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

Meet at the Red Barn in Elyria Canyon Park at 9:30 AM.

From Left: Clare, Elizabeth, Jerry, Monique, Mark, Julia and Julia with her dog on a leash.

The Coyote Melon is a squash plant that has taken root in the meadow near the big dead walnut tree, and it is beginning to set fruit.  This sprawling plant is a native and it can be found wild on the hill on a winding hairpin curve above La Abeja restaurant on the East Side of Mt Washington in the Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood.

Coyote Melon Plant

We expect native bees are pollinating the blossoms and perhaps getting trapped inside when the blossoms close.

Coyote Melon Blossoms

For more information on the Coyote Melon or Coyote Gourd, Cucurbita palmata, visit Cold Splinters.  There are some beautiful photos on Northern California Flora.

Two unripe Coyote Melons

Update:  September 25, 2011
Due to a very low turnout of volunteers and the absence of one of the cohosts, the work party ended a bit early today after plants in the nursery were watered and some Castor Beans and Poison Hemlock were pulled out.




What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Snowball Viburnum Denizens
Location: Trumbull, CT
August 29, 2011 6:58 pm
I tried to look up both of these insects, but I only found one. The first is an ailanthus webworm moth, but I don’t know what the second one is. I occasionally find interesting insects on the snowball viburnum bush in my front yard.
Signature: Chuck

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Dear Chuck,
Congratulations on having successfully identified your Ailanthus Webworm Moth.  Folks of a certain age and those who think flower power was the apex of 20th Century style will likely respond to the repetitious patterns and play on scale evident in this lush photograph.  Your other insect is a Feather Legged Fly,
Trichopoda pennipes, a member of the Tachinid Fly family Tachinidae.  Tachinid Flies have larvae that are internal parasites of other insects, arachnids and certain members of other arthropod orders.  In the case of the Feather Legged Fly, the host insect is a Stink Bug.  Here is the BugGuide page on this species.

Flower Fly on Snowball Viburnum

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large Wasp/Hornet – Demise of elm
August 29, 2011  3:44 PM
Dear What’s That Bug,
(I have tried to use the online submission page but was not working very well.  I have a new ID request.)
I have (had, I should say) a “Liberty” Elm tree planted in the yard of the office. In the past two weeks, the tree has folded and has almost given up the ghost.  Since it has a few green leaves left, I will wait till it is finished before I do the autopsy. The insects are having a field day on the tree literately sucking the life out of the tree.  The ants were first to the party but now it has broken out into a  veritable sugar stick attracting all of the resident insect populations.  The giant wasp/hornet was in the 2in+ category and not very aggressive.  I am thinking European Hornet. What does the “What’s that Bug” crew have to say?  Did the hornets cause the holes?  And for bonus points, can someone tell me what is the most likely cause of death of the poor elm?
Thank you,
Jim Kirkland
University of Illinois
Illinois Forest Resource Center
R.R. 1, Box 255
Simpson, IL  62985

Cicada Killer drinks sap from a compromised Elm Tree

Hi Jim,
This has to be one of the most cheerful photos we have ever received of a Cicada Killer.  Even the photos of Cicada Killers with Cicadas are about the Cicada Killer providing for her brood, or in a sense, doing housework.  Here she is just taking a break and enjoying a sweet and nutritious drink.  With enough sugar in her, she will be able to hunt Cicadas for a long time.  We don’t know what is wrong with your elm tree, but we suspect it involves boring larvae, either Pigeon Horntails or Buprestidswe imagine.  Because we don’t know what is eating the trees, we will tag this as a mystery.   Your declining Elm tree is a marvelous study of the web of life that will surround it as it dies.  If you send us future updates, please continue to use the title Demise of Elm.

