From the yearly archives: "2009"

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.

black with red stripes
August 23, 2009
I’ve found a half-dozen or so of these guys crawling around behind the barn, although it might be a mistake to refer to them all as “guys”. they have five horizontal red stripes around a tapering body – maybe 3/4 to 1″ long. Head and legs are more like those of ants – little teeny wings (?) with a vertical red stripe. they can move really fast when they want to, but mostly just waddle around.
I’ve looked in all my available references and I’m stumped.
Nancy L.
western AZ at 5000 feet elevation

Mating Blister Beetles

Mating Blister Beetles

Dear Nancy,
We really think Blister Beetles in the genus Megetra are phenomenal looking, and we are ecstatic that you have sent us a photo of a mating pair.

Blister Beetle

Blister Beetle

Giant Beetle?
August 23, 2009
My husband found this giant beetle as a hitch hiker on his way home from work. He brought it in to me because he knows I like unusual bugs. Its a dark sage green with specks of brown. I thought it might be a type of hercules beetle but the thing doesn’t have any pinchers & a small head. The picture was taken in late spring a few years ago. I love this site by the way. My friends think I’m crazy ‘cuz I don’t kill bugs & I’m female. We’re suppose to run screaming I guess.
Nancy S.
Northeast Tennessee

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Nancy,
Congratulations on not being afraid to handle harmless insects.  This is indeed a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus.  The larger male has the horns in the family.

August 23, 2009
Please bear with us as we transfer to a new server.  We hope this will increase the speed with which you may navigate our website and the speed with which we can answer questions.  Additionally, since our site migration last fall, we have a better taxonomy and classification system.  We still need to subclassifly many of our categories.  Today we are working on our Caterpillar archives.