From the monthly archives: "July 2012"

Subject: Black Swallowtail cats – 3 different instars
Location: Naperville, IL
June 28, 2012 12:20 am
Hi Daniel~
My daughter found 5 Black Swallowtail caterpillars (Papilio polyxenes) this morning on some potted curly-leaf parsley. I do believe there are three of the five instars represented: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, judging by their sizes (approx. 1/4”, 1/2”, 3/4”)and by the photos from bugguide of the various instars. They appear to change dramatically from one stage to the next, unlike my Monarchs, which vary mostly by size. I can’t find much info on the duration of the swallowtail life cycle. In the heat we’re having, my Monarch go from new pupa to butterfly in under a week. All the best to you.
Signature: -Dori Eldridge

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars

Hi Dori,
Thanks to your excellent documentation, our readers can see how the Black Swallowtail Caterpillars transform and change appearance as they grow.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, final instar

Your photos are so wonderful we are posting them all.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar


Subject: Flying Beetle
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
June 30, 2012 2:07 am
Have seen about Three of these in Las Vegas, NV in the 12 years I have lived here. I know this one fly’s, as he landed on my neck!
Signature: R. Klaus

Palo Verde Root Borer

Dear R. Klaus,
Summer is the season for large Prionid Borer Beetles and we get reports of various species from different locations across North America.  Your individual is a Palo Verde Root Borer and it is the second example we are posting today.

Thank you! I put him on a tree, hope he’s doing well…

Subject: BugAlien
June 30, 2012 7:59 pm
Hello, my name is Nick Sulkowski.  …
I have designed an awesome bug catching toy called BugAlien. I am bringing it to market and using Kickstarter to get the word out.
Would you take a look at my project and watch the video at the link:  and consider featuring my Kickstarter project on What’s That Bug?
I believe it is a unique device that would be very well received by your readership.
Thank you so much for this consideration,
Nick Sulkowski
Phoenix AZ.
Signature: Nick Sulkowski


Hi Nick,
We are posting and featuring your email.  We especially like your father’s patent drawing from 1986.

Little Bugger circa 1986

Hi Daniel,
Great!  Thank you so much!  Where can I view the post?

Update:  Friday the 13th of July 2012
I just want to let you know…
I’m working on creating a website. When it is complete will have a permanent link on it, as a show of kindness to you for helping me.  I’ve received several backers from your website.  Kickstarter allows me to see where my backers come from.
Thank you Daniel so much!

It is our pleasure Nick.  We fully support educational insect products.


Subject: I think this is a Silphidae
Location: Reese, MI
July 1, 2012 8:21 pm
I have an infestation of these bugs. By looking at the shell I think that these are from the Silphidae family. But all the information that I have found said that Silphidae do not bite but these do. They seem to come out at night and are attracted to apple cider vinager. Please help me identify these pests and come up with a way to keep them away from my deck!!!!
Thank you
Signature: Tireman2000

Four Spotted Sap Beetle

Dear Tireman2000,
Why ever do you keep a container of vinegar outside if it attracts these Four Spotted Sap Beetles which are also called Picnic Beetles or Beer Bugs.  We identified them first by doing a web search for vinegar beetles and we found a Sap Beetle on the Cape Beekeeping website.  The website author traps beetles in his bee hives by using mineral oil and cider vinegar, and he had a photo posted that was identified as a Sap Beetle that looked like your beetle.  Armed with that information, we found the Four Spotted Sap Beetle,
 Glischrochilus quadrisignatus, on BugGuide where it states they eat:  “various fermenting substances” and they are “attracted by the odour of fermenting fruits and vegetables; the adult beetles fly into beer or soft drinks at summer picnics.”  Again, please let us know what you are doing with the vinegar.

Vinegar attracts Sap Beetles


Subject: grasshopper
Location: Jordan Valley, Jordan
June 25, 2012 8:45 pm
I took this picture in Jordan Valley, Jordan, I think it is a grasshopper nymph, it’s around 4” (10cm) long, what is strange about it in addition of its size (for a nymph) is that it’s front and middle legs have the same thickness as its hind legs, and it’s forward body section is larger than aft body section, even though I have seen and examined many types of grasshoppers in my life, I have never seen one like this before.
Signature: Sultan Murad

Predatory Katydid

Dear Sultan,
Though it looks like a Grasshopper and it is classified in the same order as Grasshoppers, this insect is actually a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera.  Grasshoppers have shorter antennae.  We do not recognize the species, but we will contact Piotr Naskrecki from Harvard, an expert on Katydids, to see if he can provide a species identification for us.

Predatory Katydid

Thanks to a comment from Ben in Israel, we now know that this is a Predatory Katydid, Saga ornata, and FlickRiver has a nice photo.

Correction courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki
Hi Daniel,
An impressive creature indeed. This is a male of Saga ephippigera, which I believe is considered to be one of the largest, if not the largest, Palearctic insects. These katydids are sit-and-wait predators, similar in their hunting technique to preying mantids.


Subject: Big Green Caterpillar From Suriname
Location: Surinamese interior, South America
July 1, 2012 12:29 pm
Hello Bugman, I was hoping you could help me identify a particular caterpillar I photographed when living in Suriname, South America about ten years ago. Is it a Tobacco Hornworm of some kind? My only source is ”Insects of Suriname” by Maria Sibylla Merian and her illustrations are over 200 years old, so I can’t be sure. Suriname doesn’t have any seasons, apart from Rainy vs. Dry, but I can tell you I took this picture in the Rainy season. Thanks in advance!
Signature: Brian

Hornworm:  Cocytius antaeus

Hi Brian,
You are correct that this is some species of Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, however, it is not a Tobacco Hornworm.  Though Maria Sibylla Merian’s book is awesome, it is not ideal for identification purposes.  You can try browsing the 100 or so species on the Sphingidae of the Americas Suriname page to get an identification.  If you get the answer, please write back to us.