From the monthly archives: "February 2012"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Southern California Beetle ID?
Location: Perris/Lake Matthews/Riverside, CA
February 27, 2012 4:50 pm
Seen any of these? Found today on exterior wall. Cloudy weather, 50 degrees F, bug ”sluggish”.
Signature: Gary

Ironclad Beetle

Dear Gary,
This little critter is an Ironclad Beetle, and it got its name from the incredible toughness of its exoskeleton that is nearly impossible to pierce.  We just posted a photo from Tanzania that we believe is an Ironclad Beetle.

Thank you Daniel,
I spent two hours trying to figure it out, and was stymied!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big centipede with red legs in February in Virginia?
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
February 26, 2012 5:56 pm
My little Siamese cat reached through the blinds and knocked this leggy thing from my dining room windowsill. It does not look like a house centipede. It looks like a genuine ”it can really bite you” centipede. I pushed my cat away, grabbed a thick napkin, picked up this bug and threw it out on the sidewalk. I took some picture and have attached two of them. Is this a centipede? I have never seen one like this in Virginia.
Signature: Mary

Tropical Centipede

Dear Mary,
This submission poses some perplexing possibilities.  This is one of the Tropical Centipedes in the genus
Scolopendra, and the genus is represented on the eastern seaboard by two species documented in Florida, including the Florida Blue Centipede, Scolopendra viridis, which has a range documented as far north as North Carolina according to a map link (to on BugGuide. Most of the individuals pictured on BugGuide have blue legs, however, there is one photo on BugGuide that looks similar to your individual.  There are so many inconsistencies that we are reluctant to say for certain that this is a Florida Blue Centipede without the specimen being inspected by an expert.  Did you or someone in your household make a recent trip to a location with a warmer climate?  If so, it is possible this individual was a stowaway in the luggage, or it is possible it is an unusually colored Florida Blue Centipede in an undocumented part of its normal range, or it might be a different species that was heretofore unknown in Virginia, and quite possibly an entirely new species.  Alas, it seems we have more questions and answers.  This sighting would probably have been of interest to your local natural history museum.

Aha! Thank you!
I  think I  know the answer now.
In late December, my husband ordered an anniversary gift for me.
It was finally shipped out on February 14, and arrived at our house on February 16.
The large box contained a beautiful framed painting by the Hawaiian artist, Leohone.
It was shipped out by FedEX  from……..Honolulu, Hawaii.
The cat did not find this bug hanging out on the Windowsill until February 26, so that means it must have been here for 10 days (and no one noticed).
If this is a Hawaiian centipede, it must be a pretty hearty bug to travel so far and then live 10 days in cold Virginia with nothing to eat.
It was still full of fiery fight and energy!
Good thing that I saw it before  the cat had enough time to really “play” with it.

Bingo.  This looks like a good match on The Firefly Forest website.

I just looked at the link that you sent me.
That’s IT!   You found it!
I have been looking all over the internet trying to find  a centipede that resembled it.
At first, I didn’t even  make the connection.
But, now I know it was most definitely a stowaway in the picture box that was shipped to me FedEX….from Honolulu, Hawaii.
This means the big centipede was wandering around  in my house for 10 days before our cat noticed it.
In spite of the fact that it probably had nothing to eat since it left Hawaii, it was still filled with fiery energy.
As one of my friends remarked……it resembles a “mini-dragon.”
I am so glad I was able to pick it up off the floor and get it out of the house before my cat had a chance to really “play” with it.
Especially after reading the article that you sent me, I know my cat would have lost any game with this particular centipede.
I regretfully admit that I felt compelled to kill the poor misplaced bug.
Assuredly, the people in Hawaii who accidentally shipped it here don’t want it back.
And I couldn’t  leave it wandering around outside. It simply doesn’t belong here.
Don’t want somebody’s unsuspecting pet to get hurt.
Sigh. The colder weather would have probably killed it anyway.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug from Tanzania
Location: Tanzania
February 26, 2012 11:59 am
My friend snapped this bug in Tanzania. Any idea what it is? their guide didn’t know.
Signature: Robyn

Ironclad Beetle

Hi Robyn,
This sure looks like an Ironclad Beetle in the subfamily Zopherinae.  YOu can view BugGuide for some examples of similar looking North American species.