What's Eating the Elm Tree

Dear Daniel,  Thank you for the reminder, I am sure that at one time I knew that info.  Yes, the scavangers are doing their work, making sure that nothing goes to waste.  The ants were the first, now the party is very interracial and everyone is enjoying the sweet wine at the elm table.  Skippers, ants, wasps and bees, they are all enjoying the sweet smell of demise.  I especially enjoyed your description of a “cheerful” cicada Killer”! Every cicada killer is partying hard this year (especially since this is the year of majicicada emergence). They have  been drunk since the beginning of May when the singing began! This is their party your of good fortune!
Thanks, Jim Kirkland

Hi again Jim,
Since the
Magicicada species emerge periodically in prodigious numbers, they contribute a great deal to the food chain, however, they also emerge in late May and early June, significantly earlier than Cicada Killers, so we don’t believe Cicada Killers benefit from the various broods of 13 Year and 17 Year Cicadas.  That bounty benefits predators that are not species specific in their preferences.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Fly? Wasp?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
August 29, 2011 11:51 am
Hi, I think this is a fly but haven’t yet seen antennae like this. Can you help? Sorry the pictures are a bit blurry. (It’s yet another curious bug to land on the Sea Holly we planted earlier this spring.)
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Syrphid Fly

Goodness, Gracious Anna,
You are ground zero for Syrphid Fly diversity.  Syrphid Flies in the family Syrphidae are commonly called Hover Flies or Flower Flies.  Both names are descriptive.  It looks like it might be in the genus
Monoceromyia, as it shares so many physical traits with what the photographer calls the Mystery Mimic Fly, Monoceromyia floridensis, a Florida species that is pictured on BugGuide.

Flower Fly

Your Flower Fly really has interesting antennae.  It is also a magnificent wasp mimic with that thread waist.  We may wait until later to identify it to the species level, though we are pretty certain one very similar to it is already in our archives.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large Bug with very large Mandibles
Location: Antsiranana, Northern Madagascar
August 29, 2011 10:36 am
Hi Bugman,
I wonder if you are able to identify the buy in the pictures as it has been puzzling me and my friends for sometime. it is between 1-2 inches long with the mandibles being 1 inch long. It was spotted in the early evening (about 8pm) not far from the sea in a remote location in the bay of Diego, Northern Madagascar. It was late last November and still in the dry season (towards the end). Any identification would be greatly appreciated.
Yours Hopefully
Signature: Regards

King Cricket

Hi Richard,
If you were in New Zealand, this would be a Weta, and if you were in South Africa, it would be a Parktown Prawn.  The close relatives in Madagascar are simply called King Crickets and they are in the family Anostostomatidae.  Here is a photo on Flickriver for comparison.  We believe the larger mandibles on your specimen indicates it is a male.  Here is a very informative website called Wetas Information.

King Cricket

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for your rapid and informative response much appreciated. I have seen Wetas in NZ but never drew the comparison. The picture of the King Cricket confirms it for me.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cyclops!? Unicorn!?
Location: Google Maps: -23.436464,-46.746075, no Street View at this location
August 29, 2011 5:57 am
Hi, Bugman, it’s my first entry!
Hey, man I shot some little bugs with a single horn and a something that of course it’s not, but seems to be one single eye.
We can see the abdomen and the true eyes of the cute green immature ones, and they seem to be a cicada with a horn on the back. But the adults have the wings grown so we cannot see they’re body.
They’re brown and seem to be a protuberance in the plant. The ants seem to be atracted by them, but they can not or don’t want to do anything to them. They’re parasiting a bean-like plant we call it ”FEIJÃO ANDU”. They’re abble to jump-and-fly like a gunshot, but they prefer to be immoble all the time. Sorry for the bad english.
Signature: Cesar Crash (Brazil)

Treehoppers and Symbiotic Ants

Hi Cesar,
These are Treehoppers in the family Membracidae, and they are categorized with Cicadas in the superfamily Cicadoidea.  They exude a substance called honeydew that attracts the ants.  If Treehoppers are numerous, their feeding habit of sucking plant nutrients can be injurious to the host.  It is also possible that they might spread a viral disease to the plant host.



What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination