From the monthly archives: "February 2010"

Large green moth
February 5, 2010
Saw this moth on a wall at the temple of Philae at Aswan in Egypt. It was 6 to 8 inchesf rom wingtip to wingtip. There was no vegetation for dozens of yards in any direction..
P Tucker
Aswan Egypt

Oleander Hawkmoth

Hi P Tucker,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth, a species that is relatively common in the Mediterranean region, in Africa and in Asia.

Hi Daniel
Thank you very much for your explanation.
Kind regards
Phil Tucker

Stinging Slug Caterpillar from Bako
February 5, 2010
Hi Bugman, I saw this gorgeous critter on my trip to Bako National Park. Ploughed the net and some blog labelled it as Euclea delphinii. But when i did a google image search on it the actual spp looks pretty diff. what’s this???
Sarawak, Malaysia

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Hi Peiya,
The problem with blogs, including our own, is that there is much misinformation.  We agree that this is a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae, and we can tell you with certainty that you are correct that it is not the North American species Euclea delphinii.  It is also appears to be different from the Malaysian Parasa lepida or Blue Striped Nettle Grub we posted several months back.  This may take additional research.

Slug or worm
February 5, 2010
This ‘slug’ was seen in my garden in Berowra which is 30Km North of Sydney.
Berowra, North of Sydney, Australia

Australian Flatworm

Hi Ken,
Before we even began to research, we eliminated the possibility of this being a slug as it is lacking the sensory optic tentacles.  We believed it more closely resembled a Land Planaria or Flatworm, but again, the hatchet shaped head was absent.  We did a google search for “planaria Australia” and we were immediately taken to a Terrestrial Planaria website with an image nearly identical to your photo that is labeled Australian Flatworm.  Sadly, clicking the link sends us back to google and does not provide any answers.

Australian Flatworm

Beneath the photo is this information:  “Geoplanidae -> Caenoplaninae -> Australopacifica (Dendy 1894)Searching Geoplanida indicates that is a new higher classification of planarian flatworms.  Searching Caenoplaninae led us to a similarly shaped Planaria on Wikipedia with different coloration from Australia called a Blue Garden Flatworm.  Australopacifica would seem to be a genus name, and is most probably the genus of your Australian Terrestrial Flatworm.  We wish your letter had more information, including the size of this beauty.  Flatworms prey upon garden snails, so they are beneficial in the home garden.

Australopacifica species

Cannon Beach Ghost Millipede of the Sea?
February 4, 2010
On Sunday, January 31 at about 7:30 in the morning, my friend and I were taking one last stroll along the beautiful shore on Cannon Beach. The beach goes along south until it runs into some black rocks and tide pools. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things there, but this takes the cake.
Washed up on the sand, not caught in a tidepool but instead in a very shallow seabound stream, was a pale ghost of a creature that I admit, freaked me out. I’m pretty sure it was either dead or unaccustomed to surface pressure… it seemed quite limp in either case.
It was off-white, with an almost luminescent-looking greenish tinge. You can sort of see the color in the photo. And I couldn’t discern any eyes, just that rather spectacular pointed oblong of a head. And the spinal column… not that bugs necessarily have spines, but you know… was translucent, not whitish. You can see it in the photo; the translucent part seems to surround the …brain? Brrrr. Wow. Somewhere between 4 and 6 inches of fascinating, nameless wriggle – hard to say for sure with it folded up like that and me afraid to touch it (even with a stick).
I wish I had a better photo for you; the water was washing it back out to the ocean, and my camera is old and beat up. It certainly isn’t pretty enough to make picture of the month. But with any luck, you can tell me what this bizarre encounter was. Have you ever seen anything like it?
I haven’t, save perhaps in unremembered dreams…
Nikki Burns, still a Goonie
Cannon Beach, OR

Sea Worm

Dear Nikki,
Your letter is wonderful, and this creature is a bit out of our typical request realm, though we have identified marine worms in the past.  We are posting it immediately as unidentified in the hopes that one of our readers will have some clue as to its identity, and we will begin to research ourselves.  Meanwhile, hold tight and we will see what we are able to uncover.  We would strongly suggest that you post a comment to your own letter in the event that sometime far in the future, an identification is provided.  We generally write back if we get an identification in a few days, but eventually, a querant’s email address vanishes into the black hole that our email account becomes after about a week.

