From the yearly archives: "2009"

Similar to a Walkingstick
August 23, 2009
This looks like a walking stick but its legs are too close together. It was found in lake wicwas in meredith NH. When placed on shore it walked back to the lake where it held to a rock on the shoreline just under water. Seen at 1:15 pm on August 22, 2009.
Wicwas Bugs
Meredith NH

Water Scorpion

Water Scorpion

Dear Wicwas Bugs,
This is a Water Scorpion, and it gets its name from the painful bite.  Though Water Scorpions do not routinely bite humans, if they are carelessly handled, they do not hesitate.  Your specimen is not mature yet as evidenced by its incompletely developed wings.  Though aquatic, adult Water Scorpions fly quite well.

Unnecessary Carnage
I like the unnecessary carnage posts. I don’t understand why some people feel they need to kill every insect they find… at least before committing “insecticide” one should seek education. I always seek to capture and release.
That said, I admit to killing some of our many-legged friends in select cases. One example is when a yellow-fly or deer fly decides to “defend” such territory as the front doorstep and aggressively trespasses into the house (In Florida, lethal force is authorized under the “Castle Doctrine” you see…). But seriously, these dear flies should seek education too; it is not in their best interest to break into a house, armed and intending to cause great bodily harm. Have you seen the welts they leave? Bigger than a silver dollar! I know, you probably think I’m an evil person for defending myself. Alas. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you about the panic I go into when surrounded by Culex nigripalpus during an encephalitis outbreak; I’m sure there are casualties.
I’m not sure what came over me there. I really just meant to tell you about all the spiders and moths and such that I release or leave alone. I don’t even bother the black widows out in the shed (but I’m not attempting diplomacy either… we just stay out of each others’ way). But somehow your site has the attraction of the confession booth, I think; else why do people send in pictures of viciously mauled hexapods when clearly the site is staffed by insect advocates?
Kind regards,
Robert Beverly
Friend of the Many-Legged;
With the exception of a few irreconcilable terrorists.

Dear Robert,
Thanks for your thoughtful letter.  We too draw the line at bloodsuckers.  We have no problem swatting Mosquitoes.  We also dispatch Sugar Ants that invade the kitchen, though we leave them alone in the yard.  We have no mercy with pantry pests and aphids sucking the juices from our garden plants are manually dispatched.

A long bug called a Pricker bug, by the locals, has invaded my propert and even entered my home. I worry for my child’s safety.
August 22, 2009
The bug is long, about 2 inches in length, and very narrow body. It has a curved tail like a scorpion, but no pincher claws in the front like the scorpion. The pincher is on the end of the tail. Looked more like a stinger to me at first. It moves quickly, and when squished with a book, I had to push down HARD to kill it. It freaked me out because I thought it might be a scorpion of some sort, or at least a relative to the scorpion. My neighbor looked at the one I killed (I saved it in a baggy), and he called it a “Pincher” bug. But, I KNOW that’s not the correct name for this bug. He also told me they sting or pinch and it’s VERY painful. I have a child (who is allergic to almost all bugs, and has a severe reaction to even a tick or mosquito bite. A tick bi te swelled her entire face in the eye area and it looked red and puffy for days. People thought I beat my child because her eye was so swelled too.) in my home, and I am afraid she will unknowingly come across one and step on it or something, getting hurt. Are they poisonous? Are they dangerous? What are they?? I live in central Florida. I tend to seem them in the rainy times. They are dark colored, maybe black or dark brown. long and thin, tail curved up on end. Their shells are very strong, it was difficult to break it when I squished it with the book, took a couple times and alot of pressure before I heard the crunch. I hate bugs, and don’t usually go out of my way to kill them, just stay away from them. If I knew what this was, I could figure out how to get them gone from my yard, and when they come in the house. Please help me???? My main concern to find out about these bugs is to protect my daughter. Please help me to figure this out?? I will search for pics, and hopef ully I find one to send with this. If I don’t, I hope you have an image in mind already.
Dade City Florida near forest, near residential area.

