From the yearly archives: "2010"

Paper Wasp Nestlings
Location:  Chicago Ridge, IL
July 24, 2010 1:29 pm
Hi! There’s a sweet nest of paper wasps outside my back door. I’ve been taking pics and video of their nest building and activities, and I’m quite sure they’ve laid eggs, by their behavior, but I’m not sure what the specific deets are.
I see glistening drops inside the nest, tiny, seed-like, yellow-rice grain bits (eggs?), and amber-colored, shiny ooze.
Whatever could these things be? I’m guessing eggs, food/nectar, pupae/larvae, but I don’t know which is which, or who is who.
Can you help me out?
Krissy K.

European Paper Wasp Nest

Hi Krissy,
Your Paper Wasps are European Paper Wasps,
Polistes dominula.  According to BugGuide, it is An introduced species from Eurasia, often mistaken for a yellow jacket. First reported in North America by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 near Boston, Massachusetts.  There are reports of it replacing native species of wasps in some areas (Bob Hammon, Colorado State U.)”  BugGuide also indicates:  “occurs throughout Eurasia; continues to expand North American range which is currently (2006) known to include northeastern US, Florida, Ontario, British Columbia, Washington to California and east to Colorado. The largest of the Paper Wasps in your photos is the queen and the others are the female workers.  The cells of the Paper Wasp nest are used solely for the purpose of raising young, not to store food.  The “yellow ricelike bits” you see are probably hatchling larvae and the fluids are food for the larvae.  BugGuide indicates:  “Larvae are fed chewed-up pieces of caterpillars and other insects caught by adults. The adults, like other paper wasps, feed on nectar from flowers and other sugary liquids.”  We also found a Cirrus Image page on the European Paper Wasp that contains some interesting information and opinions.

Yes, thanks!  I was wondering about the eggs, and droplets of goo in the nest.  Which bits are the eggs?  What is that goo?  Nectar to feed larvae?  Larvae?  The eggs themselves?
If you can be of any help, I’d totally appreciate it!  I haven’t been able to find pictures with descriptions of what is what inside the nest.

We repeat, The “yellow ricelike bits” you see are probably hatchling larvae and the fluids are food for the larvae.  The food would be chewed up insects.  The eggs might be too small to see easily, though the workers would not supply food to unhatched eggs, so any cells with small particles but no “goo” would be eggs.


Florida Caterpiller
Location:  DeLand, Forida
July 24, 2010 11:30 am
Can you tell what kind of caterpiller this is? It was found in DeLand, Florida on a Pole Bean plant in my garden on July 24, 2010.
Thank you for your help.
Sincerely, Maria

Long Tailed Skipper Caterpillar

Hi Maria,
This is a Skipper Caterpillar in the family Hesperiidae.  Skippers are butterflies, but they are often described as being a transitional family between butterflies and moths.  Many Skipper Caterpillars look similar, as you can see on BugGuide.  We believe it may be a Long-Tailed Skipper,
Urbanus proteus, and we found a nice website called Mike’s Page that details how to raise a Long-Tailed Skipper Caterpillar by feeding it leaves from beans.

Long-tailed Skipper caterpillar sex – male or female
July 24, 2010 1:37 pm
The two orange dots just a little over half way down the back of the Long-tailed Skipper caterpillar indicate that its a male.  With a few species you can tell if the larger caterpillars are male or female by these dots.  Brazilian Skipper’s dots are white.
I recently became a fan of whatsthatbug on facebook and am thoroughly enjoying your posts.
Thanks bunches,
Edith Smith

Hi Edith,
Thanks for this wonderful tip.  It is a new one for us as we didn’t think there was an easy way, other than genetic testing, to determine a male from a female caterpillar of any species.  We also appreciate your compliments.

July 24, 2010
Two weeks ago, as Lefty and Digitalis were preparing to lay more eggs, I decided to get a new 10 gallon nursery aquarium since Daryl asked for the borrowed aquarium back.  On July 9, I wrote:  “
I caught 17 more fry for relocation.  Total 63.  There are at least 21 remaining.“All of the fry left with the parents and they eventually vanished as did the new batch of eggs.  It’s a mystery.  Meanwhile, there was some mortality among the 63 fry that were put in the nursery aquarium in the bathroom.  There are probably at least 30 fry still alive, though it is difficult to count them.  I took some photos a few days ago.

Month old fry in Nursery Aquarium

The fry are eating well and growing and the largest are beginning to look more like Angelfish.  I would like to move them into the grow out aquarium within two weeks, but first I will need to take the largest youngsters to Tropical Imports to trade them for store merchandise, perhaps a Clown Loach to eat snails even though the Clown Loach is not an Amazon species.

Month Old Fry in Nursery Aquarium

Update: August 5, 2010
The spawning that prompted moving the fry a few weeks ago vanished, but about a week and a half ago, I placed a piece of slate in the aquarium with Lefty and Digitalis.  Within days, they spawned.  This was last weekend.  Many eggs were not fertile, but they did hatch and the wrigglers were moved around for a few days.  Monday, August 2, they began to swim and for the past two days, they have been eating newly hatched baby brine shrimp.  There are about fifty fry.  The fry that were moved to the 10 gallon aquarium should probably be moved to the grow out aquarium, but not until I take the largest inhabitants to Tropical Imports.

Pretty Bug
Location:  Wake Forest, NC
July 24, 2010 9:52 am
From Wake Forest, NC, this bug is pretty! I love the colours, but I had no idea where to start identifying on this one.
erica stjohn

Japanese Beetle

Hi Erica,
The Japanese Beetle,
Popillia japonica, the species represented in your photograph, is currently prominently featured at the top of our homepage as the featured Bug of the Month for July 2010.  WE got tremendous amusement at your infatuation with its coloration and your comment that it is pretty.  It is an attractive beetle, but any points it might score in the beauty category would be quickly outweighed by its status as an invasive exotic species that swarms in the summer months and defoliates hundreds of different species of cultivated plants including roses, grapes, clematis, blueberries, peaches and almost any ornamental plant that is kept in home gardens.  Our mother refers to the leaf damage as “lace doilies” since the beetles leave nothing behind on the leaf but the veins.  We suspect that your letter might even generate some hate mail for gardeners who are plagued by the yearly appearance of swarming Japanese Beetles.  Native to Japan, the Japanese Beetle was first found in New Jersey in 1916, and it quickly spread through most of the eastern parts of North America.  Manufacturers even have products that are designed to attract and trap Japanese Beetles in an effort to keep them from feeding on cultivated plants.  The adult beetles are not the only problem.  The beetle grubs feed on the roots of plants and grasses, often causing brown lawns.

Butterfly And The Pink
Location:  Raleigh, North Carolina
July 24, 2010 9:44 am
I would guess this is a monarch, but I am not sure.
Thank you for your help 🙂
erica stjohn

Monarch Butterfly

Hi Erica,
Your identification of the Monarch Butterfly is correct.  There appears to be an odd filter used on your photograph that give the tonalities a postarized effect.  We do not like to use photographs on our site that have exaggerated post production digital special effects, but since we don’t have many images of Monarch Butterflies, we are making an exception since most of the postarization is in the background and not in the Monarch itself.  We also noticed that you sent us numerous emails this morning.  We will probably not be able to answer all of them, but we will give it a shot.

Thank you for your response. I do apologize for all of the numerous emails. I lost what Info I had off my old site, and I am trying to build the new site better and including more ID and credit to others
That photo might have the posterized look to it. I will see if I can find the original as I sort and send the original to you. I had forgotten that one did.
Thank you for your time and willingness for any help. It is appreciated more than you could imagine!

Hi Erica,
There is no need to send another photo.  We just like informing our readership that they shouldn’t creatively alter the images too much in the interest of correct documentation.

Thank you! You have really made my day! 🙂

moth identification
Location:  western north carolina
July 23, 2010 11:55 am
this was a very friendly moth that was so happy with my camera that it hopped right on it. i love the splash of orange and the black and white antennae. what is it?

Gray Hairstreak

Dear Mike,
This is actually a Hairstreak Butterfly in the subfamily Theclinae, but we are reluctant to identify the species as so many look alike.  You can see the many examples on BugGuide.

Species Identified by Eric Eaton
August 11, 2010
Hi, Daniel:
Went through the site and found only a few minor corrections/clarifications, most recent to oldest: …
… Hairstreak Butterfly, western North Carolina:  Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus.
Otherwise, either very good or “I can’t help with that:-)”
Is the book out for everybody yet?  If so, I’ll link it to my blog, share on Facebook, etc.  I did get the pre-order e-mail from you.

Thanks Eric,
Now we can link to the species page on BugGuide for the Gray Hairstreak.  The book will be available in October 2010.