From the monthly archives: "July 2012"

You Decide
Subject: Butterfly ID
Location: Maryland
July 2, 2012 12:29 pm
Hi: I hope someone there knows the species of this lovely butterfly. (Sorry I was not able to get a decent open-wing shot.) Thanks for your help.
Signature: Barbara Thurlow

Red Spotted Purple

Dear Barbara,
We are ready to go public that we here at What’s That Bug? believe that the Red Spotted Purple is the most beautiful butterfly in America.  Your photograph is lovely and you have no reason to apologize for presenting it publicly on our forum. 

The Best Way to Search What’s That Bug?
Use our search engine and type in a few key words.  Knowing the name of your bug brings up the best results.

Subject: A Curious Fellow
Location: México, Jalisco, Guadalajara
July 1, 2012 8:37 pm
Hello there. First of all, let me say that this is a wonderful site! I just can’t believe when I found it. You make an awesome work doing this 🙂 Thank You a Lot.
So, A month ago I found this rare fellow in one plantpot at home. Looks like an ant but moves like a spider… I let him in the yard safe (I don’t touched it, his colors make me thought that he is poisonous) I don’t . What kind of insect is?
Signature: Miguel Angel

Assassin Bug Nymph

Dear Miguel Angel,
This is an Assassin Bug Nymph.  You were wise to avoid handling it.  Though they are not considered dangerous, many Assassin Bugs will bite if carelessly handled.  There is one genus of Assassin Bugs that are considered a health threat to humans.  The Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs in the genus
Triatoma, also called Kissing Bugs, are found in your area and they spread Chagas Disease.  See BugGuide for photos of Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs.  Your Assassin Bug nymph is not a member of that genus.  We believe it might be a Milkweed Assassin Bug nymph.

Subject: Fly/Bee
Location: Eastern Massachusetts
June 29, 2012 6:32 pm
I found this insect on my butterfly bushes. Its wings were always stuck out to the side, never laying across its abdomen (like with most flies and bees). What is it?
Signature: Denny P

Feather Legged Fly

Hi Denny,
This colorfly fly is a Feather Legged Fly in the genus
Trichopoda and you may read more about this fascinating genus on BugGuide.  We believe this may be Trichopoda pennipes based on these BugGuide photos.  Feather Legged Flies are in the Tachinid Fly family and they are important beneficial insects since the larvae are parasitic on Stink Bugs and other Heteropterans that feed on plants.

Subject: VI Mystery Moth
Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
June 29, 2012 6:48 pm
Dear ID Team,
I photographed this guy (gender evident from his feathery antennae) on June 27, 2012 in the Comox Valley. An unusual visitor, his delta shape and folded leaf appearance struck me as fascinating. I estimate his size to have been roughly 2cm in length from antennae tip to wing tip at rest.
Signature: Sandy

Owlet Moth

Hi Sandy,
We believe this might be a Snout Moth in the family Crambidae.  We searched BugGuide with no luck at determining its identity, so we are posting this as unidentified in the hope that one of our readers will be able to supply us with a species name.

Owlet Moth

Karl provides an identification
Hi Daniel and Sandy:
I believe it is an Owlet Moth (family Noctuidae) in the genus Palthis, probably P. angulalis, the Dark-spotted Palthis. If you are looking for it on the Bugguide site, they have adopted a newer classification system which includes a major overhaul of the superfamily Noctuoidea. In this system this moth is placed in the family Erebidae, subfamily Herminiinae, the Litter Moths. Most references suggest that the Dark-spotted Palthis is a moth of eastern North America but in Canada the range is given as Newfoundland to British Columbia. The Bugguide provides at least one example from British Columbia. Regards.  Karl

Subject: Weird, weird fly in Wisconsin.
Location: Wisconsin, USA
June 25, 2012 3:24 pm
Hi there,
Do you have any idea what the heck this is? I found it in my window — it’s about 1” long, very hefty. Apparently dipteran. This creature has a weird thing sticking out of the front of its head (mouthparts? emerging parasite?) and a couple of black upright ”fins” on its back just forward of the wing bases.
I’m an amateur entomologist and I’ve never seen the likes of this blighter before.
Thanks, and I’m interested in what you come up with!
Best wishes,
Signature: Rhian

