From the monthly archives: "September 2012"

Subject: North NJ Bug
Location: Fair Lawn, NJ
September 28, 2012 2:36 pm
My six-year-old daughter Courtney, an avid bug collector, found this guy in her grandma’s backyard yesterday and would love to know what it is. It was found in Fair Lawn, NJ, on September 28.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Dawn Altieri


Dear Dawn,
We hope you don’t consider our editorial staff to be slackers, but we don’t have the energy right now to identify this Weevil to the species level.  Weevils are the largest superfamily of insects belonging to the largest order of insects, the beetles.  Here is what BugGuide has to say:  “Arguably, the largest animal family with more than 40,000 species worldwide and 2,500 spp. in ~480 genera of 19 subfamilies in our area (Staphylinidae and/or Ichneumonidae may turn out more speciose.)”
  The other impediment is that many Weevils look alike, with the long snout and drab brown coloration being identifying traits of many Weevils.

Subject: Golden Orbweaver. I think…
Location: western mass
September 27, 2012 2:29 pm
Just saw this hanging out on a set of stairs. Thought it looked cool.
Signature: EJF

Golden Orbweaver guards her egg sac

Dear EJF,
Thanks for sending us your photo of this handsome female Golden Orbweaver,
Argiope aurantia, guarding her egg sac.  The Golden Orbweaver is a harmless species, though like many spiders, it is possible that they might be provoked into biting through careless handling.  Now that autumn has arrived and Orbweavers are reaching maturity, we expect to get numerous identification requests.

I was not 100% on it, but thought I was right. Lol. Anyway, I thought you guys would like that pic. Glad you did like it. Preston.

Subject: is this some kind of tiger moth?
Location: Francestown, NH
September 27, 2012 5:02 pm
Hi, discovered this moth September 8th while pruning some shrubs/trees in a woodland garden. Seems like this character had just ”hatched” and was drying its wings. Amazing that when I put the branch down on the moss, it instinctively worked it’s way to the end of the branch so it could hang in the breeze to dry, it was gone a few minutes later. I searched hundreds of photos with no luck, although shape and some features were close.
Signature: alf

Buck Moth

Hi alf,
Your photo arrived at a very timely moment.  It is the end of the month, and it is time for us to select a new Bug of the Month for October, and your Buck Moth,
 Hemileuca maia, gets that honor.  Your sighting is also right on time for the Buck Moth’s seasonal appearance.  According to BugGuide they fly “October-November, only to September in north, to December in Florida.”  That coincides with buck hunting season in many parts of the country, hence the common name.  We imagine that Buck Moth are seen flying in the woods when hunters are out trying to bag that trophy.  We frequently post photos of Buck Moth Caterpillars in the summer, but folks should be warned that they have stinging spines.  The Buck Moth Caterpillars feed on the leaves of oak trees.  The Buck Moth genus contains other species, including some that are found in the west, like the Elegant Sheep Moth, but your species has only been reported as far west as Texas, and from Canada in the north to Florida in the south.  Like other members of the Giant Silkmothfamily Saturniidae, Buck Moths have a very short lifespan and they do not feed as adults.  Your photos are positively gorgeous, and they are a marvelous addition to our archive.  As an aside, we have noticed a significant uptick in the number of postings we are making from New Hampshire.  It makes us wonder if there is some reason folks in the Granite State are sending in so many identification requests.

Buck Moth

Hi Daniel, thanks for the emails!  Guess I was looking at the wrong spot in the database.   Wow, bug of the month, if nothing else that will make me post more interesting sightings J
I don’t know if any specific reason for the uptick, but I’m sure more people with digital cameras, and the push for more protected land in the rural areas.  We are lucky in that we are surrounded by 600 acres or so of protected land.
Thanks again

Thanks alf,
The uptick is specifically submissions from New Hampshire which have been arriving in a disproportionate number.  How lucky to have 600 nearby acres of open space.  In our Los Angeles neighborhood, we just got an additional 2 acres of black walnut woodland added to our existing 34 acre park, and that is huge in a city where land with a view commands a premium price.


Subject: Please Identify
Location: Southern New Jersey
September 27, 2012 10:40 pm
I located this bug outside my store. It’s approx. 4-5 inches long. Appears to be a cross between a lizard, grasshopper, and cockroach. The front legs like just like a crab’s claws. Any help identifying would greatly be appreciated.
Signature: Thanks , Kevin

Mole Cricket

Hi Kevin,
This subterranean dweller uses those crablike front legs to tunnel underground.  It is a Mole Cricket.  We get reports of Mole Crickets from all over the planet and in February, we made it the Bug of the Month.

Subject: Root Borer
Location: San Marcos, CA
September 27, 2012 1:52 am
From what i gathered from your site, this appears to be a Broad Necked Root Borer? I guess that would make sense since it crawled out of my lawn. Have to say its strength was impressive as it powered its way back into my thick tall fescue.
Signature: redfive

California Prionus

Hi redfive,
The Broadnecked Root Borer is an eastern species.  This is a California relative, the California Prionus, and it is a male judging by his impressive antennae.  It is a little late in the season for a sighting, so we are speculating that this image is from your archive.

Yes, this is from my archive, but still not too long ago. August 7 of this year to be exact.  Thanks and I’ve enjoyed your website for awhile. Keep up the great work!