From the monthly archives: "December 2009"

Sphingidae
December 8, 2009
3 species of Sphingidae from Bellavista, Ecuador.
1: Perigonia sp. ?
2: Xylophanes sp.
3: Adhemarius sp.
I would be grateful for any ID-help.
Leif
Bellavista Lodge, western slope, Ecuador

Hi Leif,
Sadly, we haven’t the time to post all of your lovely images.  We are copying Bill Oehlke on this letter.  If he writes back to both of us with IDs, we will post his response.
Daniel

Adhemarius sexoculata

Adhemarius sexoculata

Hi Leif,
We had already included Bill Oehlke in our response to you and we would defer any of our feeble identification requests to his expertise.
As we found the time (it is the end of the semester and we college professors and division heads have many responsibilities at the moment, like needy students, grading, annual unit plans, program reviews, program moves, equipment orders, and evaluations) we began to attempt to research your request.  We were pleasantly surprised to find your Sphinx Moth tentatively identified as #3 Adhemarius sp. already posted on Bill Oehlke’s excellent Ecuadorean Sphingidae page and identified as Adhemarius sexoculata.

Nyceryx hyposticta

Nyceryx hyposticta

We then found the image that you tentatively identified as #1 Perigonia sp. also posted to Bill’s Ecuadorean Sphingidae website and identified as Nyceryx hyposticta.  We can’t say for certain what species your Xylophanes species is, and we searched through the thirty three possibilities that Bill Oehlke has identified as flying in Ecuador two times in vain.  Perhaps the closest is Xylophanes crotonis, or perhaps Xylophanes aglaor.  We can only guess that since we know Bill received all three of your photos when we originally copied him, that he also had difficulty with this identification, or perhaps he has not yet found the time to post it.

Xylophanes species

Xylophanes species

While we are glad that you got your identification Leif, and we are happy that Bill now has some nice living specimens posted to his website, we are sad that we were not included in the identification loop.  Perhaps Bill or Leif will find the time to provide the final species identification for our readership.

Hi
Thank you for your reply and comment.
Maybe this is too much, but it’s the only serious forum I have found so far.
As an amateur it’s very difficult to give all the correct information. All my moths from Bellavista are photographed on October 19th 2009. They were all attracted to outside lights around some of the buildings at Bellavista Lodge. Sitting on fence posts and the main gate, well actually everywhere. They were really swarming like crazy. Must have been thousands. Heaven for a moth expert I would think. Even for a birder like me!
I’m sorry, but this is really all the additional information I’m able to give. I could, however, try to estimate size. Maybe small, medium and big is too vague?!
Leif

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth

Update from Bill Oehlke
Daniel,
I identified Nyceryx hyposticta, Adhemarius sexoculata and Agrius cingulata. I am going to seek help on the Xylophanes, but I think it is nebuchodonsor (sp??).
I thought I sent you same message I sent to Leif.
The white moth I think is one of the Arctiidae, the next family I am going to work on.
Bill Oehlke

Thanks Bill,
The Pink Spotted Hawkmoth, Agrius cingulata, came in a different email.  We will also include it among Leif’s beautiful Sphingidae.

Saturniidae/Geometridae?
December 8, 2009
3 moths from Bellavista, Ecuador. Western slope about 2000 m.
I think these are very difficult, but hopefully still possible to identify.
Leif
Bellavista Lodge, Ecuador

Unknown Geometrid Moth #3 from Ecuador

Unknown Geometrid Moth #3 from Ecuador

Dear Leif,
Thanks for sending your photos, but now we are filled with curiosity.  Were these moths photographed on December 8, 2009?  Just how big were they?  Were they attracted to a light?  Insect collectors are taught to provide as much information as possible on those tiny labels, and the same should be true of photographs.  Information will assist in proper identification.  In our amateur opinion, these are in the family Geometridae.

Unknown Geometrid Moth #2

Unknown Geometrid Moth #2 from Ecuador

We are also fascinated by the peripheral insects surrounding one of your specimens, and perhaps one of our readers wants to take a crack at identifying the Lepidoptera and Diptera that are surrounding the larger moth in the middle.  Sadly, just one of these identifications may take hours and hours of research, and a definitive answer just may not be possible.  We just had a nice telephone conversation with Lila Higgins at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles about the possibility of finding species new to science in the middle of an urban setting being just as probable as scouring the rain forests of South America for an undescribed species.  That gnat-like creature in the upper left corner may be new to science, and should you choose to pursue the taxonomy, it might one day bear your name.  Alas, when we began this posting, and we started to format your images for the web, we didn’t have a clear picture of where our response was going, so the numbering appears out of sync in reverse order.  We are numbering your images and we hope that you will provide additional information in a comment and that you will refer to the numbers attached to the moths.  We also hope that our readership may provide additional information, and now that the photos are numbered, clarity will be maintained.

Unknown Geometrid #1 from Ecuador

Unknown Geometrid Moth #1 from Ecuador

Hi
Thank you for your reply and comment.
Maybe this is too much, but it’s the only serious forum I have found so far.
As an amateur it’s very difficult to give all the correct information. All my moths from Bellavista are photographed on October 19th 2009. They were all attracted to outside lights around some of the buildings at Bellavista Lodge. Sitting on fence posts and the main gate, well actually everywhere. They were really swarming like crazy. Must have been thousands. Heaven for a moth expert I would think. Even for a birder like me!
I’m sorry, but this is really all the additional information I’m able to give. I could, however, try to estimate size. Maybe small, medium and big is too vague?!
Leif

The additional information is great Leif.  We are amateurs ourselves, and we are not even certain if the three moths are the same species.  Sexual dimorphism and individual variation within a species can make some identifications very difficult.  Would you estimate that the three moths were the same size?

Strange, tiny solifugid(?) found under UST.
December 7, 2009
I work for an environmental company, decommissioning underground tanks.
I was in Detroit, Oregon taking soil samples and overseeing the private decom of a heating oil tank when I found this guy. He was about 7 feet underground, in an erosion void under the tank. The tank had fortunately not leaked, so he is quite alive. I think he is some kind of solifugid, although I couldn’t see any chelicera, and his forelegs end in pincers instead of adhesive pads. The blue object on which he rests is my gloved finger, making him less than a centimeter in length. I found him in early winter, so I assume he was hibernating so deep underground. I apologize for the fuzzy pictures, he was a very active little guy when he woke up.
Devin White
Detroit OR, elev.1,590 ft // 7ft deep in loose rocky soil

Pseudoscorpion

Pseudoscorpion

Hi Devin,
This is actually a Pseudoscorpion, but it doesn’t look typically like most Pseudoscorpions that are sent to us.  We found a matching specimen on BugGuide from Illinois, but the species is not identified.  Pseudoscorpions lack venom and they are harmless, beneficial predators.

Pseudoscorpion

Pseudoscorpion

Unidentified Amastus
December 7, 2009
This Amastus sp photographed at Bellavista Lodge, Ecuador. Elevation +-2000 m. Some ID-help would be very welcome.
Leif
Bellavista, Ecuador

Tiger Moth from Ecuador

Tiger Moth from Ecuador

Hi Leif,
We are not sure if a species identification will be possible based on a photograph, but we will contact a specialist in the Tiger Moth family Arctiidae to see if he can provide that information.

Hi Daniel
Thank you for fast reply.
I found your website by accident and thought I would give it a try. It looks very nice.
The thing is, I’ve got quite a few photos of moths from my recent birding trip to Ecuador and I’m struggling to identify most of them.
Would it be a good idea to post them on What’s That Bug? And if so, would it be ok to add several species in one posting?
Leif

Hi Leif
If they are closely related, like same genus or even same family, you may send them together.  Different families should each get a unique letter and subsequent unique posting.

Clarification from Julian Donahue
It’s indeed an Amastus, near aconia, but a specimen would be nice to have for confirmation.
Herve de Toulgoet has done a lot of work on this genus in recent years, and has described many new species from Ecuador.
Your birding correspondent should have picked up the nice book(s) illustrating Ecuadorean arctiids while he was there …
Julian P. Donahue

Never seen before!
December 6, 2009
My cat brought this unusual looking bug to my dog door late at night and was making a ruckus. I wouldn’t have been so inquisitive, except I couldn’t believe the size of this thing. Approximately the size of a business card. Can you please identify?
Jus Jeff
Mission Viejo, Califonia

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Hi Jus Jeff,
There have been a flurry of ID requests for Potato Bugs or Jerusalem Crickets from California in the past few days, so despite having countless letters and photos on our site, we figured it was time to post a new one.  Your photo was among the best.

long odd bug with weird coloring
December 6, 2009
we were camping in ontario and came across this bug walking on the grass
Sarah Veilleux
ontario

Male Dobsonfly

Male Dobsonfly

Dear Sarah,
December is sure an odd time of year to encounter a male Dobsonfly in Canada.

sorry, it was september. i forgot to mention that. are they abundant in canada?
thanks

They are not uncommon.