From the yearly archives: "2009"

What type of moth is this? Found in Texas
August 25, 2009
I found this moth clinging to the inside of my door. I put it gently outside, later it found its way back into the house. I have never seen anything like it. It did not seem to want to fly.
Yvonne , Jeremy and Isla
Texas

Giant Leopard Moth

Giant Leopard Moth

Hi Yvonne, Jeremy and Isla,
This is a Giant Leopard Moth or Eyed Tiger Moth, Hypercompe scribonia.  Many Tiger Moths do not eat as adults and they are attracted to lights.  Though we don’t get Eyed Tiger Moths at our Los Angeles offices, we do get a relative known as the Painted Arachnis.  Each year they are attracted to the porch lights and lay eggs on the wooden siding.  The furry caterpillars, known as Woolly Bears, hatch and disperse where they are general feeders.  According to BugGuide, Giant Leopard Moth “larvae feed on a great variety of broad-leaved plants, including banana, cabbage, cherry, dandelion, maple, orange, sunflower, violet, willow.

Female Diana Fritillary Butterfly
August 25, 2009
Hi Daniel,
My property abuts Cocke County in East Tennessee on one side and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the other.  I have to consider myself a lucky person in that for the past several years I’ve been able to enjoy this lovely beauty and her male counterpart each summer.  They, and many other butterflies (Pipevine Swallowtail and Great Spangled Fritillary also photographed this month), so enjoy the ironweed in my backyard.  In the spring my backyard is full of a variety of wild violets.
The attached article may be of some interest to you.  I was lucky enough to get this photo just a few minutes ago.
http://www.tennessee.gov/environment/tn_consv/archive/teinsects.pdf
Thank you so much for all your help over the years,
R.G. Marion

Female Diana Fritillary

Female Diana Fritillary

Dear R.G.,
In our humble opinion, the Diana Fritillary is one of the most beautiful North American butterflies.  We have also read that it is endangered, probably due to habitat loss.  The sexual dimorphism is especially marked in this species.

female Diane Fritillary
August 26, 2009
It never falis, I see a new isnect in my yard, and it shows up on your site! I am 99 % sure I caught and released a female Diana Fritillary yesterday. She was stuck in our garage, trying to “get out” of the window. I put a cup over her, and slid some paper underneath. She was healthy and seemed very robust. The BUT in all of this is we are in southeastern PA. According to the info on the internet, this is not her range. But I got a close look at her, and she was a Diana Fritillary. We have tons of wild violets in our yard, which may provide her with a food source.
Lee Weber

Hi Lee,
We are very happy to hear we don’t fail you.  According to BugGuide, the Diana Fritillary is found in “Souther [sic] Appalachian region, also Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, Missouri. Rather local and rare.
BugGuide has reports from Virginia.  As we have stated in Mitigated Negative Declaration comment letters in our own Mount Washington, Los Angeles neighborhood, wildlife does not recognize arbitrary boundaries between properties, and the same goes for state and international borders.  You are in the Southern portion of Pennsylvania.  We are linking to a page with nice photos and a distribution map showing West Virginia, Virgina and the Carolinas.  It is entirely possible there is an undocumented population in your area, though you did not indicate if you live in a wooded area.  Dare we even entertain the possibility that global warming could be contributing to range expansion? or that Hurricane Bill storms may have blown your specimen off course?  We wish you had supplied us with a photograph.  Though we do not want to doubt your powers of observation, you might also compare images of Red Spotted Purples to see if that could be what you saw.

female Diane Fritillary
First, sorry for the typos. Second- darn, you could be right. The funny thing is, I almost let her beat against the window so I could get my camera!! Sad, huh? The reason I didn’t is because there are quite a few spiders in the windows of the garage. One lucky bugger snagged a cicada. I didn’t want her to get trapped. Anyway, it could have been the Red Spotted Purple. It did seem to be a bit larger than the little orange fritillaries around here. And the storms that have ripped through here lately would certainly blown a butterfly off course. Thanks for the response. Love your site!

Bug Love: Hera Buckmoths
August 25, 2009
Hi Lisa Anne and Daniel. As you can imagine, I was quite pleased today to find these mating Hera Buckmoths on the ranch of my friends Bart and Gay Lynn Byrd. I hope you enjoy them also.
The improvements to your site are great 😀
Peace
Dwaine
north of Glenrock, WY

Mating Hera Buckmoths

Mating Hera Buckmoths

Hi Dwaine,
Thanks so much for sending your awesome photos of mating Hera Buckmoths.  We are copying our webmaster who just spent an entire work week on our site improvements.  We dumped all of our revenue into a new server and we are thrilled with the new found speed.

Mating Hera Buckmoths

Mating Hera Buckmoths

Is this a Jewel Beetle?
August 25, 2009
Hi there,
This little guy flew into my house. I took him back out after admiring him a bit but the very next day, there he was again, clinging to the post I hang my purse on. He’s beautiful but I don’t want him to die in here, I’ve put a variety of leaves out for him since he just plain refuses to leave. Is he a Jewel Beetle? Thanks for your help.
Amy
Kaneohe, Hawaii

Jewel Beetle

Jewel Beetle

Hi Amy,
Yes, this is a Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae, but we are uncertain of the species. Since it is an island habitat, Hawaii is one of those places where invasive exotic species can displace endemic endangered species, and we are curious to find out what species you have submitted.  Sadly, since we must leave for work, we haven’t the time to research right now.
Judging by her ovipositor, your specimen is a female.

Update: February 16, 2011
Thanks to a comment from wildabug, our incorrectly sexed beetle has been identified as being in the genus
Strigoptera and we located a photo here.

Large Green Beetle
August 25, 2009
Hello again. Thank you for your help identifying the interesting insects I find. I love your web page and have managed to identify most of my finds using it and bug guide. This large green beetle almost got squashed as it was sitting on the cement step. I found quite a few green beetles here and on bug guide but none seem to quite match this one. It’s about 1.25 -1.5 inches long. It crawled surprisingly fast up and down my arm as I was trying to take it’s picture. It was also flighted, though it seemed to prefer to walk. The second pic is just for size, my watchband is 1 inch wide where the logo is.
Jess
Rhode Island

Fiery Searcher

Fiery Searcher

Hi Jess,
Your impressive beetle is a Ground Beetle in the genus Calosoma, the Caterpillar Hunters.  The species is Calosoma scrutator, the Fiery Searcher.  You can read more about the Fiery Searcher on BugGuide which states:  “Life cycle is one year, but adults long-lived, reported to live for up to three years. Adults attracted to lights. Eggs are laid singly in soil. Larvae pupate in earthen cells. Adults can overwinter.

What is this caterpillar
August 24, 2009
I live in Western Newfoundland. My grandson found the attached caterpillar in his back garden. what abeauty…The “horn” is at the back end. I put is in a container and addedafew shrub leaves which is quickley began to feed on. I’ve since given it its freedom (I may be sorry :O)
Keith P.
Wetsern Newfoundland, Canada

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Keith,
This beautiful caterpillar is a Laurel Sphinx, Sphinx kalmiae.  We quickly located it on Bill Oehlke’s awesome website.

Thank you for your prompt reply and interesting literature.  It certainly is a very beautiful creature.   I’m in deep trouble with my wife if it decides to breed in the garden – we have Lilac L
Keith Piercey
Corner Brook

Hi again Keith,
WE will try to get you off the hook in the interest of preserving your marital bliss.  Though a large Sphinx Caterpillar can consume a considerable quantity of leaves, this does not do lasting damage to the plant.  By the time your Sphinx Caterpillars appear in a given year, the lilacs have finished blooming.  We doubt that there would ever be more than a few Laurel Sphinx Caterpillars on a given lilac.  Some moths lay all their eggs in one location, but Sphinx Moths tend to be more selective, and place single eggs on distant leaves.