From the monthly archives: "May 2012"

Subject: Spanish beetele, Andalucia
Location: Ayamonte, Andalucia, Spain
May 28, 2012 12:41 pm
Here it is, it landed on my wife, and it was very large… about two inches long minimum
I cant find it on your website. Please advise what it is….
Signature: Andy W

Mammoth Wasp

Hi Andy,
This is not a Beetle.  It is a Mammoth Wasp and there are several submissions in our archive including one from Spain.  The Mammoth Wasp feeds on nectar and it is frequently seen visiting flowers, but the helpless larva feeds on the grubs of Rhinoceros Beetles.  The female Mammoth Wasp hunts for the Scarab Larva and stings it to paralyze it.  She then lays an egg, thus providing a fresh food supply for each of her progeny.

Subject: Bug with eggs
Location: East Haddam, CT, USA
May 28, 2012 1:33 pm
Hi, this guy was photographed around May 20 in Conn. USA, an inch or so across. I am also wondering if those are wasp parasite eggs, or if she carries her own eggs on her back!
The other, the butterfly, pic taken about the same day, same place.
Signature: Dan

Crane Fly with Mites

Hi Dan,
The photo that you thought was an insect with wasp eggs is a Crane Fly and it is carrying Phoretic Mites.  Mites cannot fly, and they have evolved a behavior, known as phoresy, which allows them to move to new food sources.  Phoretic Mites attach themselves to flying insects and when they reach a suitable habitat, they drop off.  Here is a photo from BugGuide of a Crane Fly that is covered with Phoretic Mites.  We will try to identify the Crane Fly species.  The butterfly is a Red Spotted Purple.

Red Spotted Purple

Wow, that is amazing that you got back to me so fast, on Memorial Day, yet!
Get back out there to your picnic LOL!
That is fascinating about the Crane Fly, I thought that was what it was but I
had never seen the “eggs” before so I had no idea they were actually mites.
A Red Spotted Purple, not too imaginative with the name, but sure is lovely!
thanks again,

Subject: Mourning Cloak Caterpillar?
Location: Lebanon, TN
May 23, 2012 9:34 am
Mr. Bugman,
I found this caterpillar at the park and my mom says it might be a mourning cloak caterpillar. Do you think she is right? That’s me holding it on a stick.
Signature: Jovie

Buck Moth Caterpillar

Hi Jovie,
The the Mourning Cloak has a black spiny caterpillar, we believe this is a Buck Moth Caterpillar,
Hemileuca maia, which you may verify by comparing your caterpillar to this image on BugGuide.  It is also noted on BugGuide that:  “Caterpillar is variable, with base color ranging from black to almost white. Thorax and abdomen densely flecked with white dots. Many-branched spines can deliver a painful sting” and “Larvae feed on Oaks, Quercus, especially Scrub Oak, Quercus ilicifolia. Wanders in later instars.”  This late instar was probably wandering to find a good place to pupate.  By comparison, the Mourning Cloak Caterpillar has a row of red spots along the back that is missing from your caterpillar.  

Broad-Winged Katydid Nymph
Location:  Mt Washington, Los Angeles
May 20, 2012
While doing yardwork, we stumbled upon this immature Broad-Winged Katydid,
Microcentrum rhombifolium, so we took a few photos before releasing it onto the rose bushes, a favorite spot for the mature Katydids we find in the garden.

Broad-Winged Katydid Nymph

Subject: New bug in Dorothy’s garden
Location: Redding, California
May 27, 2012 9:05 pm
I take a lot of pictures of the flowers around the Treehouse Senior apartments, where I live. Particularly of the many different flowers that appear year round in my neighbor Dorothy’s garden.
This year, a new bug has been starring in photographs of iris and day lilies.
It is only about a quarter inch in length. It is green with iridescent golden markings. I think I have 3 good images.
Signature: Phil Seymour

Scudder's Bush Katydid Nymph

Hi Phil,
This is an immature Scudder’s Bush Katydid in the genus
Scudderia, and members of the genus are found throughout North America.  You can compare your photo to this image from BugGuide.  This species is quite common in the garden outside our Mt Washington, Los Angeles offices.  Katydids feed on leaves and blossoms and the Scudder’s Bush Katydids seem quite fond of the blossoms on the rose bushes in our garden.  They are never plentiful enough to do any major damage, and we are content to allow them to feed and grow.  Just last week we photographed another Katydid nymph in our garden, and we believe it is a Broad Winged Katydid.

Subject: It moved!
Location: Slatington, PA
May 28, 2012 8:53 am
My mother found this thing outside of her house. She thought it was stick, and rightly so. And then it moved! EW! Please tell me what it is, I have never seen anything like this!
Signature: Mandy


Hi Mandy,
This is an Inchworm or Spanworm, the caterpillar of a moth in the family Geometridae.  They get their common name from the manner of locomotion.  As you can see in the photo where the Inchworm is up-side-down, there are three pairs of true legs near the head and only two pairs of false legs or prolegs near the posterior end of the body.  Most caterpillars have five pairs of prolegs and that enables them to move in an oscillating manner.  There is a drawing on the Enchanted Learning website that illustrates the anatomy of a typical caterpillar.  Inchworms need to crawl forward on their true legs and then loop the rear end of the body forward.  Many Inchworms are excellent twig mimics, and they are known to grasp a stem with the prolegs and stick the rest of the body straight out exactly like a twig.  Our Bug of the Month Posting for April 2011 was the Inchworm and the posting illustrates both the manner of locomotion and the twig mimic behavior.