Thank you. I love your website and will hopefully view the entire collection!
Robyn McCoy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Practicing Photography Skills
I keep thinking about Professor Amy Oliver lecturing on the importance of treating digital photography like film.  I hate that the camera takes so much time to record an image.  The replay feature stopped working and I can’t remember how to get it to go back on.  This is the last photo I took of Chris today.  I knew I had it in the can with this final shot.  There is only one image of this pose.  I think I took a great photograph and that Chris can use this photo to promote her newest book and tour.

Chris Kraus in the Los Angeles River

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Moth Identification
Location: Oshkosh, WI
February 25, 2012 11:00 pm
Just wanted to say that I am a huge fan and addicted to the website. I’m not a big bug person, I prefer reptiles myself, but as bugs tend to be just as misunderstood I sincerely appreciate the work you do in educating the general public. I have here two mysteries I’d be very thankful if you helped to solve. The first is a picture I took while at work. I work at a large factory, which, unfortunately, is an uninhabitable place in hotter months unless the bay doors are open. This means that creatures often find themselves indoors without a way to get back out again. I fear this dragonfly was one of those creatures, and he was dead while still stuck to the wall. I have been unable to identify him: he is very dusty and I fear this may be a case of Unnecessary Carnage due to him not being discovered and saved sooner. Any ideas?
Later that same night, which was a very strange night full of oversized bugs, I heard my cat freaking out at our sliding glass window. Opening it, I was delighted to see such a huge moth, as I never get the honor. After watching it for a while, I was dismayed at how lethargic it seemed, on such a warm night. I didn’t want this to be another case of a beautiful bug living its last moments in my hands, so I put it somewhere more comfortable and turned off my porch light. In the morning it had gone, and I do not know whether it had reached the end of its life or moved on to better things. I prefer to believe the latter. I /think/ that it may be a Polyphemus Moth but for whatever reason could not find a photo with markings that were exactly what I’d witnessed. Do moths have much variation in color and pattern within the same species? Thanks in advance for any information~!
Pictures are taken in summer, Central Wisconsin. Apologies for the quality.
Signature: Jen

Polyphemus Moth

Dear Jen,
Indeed your moth is a Polyphemus Moth, and she is a lovely specimen.  Polyphemus Moths make scrumptious morsels for many nocturnal predators including skunks, racoons and bats.  We doubt the bats would be discouraged by the Polyphemus Moth’s defense mechanism, to mimic the cyclops Polyphemus when disturbed.  The Polyphemus Moth often rests with its lower wings covered.  Upon being poked, it will quickly reveal one oculus and appear to have been wakened from a sound sleep by an annoyance.  When the second eye is revealed, destroying the cyclopian illusion, the entire illusory head of the imagined threat of a human sized head 
could scare a racoon or skunk, or maybe not, but it does work on birds.  We will attempt to identify your Dragonfly later.  Our first thought or guess would be a female Green Darner.


You guys are great. Thanks so much. Very neat story about the origin of the name, I’m pretty amused by it!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Owl Moth
Location: Jaragua State Park, São Paulo, Brazil
February 24, 2012 5:27 pm
I photographed this moth in the same day I photographed the pink spotted hawkmoth.
I really loved the patterns on it’s wings, and was trying to identify it by myself. Now, I that I got the species Owl Moth Thysania zenobia, based on this info on Butterflies and Moths of North America ”Black streaks in male, absent in female”, I believe that all of your ”growin ups” are femmale ?s=Thysania+zenobia&searchsubmit.x=5&searchsubmit.y=17, and now I have a male in here.
This picture was taken in Jaragua State Park, and I know, if you wanna see large moths, go direct to the bathrooms! There was the hugest moth I saw all my life, unfortunatelly, I had no cammera in hands that time.
Signature: Cesar Crash

Owl Moth from Brazil

Dear Cesar,
We can always depend upon you to send wonderful photographs and to supply and interesting description as well.  We imagine that most people using the bathrooms are not terribly amused by the large moths, but that is their loss.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination