From the monthly archives: "October 2010"

Grasshopper looking bug with “eye” on the back
Location:  Croatia, Dalmatia, Adriatic Coast, Biokovo Mountains
October 4, 2010 11:10 am
This big fella and his friends were spotted (rather frequently) during a hike in the Dinaric alps around 1000 m above sea level in Dalmatia, Croatia (Biokovo National Park, next to the Adriatic sea) in early September. The bug was ca 5 cm long and looked like a grasshopper. Is it a grasshopper that comes in a fancier outfit than the grasshoppers we see at home maybe? We were very fascinated by this little creature but haven’t been able to find out what bug it actually is. Please help us!
Signature:  Szabolcs&Susanna

Saddle-Back Katydid

Dear Szabolcs & Susanna,
This is a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, probably a Shieldback Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae.  The long ovipositor indicates she is a female. We will search for a species name and attempt to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki for his expertise.

Thank you for your quick answer! We’re looking forward to possibly getting to know more!

Hi Daniel,
This is a Saddle-back katydid (Ephippiger discoidalis). Normally this species is green, but at higher elevations you often find dark-colored forms of this (and other Ephippiger) species. Ephippiger is a really interesting genus, not only because males produce enormous nuptial gift in the form of a very large spermatophylax, but also because females in this group have evolved a unique stridulatory apparatus, and are capable of singing as well as the males (but do so only rarely).

Sphinx moth caterpillar in October?
Location:  Susquehanna Valley, PA
October 3, 2010 7:54 pm
Hi Bugman!
I work at a large greenhouse, so I see quite a few critters indoors and out. It’s always fun to try identifying bugs I don’t recognize and your website has come in handy many times. Whenever a coworker asks me about a bug, I always point them to your site first.
Although I’m familiar with tobacco and tomato hornworms, the one that I found today was neither. Perusing your site, I believe it’s a Whitelined Sphinx Moth caterpillar. I was surprised to find this over 3” long caterpillar crawling across the outside thruway, away from the fields and plants, especially since I rarely see any this late in the year. Also, aren’t these typically found in desert locales? I had time to snap one shot with my phone before making sure the caterpillar got out of harm’s way before it was run over.
I hope my guess is correct. Thanks for all the great info here!
Signature:  CJ

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear CJ,
Your identification of the Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar,
Hyles lineata, is correct.  The deserts of the Southwest are known for seasonal population explosions of these caterpillars when weather conditions and food requirements are ideal, but this is also the widest ranging Sphinx Moth in North America.  Because the caterpillars can be so plentiful, they were an important food for the indigenous people of the southwest.  The Whitelined Sphinx can be found in all 48 lower states as well as Mexico and Canada.  The Data page on BugGuide shows the distribution of reports to that site, and Bill Oehlke’s website, Sphingidae of the Americas, has wonderful information on the species.  The caterpillars will feed on a wide variety of plants including the greenhouse staple Fuschia.

Unkown bug in France
Location:  Provence , 43degN, 6degE, 550m elevation
October 3, 2010 8:50 pm
This bug was crossing the path we were walking on near St Cezaire, Provence, France. It was approximately 35mm long. When approached it arched it’s abdomen as in the picture. When not threatened it was held straight.
Can you identify it please.
Signature:  Keith Murray

Devil's Coach Horse

Hi Keith,
This is a Devil’s Coach Horse, a type of Rove Beetle.  The Devil’s Coach Horse is a common name applied to several species of native European predatory Rove Beetles that have also been introduced to North America where they are now well established.  THough it looks threatening, it is perfectly harmless to humans.

Thanks Daniel and congratulations on a great web site.

Aggressive bug
Location:  Vancouver, canada
October 3, 2010 8:48 pm
I recently found a bug I’ve never seen before. It held it’s tail like a scorpion does, and it was very aggressive. It is an inch long with large mandibles.
I will include a photo
Signature:  crazy bug

Devil's Coach Horse

Dear crazy bug,
The threat posture assumed by the Devil’s Coach Horse, a species of Rove Beetle, in the photo that you have included helps to dissuade attackers, but other than emitting a foul odor, the Devil’s Coach Horse does not pose a threat to humans.  Several different species of Devil’s Coach Horses were introduced from Europe in the mid twentieth century into North America, and they are now well established.  They prey upon snails and slugs in the garden.

Stink bug or spined soldier bug?
Location:  Northern VA, USA
October 3, 2010 8:01 pm
I’m still having a hard time distinguishing a stink bug from a spined soldier bug. In this photo, I think I’ve got a spined solider bug, but I’m not sure.
Signature:  Patty in VA

Spined Soldier Bug

Hi Patty,
Your insect is both a Stink Bug and a Spined Soldier Bug.  Stink Bug is a general name for members of the family Pentatomidae.  Spined Soldier Bugs are in the family Pentatomidae, and they are further classified in the genus
Podisus, which you may see on BugGuide.  While most Stink Bugs feed on plants using their sucking mouthparts, and many Stink Bugs are considered agricultural pests that would not be welcome in the garden, the Spined Soldier Bugs are predators, and though they may also prey on beneficial insects, their presence would generally be welcomed in the garden.

Thank you very much for your answers to my submissions. I love the website and refer to it often!
Patty Beckmann

Garden Guest
Location:  Northern VA, USA
October 3, 2010 8:07 pm
All summer long, I see little tiny flies like this in the garden. Are they good guys?
Signature:  Patty in VA

Longlegged Fly

Dear Patty,
This is a Longlegged Fly in the family Dolichopodidae.  According to BugGuide:  “Mouthparts are for piercing (with a short proboscis). Adults and larvae are predaceous on small insects. Although immatures of some species mine stems of grasses and other plants or live under bark of trees. Not much is known about larval feeding habits although some species are known to be predaceous.
”  They are good guys or at the very least benign guys.