From the monthly archives: "November 2010"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Preying Mantis
Location: Somerville, MA
November 20, 2010 3:28 pm
Hi – I found this in my front yard in Somerville, MA on a perennial sunflower. I identified it as a preying mantis that shouldn’t be this far North, so I was wondering what you had to say about it. I found a second mantis on the same day that looked totally different that I couldn’t even locate in a guidebook. Will submit that one as well. It was late September, early afternoon.
Signature: Jess

Male Chinese Mantis

Second Somerville MA Preying Mantis
Location: Somerville, MA
November 20, 2010 3:29 pm
This one was fat and slow and brown all over. I could have picked it up and it wouldn’t have batted a buggy eyelash. I didn’t pick it up, btw.
Signature: Jess

Female European Mantis

Hi Jess,
We took the liberty of combining your two emails into one posting.  We agree that you probably have two different species of Mantids here, but the most obvious difference between them is that the smaller individual is a male and the larger individual is a female.  We believe both of your individuals are introduced species.  We believe the male is a Chinese Mantis,
Tenodera aridifolia sinensis.  According to BugGuide, it is:  “Tan to pale green. Forewings tan with green along front margin. Compound eyes chocolate-brown at sunset, pale tan soon after sunrise and during the day.”  BugGuide also indicates it is “Widely distributed in the U.S. due to the availability of commercially purchased egg-cases.”  We found a photo of a female European Mantis, Mantis religiosa, on BugGuide that is a very close match to your female, and BugGuide indicates:  “From “National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects & Spiders” (1), p. 397:  This mantid was accidentally introduced in 1899 on nursery stock from southern Europe. At a time when Gypsy Moth Caterpillars were burgeoning in the eastern states, it was recognized almost immediately as a beneficial predator. However, mantids are so cannibalistic that they are rarely numerous enough to have much effect in depleting caterpillar populations.”  Any experts in Mantis identification are welcomed to confirm or correct our species identifications.

Male Chinese Mantis

Thank you so much! This has been somewhat of a local mystery now – to the point of one friend begging me to put these pups up on your site. I’m sure you can feel a general collective sigh of relief at our bugs having identities!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown bug
Location: Deloraine Tasmania
November 21, 2010 9:28 pm
Hi there
I have this strange ant in my back yard its about an inch long and i only ever see one by itself
Signature: Anne Bailey

Blue Ant

Hi Anne,
Even though it is called a Blue Ant, this flightless female wasp is a Flower Wasp in the family Tiphiidae.  The Blue Ant is
Diamma bicolor, and we found wonderful information on Oz Animals.  Here is the text from Oz Animals:  “Identification  Blue Ants are not ants at all but the wingless females of a species of Flower Wasp. The female is has a glossy blue green body with reddish legs. They move across the ground with a rapid restless motion with abdomen raised above the ground. The winged male and is slender and much smaller with more typical wasp appearance. Males have black with white spots on the abdomen. The female wasps paralyse mole crickets as food for their larvae. The female wasp can give a painful sting if disturbed, but they are not commonly encountered by people.
Size  length: females 23mm, males 15mm
Food  Adults feed on nectar.
Breeding  Blue Ants are parasitic wasps and lay their eggs on mole crickets. The female wasp runs over the ground like an ant looking for a mole cricket to parasitise. She paralyses the mole crickets with a sting and lay an egg on it. When the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the cricket.
Range  Blue Ants are found in Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Steel GREEN Cricket Hunter Wasp!?
Location: Palm Springs 2009
November 21, 2010 1:28 pm
This steel blue cricket hunter wasp was found and caught at palm springs 2009. Its hard to see in the photo, but it is bright green. I cant find any kind of wasp like it on the internet or my bug book. I want to know if it is a new species, a mutation, a perfectly normal wasp defect, or just another kind of wasp.
Signature: -Aidan

Cricket Hunter

Hi Aidan,
We located an image on BugGuide of a Cricket Hunter in the genus
Chlorion that is a green color.  The genus page on BugGuide provides this information:  “Dr Ascher’s comments:  …Note greenish or purplish color of many Chlorion vs. blue in Chalybion. The shape of the pronotoum is more strongly notched in Chalybion; …the head of Chlorion is broader.”   We will check with Eric Eaton to confirm the identification of this Thread Waisted Wasp in the genus Chlorion, probably Chlorion aerarium.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Interesting Caterpillar
Location: Central Texas
November 21, 2010 6:16 pm
I took a picture of this today (11/21/2010) in Central Texas. Is it a Mournful Sphinx Caterpillar?
Signature: Matt

Rustic Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Matt,
You have the correct family, but the wrong species.  We believe this is a Rustic Sphinx Caterpillar,
Manduca rustica, based on images posted to the Sphingidae of the Americas website which indicates it feeds on lantana, the plant upon which you photographed your individual.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

this is the second part of the life cycle.
November 21, 2010
Location:  dirt road 4 miles north of nederland colorado in western boulder county.
the next stage the caterpillars turn brown.

