From the monthly archives: "September 2012"

Subject: Butterfly
Location: Wilson Co Tennessee
September 24, 2012 7:04 am
I was visiting a friend & so happen to have my camera with me & got a shot of this beauty resting on an old log building. plus I took a photo of a smaller butterfly that I have never seen before. Just curious as to what they are. Thanks in advance Bugman.
Ms Nichols
Signature: Ms Nichols


Dear Ms Nichols,
This lovely butterfly is one of the members in the genus
Polygonia that are named after punctuation marks because of silver markings on the ventral surface of the underwings.  Your individual is a Comma, and you may read more about it on Bugguide.  The species page for the Eastern Comma on BugGuide states this distinguishing feature:  “On upper forewing of Question Mark, there is a row of four dark ‘postmedian’ spots, but only three in the Comma and other Polygonia species.”  Your other butterfly is a Crescent in the genus Phyciodes, and according to BugGuide, there are 18 similar looking species in North America.


Subject: Skipper, Comma or Question Mark?
Location: Decatur GA
September 23, 2012 11:30 am
Hi! Love the site! I got some great shots of this guy on my lantana today (9.23.12). Can you help me ID it? I’m leaning towards skipper. What do you think?
Signature: Angela Pratt


Hi Angela,
This is a Skipper in the family Hesperiidae.  The manner in which it holds its wings is very typical of Skippers, especially the Grass Skippers in the subfamily .  See BugGuide for additional information as well as for photographs of many of the species found in North America.  You may also browse through the numerous genera of Grass Skippers on BugGuide in an attempt to identify this Skipper to the species level.


Female California Mantis
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
September 23, 2012

Female  Mantis

The staff didn’t feel like cooking lunch today, so we headed out for a Fusion Burger in Highland Park.  On the way to the car, we spotted this female California Mantis on the power box and headed back in for the camera and we took a few photographs.  We suspect she may have been displaced since we have been trimming trees and shrubs this weekend, and we always leave the lid on the green bin open in the event that any critters were thrown away with the branches.  She was found not far from the green bin.
For the past few weeks, we have been seeing male California Mantids near the porch light, and we have already made several postings.  After lunch we relocated this plump female California Mantis to the basil plant in the front garden, and within 30 seconds she had caught a Honey Bee.  Another curious Honey Bee kept on checking out what was happening with her hive mate as the luckless bee was eaten.

Female Mantis eats Honey Bee

Update:  January 2, 2013
We received a comment correcting our identification and informing us that this is
Stagmomantis limbata, not the California Mantis in the same genus.  We are linking to the BugGuide page while we await clarification how to distinguish one species from the other.

Subject: South Africa
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
September 22, 2012 12:42 pm
Hello Bigman
Sadly it’s hard getting nice and close with a mobile phone camera to most little bugs.. this one didn’t seem to mind:-) Crawled slowly around a tree for a while.. then was gone. Never seen this one before on my garden:-) black one. …
Signature: rob

Longicorn: Ceroplesis militaris

Dear Rob,
This beautiful, black Longicorn in the family Cerambycidae looks the same as one we identified as
Ceroplesis militaris last year in November.  You can find our research on the previous posting.

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Northern Virginia
September 22, 2012 8:47 pm
Tonight we noticed a bunch of these on a dirt pile in our yard. We counted 11 of them. Can you please tell us what they are? None of us has ever seen a caterpillar with a spiky bum before 🙂
Signature: Thank you, Jen

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Jen,
This is a very dark form of the highly variable Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar,
Hyles lineata.  It is the only member of the genus that the Sphingidae of the Americas website reports from Virginia.

Subject:  Giant Swallowtail Ovipositing?
Location: Hawthorne, California
September 23, 2012 2:37 pm
While the first photo is not focused very well, I included it anyway to show it is a giant swallowtail. Do the next two show it ovipositing on the cigar plant bush? There is a lime tree very near by.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Giant Swallowtail

Hi Anna,
Before we could provide you with an accurate answer, we needed to look up the plant family for the cigar plant.  According to Floridata, the cigar plant is in the Loosestrife Family Lythraceae.  Prior to the introduction of citrus in North America, the native Giant Swallowtails used “Common Pricklyash (Zanthoxylum americanum), and Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)” as larval foods, according to BugGuide.  We do not believe the Giant Swallowtail in your photo is ovipositing on the cigar plant, but we may be wrong.

Giant Swallowtail