From the monthly archives: "December 2011"

what’s that moth
Location: Grand Teton National Park, Surprise Lake Trail
November 13, 2011 12:54 pm
Large moth found sitting in low shrubs mid-day, July 27, 2011, at about 8000 feet elevation in Grand Teton National Park. Large size and bright color really made it stand out – it was over an inch long. I’m guessing it may be an atypical (lacking black bands) western sheep moth. Would love to know what it is. Thanks.
Signature: Larry

Elegant Sheep Moth

Hi Larry,
We apologize for the delay.  We agree with you that this is a Western Sheep Moth or Elegant Sheep Moth,
Hemileuca eglanterina.  As you indicated, some individuals lack the black bands that make the wings resemble a stained glass window.  See BugGuide for more photos of the Elegant Sheep Moth.

Musandam insect
Location: Musandam, northern Oman
November 14, 2011 6:57 am
This insect can fly very swiftly as it did shortly after I photographed it, much to my surprise.
Signature: Keith Wilson

Unknown Insect

Dear Keith,
New mail was slow today, so we went back through our unanswered requests to find some interesting posts.  Your photo has us quite intrigued as well as stumped.  The head somewhat resembles a Stick Insect in the order Phasmidae, though the legs are quite short and there are no visible antennae.  Something about this insect reminds us of the insects that have aquatic nymphs, though again we are not quite certain.  Though it has been some time since you sent this request, can you provide us with any information on its size or the conditions under which it was seen, including terrain?

Hi Daniel,
The insect was a beetle – a ship boring beetle, known as Atratocerus belonging to the family  Lymexylidae. It was about 30 mm long. It was the second record for Arabia and may have come in on a wooden ship as it was found near a local fishing boat where there are lots of wooden dhows. The antennae are present but folded under the head.

Eric Eaton identifies Ship Timber Beetle
Dear Daniel:
Trying this again.  First time it never sent, or saved….
Happy holidays to you, too!
I am delighted that I can give the gift of this identification, especially when my initial thought was that this is a fly of some kind.  I was literally off by several “orders” of magnitude!  I still managed to find this blog post by my friend Ted MacRae.  Turns out this is a beetle.  I know!  He has a nearly identical image, but good information to go with it:
Hope that helps.  Take care.

Ed. Note:  Here are a few quotes from Beetles in the Bush posting on this Ship Timber Beetle:

“One of the more unusual, and enigmatic, beetles that I encountered in South Africa was this beetle in the pantropical genus Atractocerus.  Placed in the family Lymexylidae (ship-timber beetles), species in this genus look less like beetles than they do large flying ants or strange damselflies due to their highly reduced elytra that expose their greatly elongated abdomen and leave the hind wings uncovered.  The hind wings also are unusual in that they are held fan-like in repose rather than folded as in most other beetles.  Atractocerus brevicornis is the only species in the genus found in Africa (Scholtz & Holm 1985).”

Atractocerus species are rarely encountered and therefore, not well studied. Their evolutionary history is still unknown; however, the oldest known lymexylid fossil is a very primitive member of the genus Atractocerus preserved in 100 myo Burmese amber (Grimwold & Engel 2005). Thus, the lineage containing these beetles had already appeared by the mid-Cretaceous and may have originated as early as the Jurassic, a fact that has earned them the moniker ‘living fossils.’ These beetles were once thought to be among the most primitive of all Coleoptera – their simple wing venation, almost undifferentiated antennae and tarsi, and naked abdomen being likened to a supposed neuropteran common ancestor.”

Strange Green Bug
Location: Burlingame, California
December 22, 2011 7:00 pm
Just got linked to this site by a friend! I found this bug waiting for me at the top of my basement steps this afternoon, never seen anything like it before! Only one photo came out clearly, but this guy’s only about the size of a dime.
Signature: Marisa

Southern Green Stink Bug Nymph

Hi Marisa,
This is an immature Stink Bug.  They are sometimes difficult to properly identify to the species level, but based on a photo posted to BugGuide, we believe this is the nymph of a Southern Green Stink Bug,
Nezara viridula.

Hotel Spider
Location: Wilmington, NC
December 23, 2011 1:18 pm
Dear Bugman,
I am a flight attendant and therefore get to see a wide variety of bugs, welcome or not, both on and off the airplanes. This little guy was sharing a room with me in North Carolina. I have been bitten in the past many times in hotels by many things but wanted to know if this guy is a threat or helpful roommate.
Signature: Kelly

Parson Spider

Hi Kelly,
The Parson Spider in your photo is considered a harmless species.  They are Ground Spiders that do not build a web to snare prey.

Spots, legs and antennae
Location: Belmopan, Belize
December 22, 2011 1:45 pm
Hi! As always, I love perusing your site. I found this guy on my screen and have no idea what it is. The screen mesh is 1/2”, so is body is about 1”. Pretty neat, whatever he is!
Signature: Cindy

Ivory Marked Beetle

Hi Cindy,
Despite the yellow color of the markings, we believe this is an Ivory Marked Beetle or Four Marked Ash Borer,
Eburia quadrigeminata, or at least a member of the same genus.  Most of the individuals on BugGuide have lighter markings, though one mounted specimen from West Virginia has markings similar to your beetle.

December 22, 2011 @ 1:16 PM PST
Location:  Mt Washington, Los Angeles, CA
It is currently unseasonably cold in Los Angeles, but the days are sunny.  The wood pile in the front continues to be a magnet for Brush Footed Butterflies.  This Mourning Cloak was soaking up the sun this afternoon.  We first noticed it with its wings open, but by the time we got the camera, the critter got camera shy.  In trying to coax it to open its wings for a photo (as well as to better soak up the sun) we merely managed to induce it to fly away.  Recently this same wood pile served as a perch for Red Admirals.

Mourning Cloak