From the monthly archives: "September 2011"

Underwing Moth resting on mossy bark
Location: SE Michigan
September 24, 2011 6:52 pm
Hello, Bugman: Spotted this large underwing moth flying around eratically during the afternoon; was surprised both by it’s size and that it was flying during a sunny afternoon. Not sure which of the many kinds of Underwings this one is, but it was about 2.5 inches across. It landed on a tree, hoping to ”blend-in” with it’s cryptic patterning. I was able to get 2 nice close-ups, before it fluttered away. Thought you might like to add this shot to your Underwing info.
Signature: Chris O.


Hi Chris,
Thanks so much for sending your photo of an Underwing Moth.  We posted another photo earlier today and we wrote about the camouflage ability of the Underwing Moths.  Though your mossy trunk does not effectively hide this individual, our readers should be able to imagine it blending in on a lighter barked tree.  While we don’t believe the Underwing has the ability to choose a tree that will effectively hide it, we do believe that those moths that blend into the trees in a specific area will survive and then subsequently pass on the traits that determine their coloration to their offspring.  Your description of the Underwing flying during daylight hours is very accurate.

Identification request
Location: Guatemala (Jocotenango, Sacatepéquez)
September 23, 2011 2:13 pm
Dear Mr Bugman:
I am currently volunteering in a combined elemntary & secondary school in Guatemala. Some of our fifth graders found this beauty in the garden. They’d love to turn it into a science project to see it become a butterfly, but I have my doubts that it will accept a jar as proper place for pupation. But I’m getting ahead of myself, since we don’t even know what it is yet.
Thanks for your help & keep up the great work!
Signature: Regards, Reinhard Prosch

Fig Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Reinhard,
Your caterpillar is that of a Fig Sphinx,
Pachylia ficus.  The Fig Sphinx is a large Hawkmoth, not a butterfly.  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website:  “Larvae pupate in cocoons spun amongst leaf litter.”

Big red bugs crawl out of tiny blue/black bugs!
Location: Douglas, southeast Arizona
September 23, 2011 2:12 pm
Howdy, I’ve gotten lots of rolling eyes, and shouts of ”that’s impossible!” when I try to tell people about these bugs. Long story short: maybe 2 years ago, I was taking photos of this group of tiny, shiny-bodied blue/black bugs that had been crawling on my fence. I noticed they were slowing down and eventually came to a stop, in different places. Next thing I knew, this red head and body starting coming out of the body of one of the tiny bug!! Could not believe what I was seeing! The size difference, and the fact that the tiny bugs were mobile just a few minutes earlier, creeped me out. So, of course, I got off a few shots…have absolutely no idea why I didn’t take more. I know a couple came out blurry.
I’ve seen these tiny bugs this year in my garden, but they disappeared before I could collect some to see if they would pull an ”Alien” for me and my camera this time:)
I didn’t know what size the pics should be…they were sent in jpeg; let me know if that needs changing. I hope this is a really rare, but known, sight so I can know I was truly seeing what I thought I was seeing. Thanks! Love your site!
Signature: Lori – Arizona

Bordered Plant Bug Nymphs

Hi Lori,
What you witnessed is amazing, but not at all unusual or rare.  You witnessed insect metamorphosis.  We believe the blue-black bugs are immature Bordered Plant Bugs in the genus
Largus, a conclusion we reached upon comparing your photo to this image on BugGuide.  Often when a true bug molts, the newly emerged insect is a reddish color, but that will soon darken as the exoskeleton hardens.

Molting Bordered Plant Bug

Bug I have never seen before
Location: Ohio
September 24, 2011 4:06 pm
I first found this bug last night when I got some bedding out of my daughter’s closet. Only saw one, but then I saw two more this afternoon in a laundry basket in the basement. Any idea what this is?
Signature: Megan

Bed Bug, Carpet Beetle Larva or other???

Hi Megan,
There is not enough detail in your photo for us to say with any certainty what the identity of your insect might be, but two possibilities are a Bed Bug or a Carpet Beetle Larva.  A better photograph would help.

I know for a fact that it isn’t a bed bug.  Have too much experience with those so I know exactly what those look like!  I looked up carpet beetle larva and found this picture (attached).  It looks like the bug on the left.  Now to research these things and find out more about them.  Thank you!

Creepy Bug, Spider, Tick, Ant?
Location: Bethesda, MD
September 24, 2011 2:52 pm
Dear Bugman,
First of all, my fiancee makes fun of me for loving your website…silly him, when he sees what you can do!
We just bought a house in Maryland, and have been finding these bugs on our walls every few days. They are tiny, fast, and look like they would bite (humans, pets, plants?) I love bugs and took an entomology class in college, but am totally stumped. I can’t tell if it has 8 legs or if the front pair is something other than legs. I tried flushing one down the toilet and when I dumped it in, it was suddenly hanging from a string…so it seems probable that it is a spider (does that violate WTB rules?). I’m hoping you can help…
Signature: I love *most* bugs, but not this one!

Jumping Spider

Dear Ilmb,bnto,
This is some species of Jumping Spider, but there is not enough detail for us to discern with certainty the species.  There are several possibilities in the subfamily Dendryphantinae that look similar based on photos posted to BugGuide.  Jumping Spider are not harmful to humans.  While we cannot force you to love things, we can encourage you to be more tolerant with these magnificent hunter that will keep flies and other unwanted insects from your house.

Sceliphron caementarium in LA County – part 2
Location: E Los Angeles County
September 23, 2011 10:49 am
I sent pictures of the black and yellow mud dauber recently, and then discovered the mud daubed nest – mud huts? – for the larvae – at least I think so since these were on the inside of my garage door and the wasp was captured in my house. Now the connection is clear. I have never seen this carefully constructed wasp nest before so thought this might be a nice addition for identifying this wasp being in the vicinity. The nest was too high for me to put a comparison measure in the picture, but the tubes are about 1.5-2 inches in length and about 1/3-1/5 inch in diameter. The tubes are sealed in these pictures. About a week later, the doors were clearly open and tubes empty. When my gardener removed them, he broke open the mud and they were nearly hollow with only one dessimated carcass of a spider at the very end of one tube. Fascinating!
Signature: Fascinated in California

Mud Dauber Nest

Dear Fascinated in California,
Thank you for providing us with the image of the Mud Dauber Nest to accompany your previous posting of the adult wasp.