Bot Fly

Dear Rhian,
This is some species of Rodent Bot Fly in the genus
Cuterebra.  Bot Flies are parasitic flies.  BugGuideprovides this graphic description of their life cycle:  “Females typically deposit eggs in the burrows and “runs” of rodent or rabbit hosts. A warm body passing by the eggs causes them to hatch almost instantly and the larvae glom onto the host. The larvae are subcutaneous (under the skin) parasites of the host. Their presence is easily detected as a tumor-like bulge, often in the throat or neck or flanks of the host. The larvae breathe by everting the anal spiracles out a hole (so they are oriented head-down inside the host). They feed on the flesh of the host, but only rarely does the host die as a result.”  We are copying Jeff Boettner to see if he is able to provide a species identification for us.

Bot Fly

Dear Daniel,
Thanks very much for the I.D. on that peculiar creature! The pictures in the link you sent look exactly like it, right down to the “fins” on the back (which I suppose are some kind of halteres?). That’s certainly a bizarre life cycle for a strange looking creature; for some reason, I thought bot flies were mostly tropical.
Thanks again, and keep up the good work with the site! 🙂
Best wishes,

Jeff Boetner replies
Hi Daniel and Rhian,
Great shots. Yes, a Cuterebra botfly, this is one of the Cuterebra fontinella bots. You have two subspecies of this bot in WI, Cuterebra fontinella fontinella, which uses white footed mice as a host, and Cuterebra fontinella grisea, which uses deer mice as a host. The one you photographed is very freshly emerged, the wierd face is from a balloon like structure that inflates to help push the fly out of the pupal case, and then it gets reabsorbed back into the face. These guys don’t feed as adults so have no real mouth parts.
It is hard for me to do this one to species, but if you hung onto it, it might get better coloring after it has been alive for a few days. So if you can keep it alive, (they don’t feed so easy to keep), post another picture once the brown turns to white and black. I don’t see these this fresh, very often, unless I have reared one. Very fun to see.
I am doing dna work on bots, and I would be interested in the specimen. I don’t have dna from WI specimens, and still missing grisea if it turns out to be that one? Yours is female for sure from the spacing between the eyes.
Thanks for posting. And thanks for the forward Daniel. Love you site!
Jeff Boettner
Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences

Subject: Damaged Butterfly
Location: West Los Angeles
June 25, 2012 6:45 pm
Hi Bugman,
This guy’s had a rough time of it, but was ably to fly quite adeptly. At first I thought it was a Funereal Duskywing, but it has white trim on both front & rear wings and all the pictures I can find of the FD have white only in their rear wings?
Can you please identify it?
Thx, Jeff
Signature: Jeff bremer

Mourning Cloak

Hi Jeff,
The Funereal Duskywing is a much smaller butterfly than this old, tattered Mourning Cloak.  Mourning Cloaks are long lived butterflies that are found throughout much of the northern hemisphere.  In England they are known as Camberwell Beauties.  In places where there is snow during the winter, Mourning Cloaks pass the winter by hibernating in hollow trees and other sheltered locations.  In California, they are also know to hibernate during our rainy season and during the hot dry weather as well.  They are a harbinger of spring, often being the first butterfly seen after winter and they are even known to fly on sunny days when there is still snow on the ground.  Mourning Cloaks have no problem finding flowers in California, but in places where it snows, their first meal after emerging from hibernation is more likely to be sap that runs from trees that have been damaged.  Sadly, the condition of your specimen did not allow you to appreciate the beauty of this lovely butterfly.  A Mourning Cloak in prime form is a velvety beauty with blue spots and cream trim on the wing edges.  Mourning Cloak Caterpillars feed on leaves of willow and elm and they can be very numerous at times.