From the monthly archives: "February 2011"

swallowtail caterpillar in hawai’i
Location: Honolulu, HI
February 1, 2011 10:33 pm
Can you tell me what kind of swallowtail this is?
Found them on my tangelo…
Signature: local boy

Chinese Yellow Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear local boy,
We did a web search and found that the Chinese Yellow Swallowtail,
Papilio xuthus, is well documented in Hawaii based on the Butterflies of Hawaii website.  The image of the caterpillar on the Chinese Yellow Swallowtail pictured on the Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias website matches your specimen.

Wow, that was super-quick!
Mahalo nui Daniel!  Me and my kids love the website–mahalo for your labor of love.

Interesting bug with a very small head
Location: Singapore, tropical
February 2, 2011 1:58 am
Got this bug from the nature reserve in Singapore, a tropical island country. It has a very small head and a long ?nose.
Please kindly advise the name of it.
Signature: Photoskipper

Bloodsucking Conenose, we believe

Dear Photoskipper,
This is an Assassin Bug in the family Reduviidae, and it sure looks like the North American Bloodsucking Conenose Bugs in the genus
Triatoma.  According to BugGuide, the genus Triatoma is “Pantropical worldwide. BugGuide also notes that the Blood Sucking Conenoses are:  “Hematophagous, feeding on blood from tetrapods. Most common hosts are mammalian but avian, reptilian and amphibian hosts are recorded. The most common wild hosts are wood rats (Neotoma) but other common ones include armadillos, opossums and raccoons (possibly also skunks); synanthropic species may feed on livestock (horses, cattle, chickens), pets and humans.” South American Conenoses are vectors for a disease known as Chagas Disease and BugGuide contains this remark:  “Bite can cause severe allergic reaction in many humans. Bite and defecation into bite can transmit Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan. The most notorious vector is T. infestans, found in South America. The North American species are not normally thought to transmit the disease, though they can carry the parasite. The North American species do not normally defecate at the site of the bite, which is what actually transmits the parasite.”  This ECLAT website lists several Asian species.  Bloodsucking Conenose Bugs are also known as Kissing Bugs because the nocturnal insects are alleged to bite human victims near the lips according to Charles Hogue in his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin.

Bloodsucking Conenose, we believe

jelly bean sized grey bug
Location: Encinitas, California
January 31, 2011 5:44 pm
Dear Bugman,
I found our jelly bean friend while walking my dog, brought it home for a few photos and returned it to where I found it. It is about the size of a jelly bean, has a flexible exoskeleton with what appears to be small holes and shifting indents on its back.
What is this bug!?
Signature: curiousjae


Hi curiousjae,
We knew just by your subject line that you had found a blood engorged Tick, but alas, we do not possess the necessary skills to classify this Tick to the species level.  We believe the correct answer can be found on BugGuide.  Is there an Acarologist out there who can provide the correct answer as well as the identifying traits?

Fuzzy Caterpillar
Location: Arcadia, FL
February 1, 2011 8:43 am
My very curious and observant 2nd grade students found this caterpillar rolled up in a ball in the grass in our school yard on January 31. We are in Nocatee FL, just outside of Arcadia FL. (Southwest FL but more inland) He reminds me of a wooly bear but without the banding. I can’t find any photos online that look quite like him. They are all either too hairy, too orange, etc. We put some oak leaves/branches in our butterfly habitat with him but he doesn’t seem to be eating. I need to know what he eats! Also if he is some sort of tiger moth then everything I read says they will be in a pupa for most of spring/summer – would be good to know so we are not waiting endlessly for something to happen. Just wondering what you can tell me… THANK YOU!!!
Signature: Mrs. Maiolo’s 2nd Grade Class

Salt Marsh Caterpillar

Dear Mrs. Maiolo’s 2nd Grade Class,
There is a reason this Salt Marsh Caterpillar,
Estigmene acrea, reminds you of a Woolly Bear.  Both species are in the Tiger Moth tribe Arctiini.  BugGuide provides this information:  “Larvae feed on a wide variety of mainly weedy plants including pigweed (Amaranthus spp.), anglepod (Gonolobus spp.), Sicklepod (Cassia tora), Dog Fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), ground cherry (Physalis spp.), and mallow (Anoda spp.), plus crops such as alfalfa, asparagus, bean, beet, cabbage, carrot, celery, clover, corn, cotton, lettuce, onion, pea, potato, soybean, sugarbeet, tobacco, tomato, and turnip. On rare occasions, they also feed on leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs: alder, apple, cherry, elderberry, pear, poplar, and serviceberry, according to Handfield.”   BugGuide also indicates:  “Adults fly from May to September. Adults fly year round in Texas”  and we expect the year round flight may also apply to Florida.  If your caterpillar is getting ready to pupate, it will cease eating.

Thank you! I did go outside today and pick some various weeds, etc and he was munching a bit.
(Then, my kids came in with what appears to be a Silk Moth today… oh boy… and it started laying eggs in our butterfly habitat! So that is another adventure… never had a class that was so “into” bugs before… these kids are constantly bringing me critters!)
Thanks again for your help!

February 3, 2011
Sorry to keep bugging you (no pun intended), but thought you might like to add this photo to the caterpillar entry… it made a cocoon today! So, now we wait!…..

Salt Marsh Moth Cocoon

Thanks for the update.  Like many Woolly Bears, the Salt Marsh Caterpillar incorporates its hairs into the spinning of its cocoon.

what kind of moth?
Location: Silverado, California
February 1, 2011 12:07 am
Hi, my niece snapped this pretty moth today at her barn. Wondering what type of moth it is so we can further study it.
Signature: Sandy

Ceanothus Silkmoth

Dear Sandy,
This lovely moth is a Ceanothus Silkmoth.  The caterpillars feed upon the leaves of the California Lilac or Ceanothus, and despite planting several of these pretty native shrubs in the garden, we have been unable to lure the Ceanothus Silkmoth to our Mt Washington, Los Angeles offices.

Unknown Tasmanian Tick
Location: Tasmania, Australia
February 1, 2011 8:47 am
Hello, I found this in my house, and was at first very puzzled by it. Looking at it now I think it must be some sort of tick, but I hope it’s not dangerous. I would be very grateful if you could help me. Thank you.
Signature: Joseph Vince

Tick or Mite???

Dear Joseph,
You are correct.  This is a Tick.  Ticks are blood suckers and there are many blood born pathogens, so Ticks are vectors for many viral diseases.  We cannot say for certain that this Tick is dangerous, but we would urge you to use caution where Ticks are concerned.