From the monthly archives: "October 2012"

Subject: aussietrev Micro Mantis
Location: Nth Burnett. Queensland Australia
October 31, 2012 8:16 pm
Hi guys,
hope you and yours are all well after the storm.
I spotted this little guy on my lemon tree. At first I thought it was just another ant looking for scale insects to farm as it scurried along the leaf but then noticed the curled forearms. It really is no bigger than a meat ant as can be seen by the scale in reference to my finger tip and has the same shiny skin which I haven’t seem before on a mantis.
Do you think it is just a juvenile or a micro species?
Signature: Aussietrev


Hi Trevor,
My, this Mantis sure has big eyes.  We suspect this is a nymph and not a micro-mantis.  Thanks for another wonderful submission.



Subject: What kind of fly is this?
Location: Illinois
October 29, 2012 4:34 pm
These are flying all around in our my apartment buildings hallway. They have been following me in and I now have them flying around my apartment. They don’t seem to fly a lot though. They tend to land and then dart around really fast. This has made them fairly easy to kill. I have never seen flies like these before and am not seeing them online anywhere. I have noticed that when I kill one a very small reddish orange bug comes off of it. The last one I killed had two of these tiny bugs crawl out or off of it. I have had a hard time getting a good pic of these but I have attached the best one I have. Any info you have would be much appreciated as I am so sick of dealing with these things.
Signature: J Crellin

Humpbacked Flies

Dear J Crellin,
We will be checking with Eric Eaton for assistance on this identification.

Eric Eaton assists in Humpbacked Flies identification
Yes, Daniel, those are humpbacked flies, family Phoridae.  Probably Megaselia scalaris, by far the most abundant indoor species.  They feed on decaying matter as larvae, so you find them mostly in the kitchen, around the garbage disposal, etc.

Subject: black caterpillar with yellow spines
Location: Chiapas, Mexico
October 31, 2012 8:42 am
This caterpillar was found in the highland region of Chiapas, Mexico by a worker who was clearing out a field outside of a rural clinic where I was working. I was told four different names for it, some in the local Mayan language: ch’ix tul, xaktaj, xaxaltojo, and ramudo. I was told it turns into a large yellow moth and that the caterpillar is very poisonous. It was pretty large – maybe 10 cm. Thanks!!
Signature: Linda

Leucanella species Caterpillar

Dear Linda,
We are rushing to post your photo, and we cannot do the research at this moment.  We can tell you that this is a Caterpillar from the genus
Automeris, a large group of Giant Silkmoths.  We can also tell you that this is a stinging caterpillar, so keep away from the spines.  We are copying Bill Oehlke on this response as he might be able to provide the species for us both.  Should Bill request permission to reproduce your photo on his website, we hope you will comply.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much for your quick response. This is very helpful. Yes, you
have permission to repost the photo. I’ll look forward to your
response whenever you have the time. Thank you so much –
this is a great website and a great service!

Hi Linda,
We were wrong about the genus.  We found a photo on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website that indicates these caterpillars are probably
Leucanella leucane or possibly Leucanella saturata.  Here are photos of Leucanella leucane from Masterfile and another from  We hope Bill Oehlke can verify our identification.

Dear Daniel,
Looks just like Leucanella saturata! Thanks so much for this, and
thanks again for your website!

Subject: I would *love* this bug identified!
Location: Arles, france, July 2012
October 30, 2012 5:42 pm
Dear Bugman
I would very much like this bug identified. It was taken in the town of Arles in the south of france in July 2012 around 11:30am.
I had been recording cicadas that holiday, but this didn’t look anything like one – so I thought it might be a moth, or even some kind of roach. It’s body is very fat, wings almost cardboard looking.
Signature: Chris Dooks

Sun Moth

Hi Chris,
Initially, this moth had us very confused.  It reminded us of the Underwing Moths, however, the antennae are more like a Hawkmoth, which it does not resemble.  We did some research and learned on the Papillons de Poitou-Charentes website that this is a member of a new family for our website, Castniidae, and it is
Paysandisia archon, or Vagabon des palmiers.  Since we cannot read French, our next stop was Wikipedia, which we rarely reference, and there we learned:  “Castniidae, or castniid moths, is a small family of moths with fewer than 200 species: The majority are Neotropical with some in Australia and a few in south-east Asia. These are medium-sized to very large moths, usually with drab, cryptically-marked forewings and brightly coloured hindwings. They have clubbed antennae and are day-flying, and are often mistaken for butterflies. Indeed some previous classification systems placed this family within the butterflies or skippers. The Neotropical species are commonly known as giant butterfly-moths, the Australian and Asian species as sun moths.”

Sun Moth

Your photos are quite wonderful, with the underside view providing a hint of the markings on the underwings.  The Fauna of Paraguay website has images of some tropical species that really do resemble butterflies.

Sun Moth

I am absolutely ecstatic that you have been able to do this, thank you so much for your time, effort and insight.
I am making an LP about French Cicadas, and I will send you a link to the digital download for free when I’ve finished.
Chris Dooks 🙂


Subject: Rollie Pollies
Location: Caldwell, Idaho
October 29, 2012 7:51 pm
Dear Bugman,
I’m doing a bug collection for school, What is the scientific name for Rollie Pollies?
Signature: Kaesha


Dear Kaesha,
Your photos are so nice.  We wish they were of higher resolution.  Rollie-Pollie is a common name used for Woodlice or Pill Bugs, Crustaceans in the suborder Oniscidea.  You can see the taxonomy breakdown on Bugguide.

Ed. Note: We did a bit more research and as we suspected, these images were pilfered from the internet.  Our submission form contains a disclaimer:  “Also, you swear that you either took the photo(s) yourself or have explicit permission from the photographer or copyright holder to use the image.” We will be writing to the author of The Sweeting Spot to request permission to reproduce the photograph.  Plagiarism is an issue that we take very seriously.

Erika from The Sweeting Spot responds
Subject: Re: Rollie Pollie photo
Website: The Sweeting Spot
October 30, 2012 10:17 am
I received a message from Daniel a few moments ago about photo usage for a rollie pollie photo that I used on my personal blog a few years ago. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I don’t own the photo – I thought I got it from a free stock photo website, but I could be wrong. It’s possible I may need to take it down as well! Sorry I couldn’t be more help.
Signature: Erika

Thanks Erica,
We looked at the metadata in the digital file and it does not exist.  I think we are both safe at this point.

Subject: Big Ol’ Larva – Carpenterworm?
Location: Raymond, California (Sierra foothills)
October 29, 2012 4:03 pm
We were splitting wood this weekend, and found this large larva inside one of the interior live oak rounds. We believe it to be a carpenterworm larva – can you confirm? As you can imagine, it was not happy to have been revealed to the world, so our size comparison with the measuring tape isn’t quite in alignment.
Love your website!
Thanks so much
Signature: Megan Ralph

Prionid Grub

Hi Megan,
This is the grub of one of the Longhorned Borer Beetles, most likely a Prionid, and possibly the California Prionus.  See this image from BugGuide for comparison.
  According to BugGuide:  “Larva feed primarily on living deciduous trees (oaks, madrone, cottonwood) and are also recorded from roots of vines, grasses, and decomposing hardwoods and conifers. Will also attack fruit trees growing on light, well-drained soils (e.g. apple, cherry, peach)”