From the monthly archives: "September 2011"

late summer bug party
Location: Silver City NM
September 1, 2011 6:08 pm
These pics are from last year, but the same thing is happening again. On my Navajo globe willow, the green beetles seem to be doing something that attracts the brown butterflies. Also, there’s a funny fuzzy little guy in there too. What is going on? What are these bugs?
Signature: hwecks

Sap Party with Mourning Cloak and Figeater

In England, the butterfly known as the Mourning Cloak in America,  is called the Camberwell Beauty.  The metallic green beetle is a Figeater.  The other creature is the larva of some soft winged beetle.  The tree is oozing sap and that doesn’t seem like a good thing.  The tree may have Borers.  We hope you allow this exciting coeval feast to continue and closely observe the insects that come to the sap.  Setting up night lights will attract moths, and many gorgeous Owlet Moths will be attracted to the luscious liquid diet.  The Mourning Cloak will most likely begin hibernation as winter approaches.  Your winters are likely quite mild, and the Mourning Cloak will not have to survive months of frozen conditions.  This good meal of sugary sap would likely contribute to the survival of Mourning Cloaks in more hostile climates than that in Silver City, New Mexico.  

Thanks for the prompt reply.  I’ll set up lights this weekend.

Do you what type of butterfly this it was on the butterfly bush. The outside wings look like bark and the inside wings had different shades of orange and brown.
Daniel Parsons to bugman
show details 7:21 PM (5 hours ago)
Do you what type of butterfly this it was on the butterfly bush. The outside wings look like bark and the inside wings had different shades of orange and brown.

Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Hi Daniel,
Though we have nothing personal against cellular telephones, we do not care to own one.  We wish Daniel would find a way to make the cell phone submissions utilize our standard form that requires that fields be filled in.  One of our fields is location, and we hate not knowing the location.

Milbert's Tortoiseshell

We have determined it to be Milbert’s Tortoiseshell based on BugGuide images.  Many of the Anglewing Butterflies have the undersides of the wings patterned like wood camouflage.

Green Spider
Location: Montecito Heights
August 31, 2011 8:04 pm
What is this? I’ve never seen one before and it’s in my house!
It’s about an inch and a half. The narrow depth of field in my camera requires that I show you the crazy antenna things and apparent eyes in two different pictures.
Signature: Martha Benedict

Male Green Lynx Spider

Greetings from the other side of the 110 freeway Martha,
Our offices are in Mt Washington, Los Angeles, CA, and though you did not provide a state, we are guessing you might be our neighbor.  This stunning spider is a male Green Lynx spider,
Peucetia viridans.  Green Lynxes do not snare their prey with a web.  They hunt and pounce on insects and other arthropods.  They seem to have a fondness for awaiting on blossoms for pollinating insects and they often gravitate to rose bushes.  A female will eventually mature and once she has mated, lay one or more egg sacs that she fiercely guards.  Green Lynx Spiders are perfectly harmless to humans.  We have taken the liberty of combining the sharp focus components of your individual images so that both the eyes and pedipalps are sharp.  Male spiders have more developed pedipalps than females and they are used during mating.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica online:  “Spiders have six pairs of appendages. The first pair, called the chelicerae, constitute the jaws. Each chelicera ends in a fang containing the opening of a poison gland. The chelicerae move forward and down in the tarantula-like spiders but sideways and together in the rest. The venom ducts pass through the chelicerae, which sometimes also contain the venom glands. The second pair of appendages, the pedipalps, are modified in the males of all adult spiders to carry sperm (see below the section Reproduction and life cycle). In females and immature males, the leglike pedipalps are used to handle food and also function as sense organs. The pedipalpal segment (coxa) attached to the cephalothorax usually is modified to form a structure (endite) that is used in feeding.”  The additional explanation continues:  ” In male spiders the second pair of appendages (pedipalps) are each modified to form a complex structure for both holding sperm and serving as the copulatory organs. When the time for mating approaches, the male constructs a special web called the sperm web. The silk for it comes from two sources, the spinnerets at the end of the abdomen and the spigots of the epigastric silk glands located between the book lungs. A drop of fluid containing sperm is deposited onto the sperm web through an opening (gonopore) located on the underside of the abdomen. The male draws the sperm into his pedipalps in a process known as sperm induction. This may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Sperm induction may occur before a male seeks a mate or after the mate has been located. If more than one mating occurs, the male must refill the pedipalps between copulations. ” 

Male Green Lynx (composite image)

Thank you so much, Daniel! This is way beyond my wildest hopes. Absolutely fascinating!
And yes, we are neighbors across the Arroyo. I forget that you have an international following and I should have been a little more complete.
I will not hesitate to send you photos of all my mystery insects. I have some powerful macro lenses and love to get a good photo. In this case, I didn’t even set up my tripod. Next time! Thanks for compositing the detail shots.
What a thrill!

If we can use our PhotoShop skills to improve the anatomical renderings of our favorite local species of spider, then we will have to overlook the blatant disregard for journalistic journalistic integrity it connotes.  Our biggest defense is that when it was conceived, this website was an art project.  It has really metamorphosed from that remote time in another millennium.