From the yearly archives: "2010"

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Location:  Lexington NC
July 23, 2010 5:53 pm
He was a bit leery so I could not get a real good shot, but hope you enjoy this one.

Tiger Swallowtail

We know first hand how elusive Swallowtail Butterflies can be when there is a camera present, so we are happy to post your image of this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail to acknowledge your accomplishment.  It appears as though he may be puddling, an activity engaged in by many male butterflies that often congregate in great numbers near damp places so they can drink fluids that contain necessary salts and minerals.

Unknown insect
Location:  Banks of the Potomac River in DC
July 24, 2010 9:27 am
Found this bug on the branch of a willow tree while having a picnic along the Potomac River in DC It has an abdomen similar to a dragonfly, two transparent wings and the head similar to a grasshopper. Any ideas???

American Pelecinid

Greetings Todd,
Your letter is the third identification request we responded to this week inquiring about the identity of the American Pelecinid,
Pelecinus polyturator, but the photos on the earlier two letters were blurry and of a general poor quality, unlike your stunning silhouette against the capital’s skyline.  The American Pelecinid is the only North American species in the genus and family, and it does range as far south as Argentina.  It resembles no other insect, so our identification of your silhouette should be undisputed.  It shows the female wasp, who uses her long abdomen to bury her eggs beneath the surface of the ground into the burrows of the grubs of June Beetles that are feeding on the roots of turf and grasses.  Interestingly, according to BugGuide:  “In North American populations, males are rare, and reproduction is apparently largely by parthenogenesis (Brues, 1928). In tropical populations (or species), males are more abundant.

Thanks Daniel, I was with my girlfriend who is a scientist at the National Zoo in DC and she assumed it was a type of wasp but neither of us had ever seen this insect. We appreciate your email. Feel free to post the picture! I will be using your site alot now that I have found it.

Unknown Garden Bug
Location:  Aiken, South Carolina
July 24, 2010 8:39 am
We found these eggs and hatchlings in our vegetable garden.

Squash Bug Eggs

Hi James,
Eggs and hatchlings are often very difficult to identify properly, but we believe these hatchlings look like Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae.  We thought Squash Bugs in the genus
Anasa seemed a likely candidate, so we checked out that possibility on BugGuide.  Bingo, the eggs matched an image of Squash Bug Eggs, Anasa tristis, posted on BugGuide. BugGuide has nice images of the life cycle of the Squash Bug, and the following information may be of interest to you:  “Hosts on most species/varieties of cucurbits (plants in the squash family) but prefers to lay eggs on pumpkin and squash” and “This is the most injurious species of coreid in Florida (3)  Injects a toxic saliva into plants, causing wilting and blackening of leaves. Can also act as vector of cucurbit yellow vine disease, which kills plants.

Squash Bug Hatchlings

Long Haired June Beetle
Location:  near Lynden, WA – northwest WA
July 23, 2010 11:44 pm
When we found this bug last night and didn’t know what it was, we came first to your site. Didn’t see any pictures of this, but maybe we missed some?
Seems to be a Long Haired June Beetle.
We’ve never seen this kind of bug in our area before – we live in the NW corner of Washington state. Are they native here? Or is this fellow lost?!
He can really grip with his poky little feet, and makes a hissing sound when he’s agitated.
”Herding Grasshoppers” Mama

Ten Lined June Beetle

Dear “Herding Grasshoppers” Mama,
We are quite intrigued by your signature, and we can’t help but wonder what the “Herding Grasshoppers” refers to.  We were also troubled that you were unable to locate any images of other Ten Lined June Beetles,
Polyphylla decemlineata, on our website, so we did a little check.  Since you identified this as a June Beetle in the subfamily Melolonthinae, we used our website search feature to hunt for June Beetles.  The first page of possibilities included two images of Ten Lined June Beetles.  We estimate that there are probably close to fifty images of this species on our site as it is found in most of the Western States and the Northwest portions of Canada as well.  The hissing noise you heard is produced by rubbing together of body parts and the sound is known as stridulation, a term that is defined on BugGuide.  We are especially fond of your image of this Ten Lined June Beetle taking flight since the photo clearly shows the rigid elytra or wing covers as well as the soft and flexible flight wings that are hidden under the hard elytra when the beetle is not in flight.