Two Tailed Swallowtail changes color

they stop eating and hang on a leaf and turn brown. the first picture in this group is of a caterpillar in the process of turning brown. it takes about 8 hours for them to complete this. then they begin their walk about. they walk and walk around looking for a place to pupate.

Two Tailed Swallowtails: Fifth Instar Green and Brown

the 2nd picture is of one of the brown ones on his walk about passing his still green sibling.  they are 2 inches long now. the first one turned brown on sept 22, 2009.

Two Tailed Swallowtail: Pre-Chrysalis

when he finds his place on a twig (3rd photo) he will glue his bottom to the twig and then spin a silk thread to hold his top half to the twig. as you can see he is holding on with his pro legs as well. he becomes very still and hangs there for about two days.

Two Tailed Swallowtail: Pre-Chrysalis

the 4th picture shows that he has let go of the twig with his pro legs.

Two Tailed Swallowtail Chrysalis

and in the 5th photo he has shed his skin for the last time and is now a chrysalis. i only got to see one of them actually  shedding his skin at this stage and i didn’t get a picture. i was surprised at how quickly they come out of that skin and still have the thread attached and the bottom glued.  the first one pupated on sept 24,2009. i kept them all winter in a cold room and spritzed them weekly to keep them moist.  and it wasn’t till the third week of july 2010 when the first one hatched. by then i was keeping them outside in shade, but warm. i still spritzed them to keep them moist.

Two Tailed Swallowtail emerges from Chrysalis

the 6th photo is a male two tail just recently hatched. he is still letting his wings harden. it takes a few hours before they are ready to fly. he started to flap around the aquarium and i knew he was ready. this one hatched on july 24th,2010.
the last photo shows him released. he flew into a pine tree and stayed there for a little while. i was elated with each release. all five of the eggs hatched and grew and became chrysalids and were released in the same area i found the eggs. there were two females and three males. the last one hatched on aug. 7th 2010. nearly a year from the date the eggs were laid.  what a magical experience for me.
hope this can be of some use to anyone wanting to raise two tailed swallowtails.
venice kelly
nov.21, 2010

Two Tailed Swallowtail

Hi again Venice,
We are in awe of your marvelous documentation of the life cycle of a Two Tailed Swallowtail.  Thanks so much for providing this information for our viewership.  Dear Readers, be sure to read Part 1 of this metamorphosis if you missed it.  Again, we want to add that caterpillars undergo five instars, and we suspect you missed a molt somewhere between four and five, and since your email indicates you never witnessed the molting process until the chrysalis stage, that would indicate the error in your count.  Please do not take this as a criticism as we are in awe of your dedication and the wealth of information you have provided.

thanks daniel for letting me know that when they turn brown it is the 5th instar. i was unclear about the terminology for this.
thanks for all of your knowledge. and i am very happy it didn’t take you 2 hours to post.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

complete life cycle of two tailed swallowtail
November 21, 2010
Location:  dirt road 4 miles north of nederland colorado in western boulder county
hi daniel,
here are the photo’s i was telling you about of the complete life cycle of two tailed swallowtails. i have to send them in two emails as i am not able to send all 14 photo’s in one email.
the first seven photo’s begin with a picture of the female two tail laying her eggs on a choke cherry bush.

Two Tailed Swallowtail Lays Eggs

it was aug. 9, 2009. we were on a dirt road 4 miles north of nederland colorado in western boulder county. i had never seen a two tail at this elevation (about 8,500 feet). i found 5 eggs and brought them home to raise. i had never raised butterflies before so the whole process was new to me. and i quickly found out that two tails have a very long process to complete their life cycle.

Two Tailed Swallowtail egg shell and hatchling First Instar

the 2nd photo is of a hatchling. it is greatly enlarged. the eggs are the size of a pin head and the caterpillar (larvae)is the size of a comma. this is the first instar. the date of the first hatchling was aug. 21st.

Two Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar: Second Instar

seven days later (3rd photo) one molted to the 2nd instar.  now they look like bird poop as a protective measure. they didn’t all molt on the same day.

Two Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar: Third Instar

two weeks after that they molted to the 3rd instar  (4th photo). they still look similar but are getting bigger all the time and eating more.

Two Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar: Fourth Instar

about a week later (5th photo)they started molting again and the photo shows one crawling away from his skin. this is the 4th instar and he looks like green velvet. there are several stages to the 4th instar.

Two Tailed Swallowtail: Fourth Instar

the first is the green velvet look then they become brighter green and the white bird shaped marking on their backs still shows (6th photo) and then the white marking disappears (7th photo). they are getting bigger and bigger and eating LOTS!
i will continue this in the 2nd email  with the remaining photo’s.  thanks, venice

Two Tailed Swallowtail: Final Instar we believe

Dear Venice,
Thanks so much for sending this awesome documentation.  We don’t mean to disagree with you, but caterpillars have five instars.  We believe the final image in the first half of this series is actually the final or Fifth Instar.  When the caterpillar is getting ready to form a chrysalis, it often changes colors, which is where the second half of your series picks up.  Dear Readers, Don’t forget to read Part 2 of the Life Cycle of a Two Tailed Swallowtail.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination