From the monthly archives: "September 2010"

Carolina Sphinx
Location:  Bellevue NE moonflower bush
September 25, 2010 11:55 pm
Thank you for your site. I was able to identify what I took a picture of.
Signature:  Eric

Five Spotted Hawkmoth

Dear Eric,
Your photos are quite wonderful, especially the image that shows the moth with its long proboscis uncoiled and reaching deep into the throat of the blossom for the nectar.  If your photos were not of such a high quality, we probably would not be able to correct your misidentification.  If you compare the markings on the thorax of your specimen and count the yellow spots on the abdomen, we think you will agree that this is actually not a Carolina Sphinx, but rather a Five Spotted Hawkmoth,
Manduca quinquemaculata.  Bill Oehlke’s website, Sphingidae of the Americas, has excellent images of numerous members of the family, and you can compare his photographs of the Five Spotted Hawkmoth with those of the Carolina Sphinx. As long as we are making corrections, the blossom that the Five Spotted Hawkmoth is feeding upon is a Datura, commonly called a Jimsonweed.  We believe the common name Moonflower belongs to a vine in the morning glory family and though the Datura also blooms at night, we have not heard it called a Moonflower. The Datura is a common food plant for the caterpillars of  both the Carolina Sphinx and the Five Spotted Hawkmoth, and having flowers that attract the adult moths ensures that the bloom is pollinated and can produce seeds.  Both the plant and the moth benefit from their symbiotic relationship.

Five Spotted Hawkmoth

Thanks for the correction. However, the plant is not D. stramonium, it is more Ipomoea alba. The shape of leaves is distinctly different. But I am just an amateur photographer and amateur gardener.

again a google search corrects me…. Datura wrightii is the classification…but i am so confused now lol

Hi Eric,
Classification of plants and animals is no cake walk, and just when you think you have the identification nailed, some scientist reclassifies everything.  The plant is definitely a Datura.

Agreed, a Datura it is.

Monster Beetle
Location:  Puebla, Mexico
September 25, 2010 12:49 pm
Hello bugman,
I live in Puebla, Mexico, a city in southern Mexico. I found what seems to be a beetle in my shower. It has 6 legs, red legs and head, a black body, antenna, and no wings. It is also giant. Can you please help me figure out what this is so I can shower peacefully? Thank you!
Signature:  A Scared American in Mexico

Niña de la Tierra

Dear Scared American,
You had an encounter with a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket in the family Stenopelmatidae, a subterranean dweller that emerges and forages at night.  In Spanish, it is called a Niña de la Tierra or Child of the Earth.   Potato Bugs have strong jaws and they may bite if provoked, but they are not dangerous.
The description of different species has not gotten the attention it deserves, and most literature does not accurately differentiate members of the family which according to BugGuide, includes at least fifty species in California and 200 species in the entire range. Also according to BugGuide, they are found in Western North America from British Columbia to Central America.

Possible Beetle?
Location:  Northern California
September 25, 2010 3:33 pm
Hi Bugman,
We found these buggers yesterday on a redwood overhang outside our house located on the San Francisco peninsula, California. We’re having especially warm weather right now — a slow transition into fall. They seem to have 6 legs and 2 antennae, a dark brown or black lower half, with a reddish brown head. They are about 7-8 mm in body length.
Thanks for your help!!
Signature:  Hal

Pacific Coast Dampwood Termite

Hi Hal,
This sure looks like a Pacific Coast Dampwood Termite,
Zootermopsis angusticollis, to us.  Try comparing your image to this image on BugGuide.

unknown butterfly
Location:  Baltimore, Maryland
September 25, 2010 7:40 pm
Hi. I saw this butterfly on the side of the house and don’t know what it is. I was thinking either a relative of an Admiral butterfly or Painted Lady. Can you tell me what kind of butterfly it is?
Signature:  Wendy

Common Buckeye

Hi Wendy,
We wanted to verify that this really was a Common Buckeye,
Junonia coenia, so we found a matching image on Bugguide.  The closed wing view in your photograph does not reveal the iconic markings of this lovely butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, the same family as the Painted Lady and Red Admiral.

Bug with fork head
Location:  Southwest Florida
September 25, 2010 4:04 pm
I live in Southwest Florida. I found this bug on my porch, but I can’t seem to find anything on the internet about it. It is long like a dragonfly with clear wings and its head looks like it has a dinner fork attached to it. I’m just curious what it is.
Signature:  Gaston


Hi Gaston,
This sure looks like the silhouette of an Antlion to us.

Large Color Children’s Books
September 25, 2010 3:59 pm
In July 2007  Sunset Magazine there is a photo of Lisa Anne and Daniel with what looks like a large color picture book of bugs, perhaps it is for young pre-reading children?  I was wondering what it is Title and Author, or your recommendation for a good bug book for children.
Thank you.
Signature: Susie Claxton

Sunset Magazine July 2007

Hi Susie,
The book in the photograph is Living Jewels by Poul Beckmann.  It is not a book for children, but rather a coffee table book of incredible photographs of beetles with almost no text.  Years ago, the Golden Guide to Insects by
Herbert S. Zim, Ph.D. & Clarence Cottam, Ph.D. with Illustrations by James Gordon Irving was a popular book.  It seems is it out of print, but we did locate  the Golden Book of Insects and Spiders by Saurence P. Pringle and illustrated by James Spence which may be the newest version of this excellent book for youngsters.