From the monthly archives: "June 2012"

We will be out of the office from June 6 through June 15.  During that time we will not be responding to any email requests and we expect that submissions during that time will accumulate and many will never be read.  We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.  In an effort to keep post new content during our absence, we have postdated some interesting recent submissions to post live during our absence.

Daniel Marlos

We’re back.  The best bug sighting were the hundreds of fireflies that appeared after a warm rain.  The amount of mail we received is staggering, so please forgive us if you do not hear back.

Subject: Emerging Tachinid fly and RIP monarch
Location: Minneapolis, MN
June 4, 2012 10:17 pm
We found a nice monarch caterpillar this weekend and brought it home for our children to watch this lifecycle. Unfortunately, we got to see this Tachinid fly emerge and show us a new life cycle. I assume this is Lesperia archippivora. The caterpillar was found in Minneapolis.
Signature: Daniel

Tachinid Larva vacates Monarch Caterpillar husk

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for sending in this awesome documentation.  It appears as though the maggot vacates the carcass of the Monarch Caterpillar and pupates elsewhere.  We wish the enlargement of the Tachinid Maggot had better clarity.

Pixilated Tachinid Larva, possibly species specific to the Monarch



Subject: Is this a type of walking stick
Location: South Texas near the ocean
June 3, 2012 10:23 pm
My husband and I found this bug earlier today while working on the house but are not quite sure what kind it is. When my husband knocked it off the house it let out a horrible smell like a stink bug but worse. It also has a smaller insect just like it on it’s back as well.
Signature: Unsure

Muskmare and Mate

Dear Unsure,
You are correct that this is a Walkingstick, but you failed to realize it is two Walkingsticks, a Muskmare and her mate.  We guess you smelled the musk.  Not only does it smell, it is caustic and the Muskmare can spray it with amazing accuracy, and it seems to hit the eye with a better than expected average of attempts.

Subject: Strange wasp looking things
Location: Corinth, NY
May 31, 2012 8:13 am
There were quite a number of these odd looking creatures all over the base of a dead tree, that a pileated woodpecker has been trying to chop down for the last couple of years.
Signature: Ken Rohling

Male Giant Ichneumons await the emergence of a female

Dear Ken,
This is an awesome photo.  The insects pictured are Giant Ichneumons,
Megarhyssa atrata, and they are commonly called Stump Stabbers.  These individuals are all males (see BugGuide) awaiting the emergence of a female for mating purposes.  The female Giant Ichneumon is responsible for the name Stump Stabber.  She has a very long ovipositor which is easily mistaken for a stinger.  She uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the bark of dead and dying trees.  Her offspring feed on the wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntail.  We have seen photos of male Giant Ichneumons awaiting the emergence of a female, but never in such great numbers.

Thanks, if you want the original file, just ask. There were dozens more right around there, and I would have shot more if I had known they didn’t sting. Usually, I’m not skittish, but last spring I hit a nasty nest of ground nesting hornets with a leaf blower, and took a couple dozen hits on the face and arms before I managed to dive into the river, shedding the blower in a blind run. Lol

Subject: Large wasp-like insect?
Location: Brandon, Manitoba
June 3, 2012 9:29 pm
Hi there, I’m hoping you can help me. I found this bug, dead on my deck yesterday. I have never seen one before and cannot find anything similar online. I took a few pictures and am really hoping you can identify it for me.
Thank you!
Signature: Jenifer Loades-Suppes

Elm Sawfly

Hi Jenifer,
This impressive insect is an Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, and it is a non-stinging relative of wasps and bees.  The larvae of the Elm Sawfly feeds on leaves and is often mistaken for a caterpillar.

Subject: Camping with Insects
Location: Kennedy Meadows, CA
June 3, 2012 11:54 pm
Hey there,
When I was in Kennedy Meadows, CA I saw this huge fly looking insect. I think if may be a species of Robberfly, but i am not positive. I believe it was around last August when I saw it. Think you can help me out? Thanks a bunch!
Signature: Jared from California

Robber Fly

Hi Jared,
This is indeed a Robber Fly.  Our quick search this morning did not turn up a species match, but it reminds us of the genus
Promachus pictured on BugGuide as well as the genus Proctacanthus also pictured on BugGuide.  Both genera are also pictured on this wonderful Robber Fly website.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist with this identification.

Robber Fly