (research entomologist retired from the Smithsonian), I now have the identification for this sawfly.  Here is Dave Smith’s comment:
Argidae:  A sawfly, Sericoceros mexicanus (Kirby). For a good article on this, see:
Ciesla, W. M. 2002. Observations on the life history and habits of a tropical sawfly, Sericoceros mexicanus (Kirby) (Hymenoptera: Argidae) on Roatan Island, Honduras. The Forestry Chronicle 78(4): 515-521.
The plant must be seagrape, Coccoloba uvifera. Females lay eggs in clusters on the leaf, and stand guard over the eggs until they die. Larvae feed on the leaf edges. Sericoceros mexicanus occurs from southern Mexico to Panama. Other species of the genus are found from Mexico to S. Amer. and in Puerto Rico.

Once we had a name, finding more images online was easy.

Black and White Beetle
November 4, 2009
I have been trying to identify this beetle. It is black and white (off white/beige), with 6 legs and 2 black antennae. It has wings, although I havent seen it attempt to fly. It also has a bronze metallic sheen to its underbelly. Any Ideas?
Thanks- Robin
Deland, Florida

Southern Sculptured Pine Borer

Southern Sculptured Pine Borer

Hi Robin,
Your lovely beetle is a Southern Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora georgiana.  You can see images on BugGuide for comparison.  It might also be a Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis, which is also pictured on BugGuide.

Large caterpillars
November 2, 2009
I found these (2) massive caterpillars in my morning glories this morning. They were on the shady side, I guess that would be north west.  They were about three inches long and about  half an inch in diameter. I live in Bryan, Texas off West Villa Maria Rd.
Please tell me that they are not some alien invasion trying to take over Texas starting with my house!
Thank you in advance for your reply,
Nadine Harrison

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Nadine,
This is a Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar, Agrius cingulata.  It is a highly variable caterpillar, but Bill Oehlke’s excellent website has one of similar coloration.  Feeding on morning glories was a great hint to assist in the identification.

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar

orange and black moth in maryland
November 2, 2009
I have liven in Maryland my entire life and have not seen this guy before. there were several dozen flying around the house on halloween and they were gone the next day. I never saw one land but when i forced one to the ground it did not move and i was able to pick it up and hold it without it trying to fly away. it did not try to fly when i set it on the ground or an elevated point, i had to toss it in the air and then it flew just as it had been. the abdomen has several black spots around pores but no hair, the head is black and the wings are black near the body and transparent at the tips.
Pasadena Maryland

Leaf Skeletonizer Moth

Leaf Skeletonizer Moth

Hi Richard,
WE were very puzzled by another letter we received yesterday with images.  It seems this is an introduced species of Leaf Skeletonizer Moth, Pryeria sinica.  You can read about it on the Invasive Species of Concern in Maryland website.   The website indicates:  “In April and May of both 2001 and 2002, a homeowner in the City of Fairfax, Fairfax County, Virginia, noticed a large infestation of larvae on her ornamental Euonymus (Celastraceae); the larvae were causing significant defoliation of the plants. In May 2002, several larval specimens were sent to the Insect Identification Lab, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia for identification. The entomologist there (Eric Day) reared the larvae to adults, which emerged in November. Additional adults were collected at the Fairfax site in December 2002 and submitted to the Insect Identification Lab. Eric forwarded the adults to John Brown at the USDA Systematic Entomological Laboratory (SEL) in March 2003. Based on the available literature, comparison with specimens in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History, and consultation with Dr. Marc Epstein, the specimens were identified as Pryeria sinica Moore (Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae), which previously is unreported from the United States.”