From the monthly archives: "July 2011"

Help with bug I.D., please
Location: Quebec, Canada
July 29, 2011 12:54 pm
This little fellow joined me on my lounger as I was enjoying the beach. Would you be able to tell me what it is?
Signature: buggy-eyed

Unknown Robber Fly

Dear buggy-eyed,
Can you please provide us with an approximate size since “little” is quite relative.  At first, upon viewing the head on view, we were convinced this was a Hanging Thief, a species of Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, however, upon seeing the view from the rear, we have our doubts.  This Robber Fly most closely resembles a species in the genus Saropogon, however, BugGuide only has sightings in the Southwest, and we cannot locate any information if that species is found in Canada.  You can compare your fly with images posted on BugGuide.  Here is the online key to the genus Saropogon, but alas, ranges of different species are not included.  We will contact Eric Eaton for his opinion, and we might try to elicit assistance from other experts, Dr Robert Cannings and Eric Fisher.

Unknown Robber Fly

Thank you for your help. This robber fly was about 1-1.5″ long. It does look like the Saropogon luteus.

Dr. Robert Cannings responds
September 22, 2011
Hi Daniel:
Sorry for the long, long delay. I think this is Diogmites basalis, the only Diogmites that occurs in Canada, as far as I know. As you suggest, no Saropogon species comes close to Canada, especially in the East.

Could u help me with this bug please?
Location: Bradstown ky
July 29, 2011 11:49 am
My friend found this caterpillar by the creek in our back yard. The closets thing i can find in your section is the Hickory Horned Devil? I am going to try to keep it and watch it transform but need to know what it is and how to take care of it.
Signature: Sue

Pre-Pupal Hickory Horned Devil

Hi Sue,
You are correct.  This is a Hickory Horned Devil, and it is pre-pupal, meaning it is about to pupate.  Hickory Horned Devils pupate underground.  For some reason, this individual did not bury itself.  You can put it in a container with loose earth and lightly bury it.  You will need to keep it from drying out, but the earth should not get soggy.  An adult moth should emerge next June or July.  You should keep it in a sheltered place over the winter that does not get too warm, like an unheated porch or garage.

Whats this monster?
Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
July 29, 2011 4:19 pm
Hey Bugman,
Dropping a line from the great white north in hopes you can help a bunch of us figure out what this giant moth ( I think anyways) is. It appeared 2 days ago on a bay door of our dealership and has only gone from the wall to the ground. Checking in on it regularly I managed to snap a couple photos. It has since moved on to locations unknown departing on what I believe may have been its maiden flight … Looks very interesting and just curious to what it actually was
Thanks a bunch
Signature: Crazy Canuck

Pandora Sphinx

Dear Crazy Canuck,
Because of their manner of flight, Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae are frequently mistaken for hummingbirds.  This is a Pandora Sphinx.

pics I sent a couple days ago
Location: Strong City, Kansas
July 29, 2011 2:04 pm
Well, whaddya know. I dumped the pool, but had a few specimens in a cup in the house which I had collected so I could photograph them. 2 days later their little skins are floating limp in the water, while 3 sweet little baby mosquitos are on the side of the cup, patiently waiting for someone to open it and set them free. They have white stripes on their legs. As larvae, they looked so different from the mosquito larvae I know that I thought they were something else. Anyway, thanks for all the stuff you do.
Signature: prairiecricket

Tumbler: Mosquito Pupa

Dear prairiecricket,
Mosquito Larvae are frequently called Wrigglers, and the Pupae are called Tumblers because of the manner in which they move through water.  This is a Tumbler or Mosquito Pupa, which may explain why it looks different from the Mosquito Larvae you are familiar with.  Based on your description and location, your Mosquitoes may have been Asian Tiger Mosquitoes,
Aedes albopictus, which you may view on BugGuide.

Location:  Hawthorne, CA
July 29, 2011
Thank you so much for your time and for the compliment.  High praise, indeed.  Coincidentally, another of the very  bug that led me to your website back in 2008 appeared today as I was harvesting tomatoes.  It’s my Mallophora fautrix and it had a nice juicy wasp for lunch.

Bee Killer eats Wasp

Hi again Anna,
These truly are spectacular Robber Flies, and they deserve the common name of Bee Killers.

Bee Killer eats Wasp


Robber Fly eats Deer Fly
Location: Clarksburg, MA
July 29, 2011 9:18 am
This is not the Red-Footed Cannibalfly, but still a very cool bug out here in Western MA! Photos are from July 13. (I’ve pasted my comment/story from the RF Cannibalfly post). Thanks!
True story: so I’m out in my backyard looking for bugs to photograph, when I find this robber fly sitting on a fence rail. I approach with the usual care to get as close as possible, but I am having difficulty because of the summer menace in Western MA known as “DEER FLIES.” The only natural way to keep them off of me (that I’m aware of) is to have my dog by my side because apparently dogs taste better to deer flies — anyway I wasn’t subjecting Molly to that torture, so they are distracting me, buzzing around my head when the robber fly takes off right for me. I first thought I was annoying it and had provoked a warning buzz or something, but then I noticed it had landed not too far from its original parking spot. As I got close again, I saw that it now had lunch: one of the deer flies just buzzing around my head! Talk about my hero! I ended up taking quite a few pictures of it and its prey, which can be tricky because I don’t like to scare off bugs from hard -earned meals (I guess it wasn’t that hard-earned in this case, but still). I thought I had done just that when the robber fly left its prey on the fence, only for it to do another buzz-by and land with another deer fly!
Thusly, all I can say is, robber flies may not be man’s best friend, but they might be a close second. (They also deserve a nomination for dog’s best friend.)
Signature: Michael Marlow

Robber Fly eats Deer Fly

Hi Michael,
Thanks for repeating your story along with photos that illustrate it properly.  Robber Flies are truly amazing predators.

Robber Fly eats Deer Fly