Adult male (bottom) and female (top) European earwigs, Foricula auricularia Linnaeus   Photograph by: Jim Kalisch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Adult male (bottom) and female (top) European earwigs, Foricula auricularia Linnaeus Photograph by: Jim Kalisch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Dear Alexis,
Your inquiry has us totally baffled because you attached a photo lifted from the University of Nebraska Department of Entomology that clearly identifies your Pricker Bug as an European Earwig.  Armed with that information, the first website that pops up in an internet search is the Featured Creatures website that had quite detailed information on the European Earwig.  Earwigs are not poisonous, and though the forceps at the tip of the male’s abdomen can cause a slight pinch, your neighbor was exaggerating when he said it is “VERY painful.”  Comparing the pinch of an Earwig to the bite of a Tick or Mosquito, both of which can spread diseases, is irrational.  According to the CDC, a partial list of Tickborne Diseases includes Babesiosis (Babesia Infection), Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, Lyme Disease, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, and Tick Born Relapsing Fever.  Mosquitoes are an even more serious concern.  According to the AMCA website:  “Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism — over one million people die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. Not only can mosquitoes carry diseases that afflict humans, they also transmit several diseases and parasites that dogs and horses are very susceptible to.”  The National Center for Infectious Diseases website has the following partial list of Mosquito Borne Diseases:  Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Japanese Encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, Dengue Fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, Malaria, Rift Valley Fever, and Yellow Fever.  Climate Change, Global Warming, and traveling around the world could cause some of these typically tropical diseases to surface in the U.S.  In our opinion, your squishing of an Earwig with a book constitutes Unnecessary Carnage.  You do not need to concern yourself with your daughter’s safety when it comes to Earwigs.

White cottony caterpillar
August 22, 2009
What is this?? My husband and I found several in our garden. We believe they are feeding on young sumac or lilac trees. We have studied caterpillars and moths/butterflies for some time and have never seen this before. Thank you for any assistance.
Donna Riedinger
New Jersey, USA

Butternut WoollyWorm

Butternut WoollyWorm

Hi Donna,
Though the Butternut WoollyWorm, Eriocampa juglandis, resembles a caterpillar and is often mistaken for a caterpillar, it is really the larva of a Sawfly.  Sawflies are classified with Ants, Bees and Wasps.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) and Butternut (Juglans cinerea). Also reported on Carya spp. (Hickory).
”  The potential host trees you mention are not listed in any sources we used.  According to the Auburn University website:  “Fully grown larva are densely covered with white, cottony or woolly filamentous flocculence.

Butternut WoollyWorm

Butternut WoollyWorm

Giant Caterpillar
August 22, 2009
Found in the garden on 12.12.08. Approx 10cm Long and 1.5cm dia.
Can you identify it and tell me what it has by now become? We put it over the wall onto an adjacen vacant plot of land. Haven’t seen any more
Gurgan, India

Unidentified Hornworm from India

Oleander Hawkmoth Hornworm from India

Dear Roy,
This is a Sphinx Moth Caterpillar or Hawkmoth Caterpillar in the family Sphingidae.  These caterpillars are often called Hornworms for obvious reasons, and they are harmless.  The coloration of your specimen indicates that it was probably getting ready to pupate, which they do underground.  We will put in a quick inquiry with Bill Oehlke to see if he recognizes the species, and perhaps one of our readers will write in with a species identification.

Identification courtesy of Karl
August 24, 2009
Hi Daniel and Roy:
This looks like the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth (Daphnis nerii). It is native to southern Europe, Africa and Asia but is popping up worldwide as its host plant (Oleander) is spread as a popular ornamental. They are apparently well established in Hawaii for instance. The mature larvae are usually green but it does come in a variety of color variations; this is a brown form. The adults are very well represented on WTB and there has been at least one posting of a brown form caterpillar.  Regards.

More Black Swallowtail on Long Island, NY
August 22, 2009
Your site was very helpful in identifying a butterfly that has been flying around Bayville NY this summer. I took two more pictures which feel free to add to that section of the site.
This is a female Black Swallowtail flying near a tomato plant, southern exposure. The pictures may not show the yellow spots at the bottom of the tail.
Barry P. from Bayville, N.Y.
Bayville, New York (North Shore of Long Island)

Black Swallowtial
Black Swallowtial

Thanks Barry,
The feeling of movement in your photo is a nice departure from the static images we generally post.

Hi Sirs
Just happened to be on here when your reply came in.
You are very polite about the “feeling of movement”- sorry if it’s a little blurred, but if you are able to use it, feel free. In the past, I have seen Monarch butterflies and sometimes Tiger Swallowtails, but I can’t remember seeing these Black Swallowtails in previous summers. Usually I see them at the dunes on the beach. Our house is about 100 feet from the beach, so some similarities. I can add that we had torrential rain last night so the plants are very moist. This particular butterfly was exploring (sniffing?) a tomato plant, getting very fragrant about now.
I took the picture to send to my daughter, who is in Southern Florida visiting relatives, possibly going to “Butterfly World” near Fort Lauderdale, hence I came on your site (via Google image search for “butterfly” and “Long Island”) to identify the pix before sending to her. She is a teenager now, but used to go there when she was much younger, did a project in school re rain forest in first grade, etc so maybe all this will rekindle her interest in butterflies.
Barry D Parker