From the monthly archives: "May 2011"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this!?
Location: Chichester, England
May 30, 2011 6:10 am
Hi, I am writing to you from Chichester, England. I was out last night and spotted this on the high street, do you know what it is!?
Signature: Thanks, Gordon Frew

Male Stag Beetle

Hi Gordon,
This magnificent beetle is a Male Stag Beetle,
Lucanus cervus.  According to the Natural England website:  “This species is now rare and declining in Europe.”  The website also provides this tip:  “In a recent survey of the species, 70% of sightings came from domestic gardens. You can provide a habitat for stag beetles and other dead wood insects by making a pile of logs, ideally with bark on them, placed upright in partial shade and sunk partially into the ground, with plants growing over them to retain humidity they need.”  The UK Safari website has nice information and photos on the life cycle of the Stag Beetle including these special features:  “This is the largest beetle found in Britain, and now sadly, quite rare.  The most noticeable feature of the male are the large antler-like jaws, which give the beetle its name.  They are used during the mating season to fight with other males over territory. Each male tries to grab his opponent between his jaws, and then throw him.  The fully grown male stag beetles can normally be seen flying at dusk between May and August. The warmer temperatures at this time of year encourage them to look for a mate. They will drink tree sap, but do not eat, and will not grow at all. After mating the stag beetle dies.”  You may also be interested in this article on attracting Stag Beetles with ginger from the BBC website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

found this while camping
Location: North eastern PA in woods
May 29, 2011 5:36 pm
Hi, we found this bug at Promised Land State Park in PA. It was a moist morning and our neighbor found it on the cabin porch. He took a stick and was going to move it when it crawled on the stick but the darn thing started to fight with the stick!!
It was about 3-4” long and later when I tried to move it, it backed straight back like an inch worm goes forward.
Can you identify this critter?? thank you very much
Signature: Sue Sacks

Hellgrammite

Dear Sue,
We have no shortage of images and information on Hellgrammites on our website, and we hope you will do additional research using our excellent search engine since that will provide you with some specifics on this fascinating larval form of the Dobsonfly.  We love your observation regarding the Hellgrammite defending itself against the stick.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Fly-like insect with black lacy wings&gold head or throat
Location: western Pennsylvania (Armstrong County)
May 29, 2011 11:41 pm
I have a photo of 2 insects copulating (at least ( believe that’s what they were doing) in the grass at Crooked Creek Lake/Dam/Park in Armstrong County in western Pennsylvania. I cannot find them in 2 insect books I have and have posted the photo on an About.com Insect forum. I have watched dragonflies and damselflies, and other insects while birding but have never seen this particular insect.
Signature: Thanks from a birder/nature lover

Mating Golden Backed Snipe Flies

Dear birder/nature lover,
Despite the blurriness of your image, these are unmistakably Golden Backed Snipe Flies,
Chrysopilus thoracicus, and they are in fact “In Flagrante Delicto”.  They were our Bug of the Month in June 2009.  They fly in late spring.

Thank you, thank you, Daniel (Bugman extraordinaire).  I have become almost as interested in insects as I was in birds and critters.  I appreciate your ability to identify the flies in my poor “but idable” photo.  I have photos of other insects I was able to id such as the 6-spotted Tiger Beetle some people misrepresent as the deadly Ash Borer and once while birding up near Punxatawney, PA on the Shadow Mahoning Trail a few of us were awed while watching a Giant Ichneumon Wasp fly around us (looking for a log to lay her eggs on no doubt) and none of us had a camera!!!
Marge from Armstrong County, Pa’

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpillar
Location: San Fernando Valley, CA
May 29, 2011 7:28 pm
My niece & I found this guy crawling around our porch. We can’t figure out what it is and would like to know what it eats as well.
Signature: KA

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Dear KA,
We have seen numerous adult Mourning Cloak butterflies this spring.  They are medium sized dark butterflies with irregular pale yellow wing edges.  It makes sense that with numerous adults, there will be a population explosion of Mourning Cloak Caterpillars like yours.  They feed on Chinese Elm, though originally they fed on the native willow that grows along the water in riparian habitats.

Thank you so much for the immediate response. Hopefully we can see it turn into a butterfly soon 🙂

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Flat oval brown/grey with white margin larva on elm in NH
Location: Concord, NH
May 29, 2011 1:19 am
Just discovered several 6 to 8 millimeter flat oval larva in clusters on young Elm tree in Concord, NH. We believe ants have been farming aphids on this tree in the past and we expect they are at it again. When I scraped the clusters they are soft and become an orange-red ink like (blood colored?) mass. They seem to have collected at regions where the bark is splitting as the tree grows and at sites of pruning last fall. One photo shows how they appear to have a fuzzy white margin.
Signature: Planting Trees for Shade.

Scale on Elm

Of the European Elm Scale, Gossyparia spuria, BugGuide indicates:  “Sap-sucking can cause stunted, chlorotic foliage, premature leaf drop and branch dieback. Associated black sooty mold growth from honeydew secretions on tops of branches gives trees an overall black appearance. Honeydew secretions are also a common nuisance to cars parked under infested elms.
Introduced from Europe.”  It seems the European Elm Scale is an Invasive Exotic species.

European Elm Scale

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what the hell is this?!?!?!
Location: so cal
May 28, 2011 1:10 am
what the hell is this?!?!?!
Signature: dave

Wind Scorpion

predatory and harmless Solifugid

Doesn’t look harmless….. Lol

Well, not at all harmless if one is a Cockroach.  A Solifugid will keep your kitchen free of Cockroaches and most other things you might not want there.

good to know, thank you very much for your help!!!

Ed. Note
We are only able to post a small percentage of the identification requests we receive, though we do provide short responses like this example to as many requests as time will allow.  Occasionally the dialog that results from our short response gives cause to post the identification request on our site, like this example.  Closer inspection of the photograph indicates that there is debris covering this Solifugid, which leads us to believe it may have succumbed to Unnecessary Carnage.  We hope our further clarification has ensured the survival of any future Solifugids that Dave encounters.

now i feel bad for smashing the little guy 🙁 next time i run into one of them, they’ll be relocated outside to eat all the other bugs around the house.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination