From the monthly archives: "May 2011"

Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
May 28, 2011 9:40 pm
Hello! I was digging a garden, and about 8 inches underground I found this guy. He is about the size of a nickel (U.S.). I have been searching to try to figure out what he is, but no luck yet!! Thank you!!
Signature: Stacy

Cicada Nymph

Oh yeah, some more info on the bug that I found. He seems to lay on his back a lot. When we took him out, it seemed like he didn’t know how to walk. After about half an hour, he slowly started to walk backwards. He has underdeveloped wings, and his eyes have tiny, tiny black spots in them–like pupils (sometimes I feel like he’s looking at me). Right now he is laying on his back, using his legs to move around the jar. There was no other insects around the spot where I dug him up, or eggs or anything of the sort. He was just there all alone. I hope some of this helps!! Thank you again!!!
Stacy Belanger

Cicada Nymph

Hi Stacy,
This is an immature Cicada.  Cicada Nymphs live underground and feed off of fluids in plant roots.  They are clumsy above ground.  Upon nearing completion of their lengthy underground existence, they burrow to the surface and metamorphose into winged adults.  We often get photos of the shed skins or exuvia, but we rarely get photos of living nymphs that have been unearthed.

what is this?
Location: texas around san antonio
May 28, 2011 2:24 am
I work at sonic in Texas and I keep finding them in the parking lot. I thought maybe it was a cottonwood borer but there are slight differences between mine and the borer and I don’t want it to possibly be dangerous. can you help?
Signature: Tyler

Cottonwood Borer

Hi Tyler,
You are quite correct that this is a Cottonwood Borer.

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness CA
Location: Las Trampas Regional Wilderness San Ramon CA
May 29, 2011 11:10 am
Yesterday afternoon on a lovely hike at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in San Ramon CA we happened upon a beautiful butterfly perched atop a thistle.
I’ve combed my Laws Field guide and did several searches onilne with no luck. Any guidance you can provide is greatly appreciated!
I took two photos one of the top and I found another on the other side of the trail where I was able to photograph the underside. Thank you!!!
Signature: Cheers! Andie

Variable Checkerspot

Dear Andie,
Your photographs arrived at a very interesting time.  Just yesterday we did a powerpoint slide presentation of Southern California insects at the Theodore Payne Foundation, and there were some gaps in the species represented in our images.  We had no photos of Checkerspots from California, and we believe your photo represents a Variable Checkerspot,
Euphydryas chalcedona.  We used Jeffrey Glassberg’s book, Butterflies Through Binoculars, The West (see Amazon) for the identification, and we strongly recommend it as a choice book for people who want to identify butterflies in western North America.  As the common name implies, there is variability in the coloration and markings.  Most individuals have three bright orange patches on the leading surface of the forewings, which your individual lacks.  There is a matching photo in Glassberg’s book that is listed as being from San Mateo County.  Your sighting was in nearby Contra Costa County.  In your individual and in the one illustrated in the book, the bright orange patches are black.  This is undoubtedly a regional variation.  Since this information is not available online to our knowledge, we are going to quote liberally from Glassberg’s book:  “Extremely variable.  Varies from primarily red-orange above, to primarily black, to very white and everything in between.  … Many, but ot all, populations of Variable Checkerspots have at least some white spots on the abdomen, set off-center.  … Many, but not all populations of Variable Checkerspots have luminous yellow antennal cluts, with little if any black at their base.  … Habitat:  Many open situations, including mountain meadows, desert canyons and high elevation barrens.  Abundance:  C-A.  March-May in southern California.  , southeastern Arizona – southwestern New Mexico (hermosa);  mainly May-July elsewhere.  Food:  Beardtongues, Indian Paintbrushes, snowberries (colon) , and others.”  You may view BugGuide for additional images of the Variable Checkerspot.  Thank you for supplying our archive with your excellent images of an underrepresented species.

Variable Checkerspot

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for your quick reply and for the information provided as well as the BugGuide website (which is now bookmarked). I’m super excited to have managed a photograph of such an underrepresented species! What luck! My husband is the one with the phenomenal sighting and I am ever grateful to my recent mother’s day present “Big Betty” and her amazing zoom lens!
I’m so happy to supply your archive! I clicked the link for your FB page as well so I’ll be happy to post there too. Yay nature!!!
All the best,

Dear Andie,
Your enthusiasm is positively infectious.


Noone can recognize these…
Location: Southern NH. Pond
May 28, 2011 9:43 pm
I went swimming in a pond a few days ago and after our day was coming to an end, we started noticing these ugly bugs in the water. After paying attention there were quite a few of them. We collected some to take pictures but they didnt come out perfect. Do these bite? Cause they look like that have lil pinchers on the back end.
Signature: *CuriousInNH*

Dragonfly Naiads

Dear *CuriousInNH*,
Despite the poor quality of your image, it is easy to identify these Dragonfly Naiads.  Immature Dragonflies are aquatic predators.  We don’t believe they are capable of biting a human.

Location: Singapore
May 29, 2011 12:19 am
Please help to idenditfy these 2 beetles.
Is the beetle in pic 1 a Cicindelidae
( Tiger Beetle )?
The beetle shown in pic 2 & 3 has two humps on its neck. What is it?
Thanks & regards
Signature: Lance

Tiger Beetle:  Neocollyris celebensis

Hi Lance,
We agree that the green beetle does seem to resemble the Tiger Beetles in the subfamily Cicindelidae.  Furthermore, we believe the two beetles you have submitted have many similarities and they may be closely related.  Hopefully our readership may be able to contribute a more specific identification.

Possibly a Darkling Beetle

Update:  April 8, 2013
We have been advised through comments that neither beetle is likely a Tiger Beetle.  The second photo has been tentatively identified as a Darkling Beetle in the genus
 Strongylium, thanks to a comment from David who has an image posted on FlickR.

Update:  December 1, 2013
A comment from David Moh just arrived and we agree that the upper image appears to be the Tiger Beetle
Neocollyris celebensis, which is pictured on Southeast Asian Beetles.


Big Cacoon
Location: Southren WI
May 29, 2011 9:35 am
My Daughter found this in the woods behind our house (southren WI). She is a bug nut and asked me what it was. We have looked in several books but can’t figure it out. Its alive and moving and the topic of all talk at our house. We would love to know what it is.
Signature: Michael Roehl

Royal Moth Pupa

Dear Michael,
This is definitely a Moth Pupa and it is a large moth.  We do not believe it is a Sphinx Moth Pupa, though they bury themselves underground to pupate.  We are more inclined to identify this as a Giant Silkmoth Pupa, more specifically a Royal Moth Pupa in the subfamily Ceratocampinae, possibly an Imperial Moth or a Regal Moth.  Here is a matching photo of an unidentified Royal Moth pupa from BugGuide for comparison.  Here is a photo of an Imperial Moth Pupa from BugGuide and here is a photo of a Regal Moth Pupa from BugGuide.  You can see the similarities, though our inclination is to favor the Imperial Moth.  We love your photograph, especially the thoughtfulness of having the model change into an insect themed wardrobe.

Thanks so much for taking the time to help us out. My daughter is thrilled, who new you could have so much fun with a pupa. We have it in a “Critter Cage” if it hatches sucsessfully I will send you a picture.