Hi again Nikki,
On a lark, we just did a search for sea worm, and found the Wikipedia page on the genus Glycera, Blood Worms, and it sure looks like your critter.

Grasshopper, large, very unsuaul
February 4, 2010
We found this grasshopper? bug – looks like it just hatched or is not well. It is about 6″, or 12cm long. When we found it, its deep pink corrugated looking wings were open quite wide and the leaf looking bits at the top of the wings were standing up. We bought it home to observe it but it didn’t open its wings again. It was walking around on some bark that we collected for it. In the end, we put it on a tree to see if it would open its wings, but it walked up the tree and we were busy and couldn’t watch it any more. Pics attached. Can’t get the pic showing the whole grasshopper to load. It is the same size as the others.
Jan O’Donnell
South East Queensland, Australia

Pink Winged Stick Insect

Hi Jan,
This is a Goliath Stick Insect, Eurycnema goliath, which we identified on the Brisbane Insect website.  The individuals pictured there have more mottled coloration where your specimen seems to be more evenly green.  The bright pink wings are evident in your specimen and the images posted online.  The Brisbane Insect Website indicates:  “By watching the Goliath, we notice that  it has at least the following defence mechanisms. Of course its primary mechanism is its heavy camouflage. Its appearances and its movement resembles twigs or branches so that it can hide away from predators. It’s second defence mechanism is to scare its predators. When disturbed it will display the bright red colour under its wings and the eyes-patterns between the thorax and rear legs. Together with a swishing sound apparently coming from the wings. It will also kick its spiny legs which will help frighten the predator. We also noticed that the Goliath we found, one of its rear leg is missing, the other rear leg is a little bit shorter than normal (compare with pictures in reference books) and one of the front legs is extremely small. This indicated that it lost parts of its legs at least three times. This could be its last defence mechanism, for when its legs are held by its predator, a bird for example, it loses its leg deliberately and drops to the ground, the bird may not find the Goliath stick for its camouflage.
In many Stick Insects, the female is the larger, and we believe your specimen is a female.  Please try responding to our response and attaching the other photo.  We would love to see the complete insect.

PInk Winged Stick Insect abdomen closeup

The Brisbane Insect Website also states:  “Goliath Stick Insects eat a lot of plants materials and they leave a lot of droppings. To avoid the predators notice them by their droppings, the insect has a very special way to handle it. At the rear end of the insects’ abdomen, they have three large filaments. The middle filament holds the dropping when it comes out. The stick insects will flip their abdomen to throw their droppings a few meters away.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your reply.  It was such an interesting experience finding this insect this morning.  I don’t know if it is the same as the ones in the link to Brisbane Insect website – its body was more substantial and its head was very fine compared to the more obtuse head on the ones on that web page.  Anyhow, I have attached 2 more pics for you to see.

Pink Winged Stick Insect

Thanks for sending the other image Jan.  We are now confident that this is a Goliath Stick Insect, though the coloration is different from most of the photos we found online.

Correction:  March 28, 2013
Thanks to a comment from Becky, we now know that this is a Pink Winged Stick Insect, Podacanthus typhon, and we located a matching image on OzAnimals which states:  “found in south east Australia in New South Wales and Victoria.”  It is described as:  “The Pink-winged Phasma has striking pink wings with reddish pink veins and green leading edge. The front pair of wings are short and green. The wing covers are pale green and ridged in the centre. The legs are reddish pink and fairly short. The mesothorax is short and narrow with numerous tubercles. The body is long and pink above with last segment green, with two long thin cerci. Both males and females can fly.”

Beautiful Moth
February 4, 2010
I hope that you can respond to my email in time. I don’t know what to do with this moth. I live in Cleveland and it is very cold right now. I found it in the house. I can’t let it outside. It will die I really don’t know what to do with it in the house. I feel so bad for it. I believe it just came out of its cocoon. It must have been in one of the plants that we had outside this summer. What is it? Can I keep it alive until spring, and how? (It’s only February!)
Cleveland, Ohio

Polyphemus Moth

Hi Wendy,
Alas, even if the weather was fine, this lovely Polyphemus Moth would only live a few days.  They do not feed as adults, and only live long enough to mate.  Sadly, it will die without mating.

Thank you for responding so soon. How sad.  It is so beautiful.