Ten Lined June Beetle in flight

Ahhh!  Many thanks!
I was searching under the wrong (scientific… or not) name.  That’s what I get for looking late at night :b
Isn’t “he” an interesting creature?  We were fairly surprised that such a big, heavy bug could fly.  We were wondering, further, if it’s okay to release him in western (coastal) Washington, or is he only native to the drier eastern part of our state?
And, btw, the name “Herding Grasshoppers” actually refers to my boys, not to bugs, although they all love bugs and frequently capture, observe, and release them.  “Herding Grasshoppers” – or trying to – is what parenting a bunch of energetic boys can often feel like 😀
We love poking around your site and thank you for your gracious (and patient) help,
Julie – “Herding Grasshoppers” Mama

HI again Julie,
One of our coworkers refers to keeping track of students as trying to “herd cats” so we figured the grasshopper reference was similar.  Your Ten Lined June Beetle is native to the coast as well as inland, so you are fine releasing it.

Laughing at the ‘herding cats’ – I certainly understand!
Again, from this mom and homeschooler, many thanks for the great resource you’ve created.

huge outer space bug
Location:  Austin Texas at Lake Travis
July 23, 2010 12:11 pm
I need help… while camping in Texas we came across this huge grass hopper type bug with packs on it’s back, weird mouth, legs and everything else…. I just got to find out…
Bug Quest

Greater Arid Land Katydid

Dear Bug Quest,
This Greater Arid Land Katydid,
Neobarrettia spinosa, is in the same order as a Grasshopper, Orthoptera, but then their taxonomies diverge.  Katydids are Long Horned Orthopterans in the suborder Ensifera and the family Tettigoniidae.  The Spiny Predatory Katydids in the genus Neobarrettia are “voraciously omnivorous” according to BugGuide, which also indicates:  “When approached, said to sometimes threaten and attack, may bite and draw blood.”  We are rather fond of the less commonly used but colorfully descriptive name Red Eyed Devil.

Bug from the End Times
Location:  Bend, Central Oregon
July 23, 2010 5:07 pm
Good afternoon Bugman! I have enjoyed your site thoroughly for some time and thought of you when I began being plagued by these bugs. I live in Bend, OR and we have had tons of these creepy looking flies around lately (July-ish). They are about 1/2”, maybe a bit longer, and seem to especially be prevalent on hot, dry days. They look like something from the end times, and my first inclination is to kill them. Especially when they land on myself or my infant. (They give me the evil eye- I’m assuming they’re doing the same to the bubs.) However, before declaring war, I want to know what they are. (After scouring your site, I’m guessing maybe a Robber fly???) Whenever I look up flies in Central Oregon I get a lot of pictures of fly fishing. Not helpful. What are these evil looking bugs, and are they harmful? Should I interrupt the bug-lovemaking in the future to decrease their population?
Thanks for your time and help!

Mating Robber Flies

Dear Bugged,
You are correct that these are Robber Flies in the family Asilidae, and it appears the pair in one of your photos is mating.  We would recommend that you learn to tolerate them.  Whatever small annoyance they bring you is probably greatly outweighed by the advantage of having them prey upon undesirable flying insects, like mosquitoes and disease carrying flies.  We don’t believe we will be able to provide you with a species name, or even a genus name, because there is not enough detail in your images, and Robber Flies can be somewhat difficult for us to properly identify even under the best of conditions.

Robber Fly

Thanks for your help! I will leave them be in the future, and perhaps not be so freaked out by them now that I know what they are! You will be happy to know I rescued one just earlier today from the bub’s wading pool where I’m assuming it stopped by for a drink. Or perhaps a refreshing swim.
Next time one lands on me, I will be sure to thank them for controlling the fly and mosquito population in my area.
And thanks for the time and effort you put into the website. Over the years I’ve developed an unhealthy interest in studying spiders, and your site has helped me learn to appreciate even more bugs. They really are pretty cool when it comes down to it.

Thanks for the update.  We would like to add a precaution to our earlier response.  You most likely have nothing to fear should a Robber Fly land on you, but swatting them may cause them to bite.  You should exercise caution when trying to handle any predatory species.  Should you be bitten, though, there is no cause for alarm as Robber Flies do not have venom.