From the monthly archives: "October 2012"

Subject: two-spotted insect
Location: northeastern Illinois
October 29, 2012 5:02 pm
I found this colorful fellow on a thistle blossom along with a bumblebee that I noticed first. I tried some self ID using your website but gave up after a couple of hours because I frankly don’t know the correct section to look through. I took a side view and a top view to help identify it.
Signature: unintentional entomologist

Pennsylvania Leatherwing

Dear unintentional entomologist,
The Pennsylvania Leatherwing or Goldenrod Soldier Beetle is frequently associated with goldenrod, a common autumn bloom, and we are surprised that your photo is the first submission this year.  Typically, we begin to have identification requests for Pennsylvania Leatherwings beginning in September.

Actually, I took this picture on September 3, but I took a couple of hour’s worth of photos that day including ducks, egrets and blue herons which were having great success wading and fishing in a shallow section of a rain-depleted Fox River. Consequently, I did not get around to processing the macro-lens photos from along the river bank until October 27th. There were some pictures of goldenrod in the group, but none had this beetle in it.
I guess I still would have been your first submission this year, but at least it would have been within your expected time frame.

Subject: Bug identification
Location: Newton, IA 50208
October 29, 2012 8:31 am
I live in Newton, Ia. This bug visits my flowerbed every fall. It moves like a hummingbird but has yellow and black stripes. I have tried to take a picture of it for three years. I got lucky this year. I look forward to seeing it each fall. Please let me know what it is at … .
Valerie Barney
Signature: Valerie Barney

Whitelined Hawkmoth

Dear Valerie,
This is a beautiful action photo of a Whitelined Sphinx or Striped Morning Sphinx,
Hyles lineata.  They do resemble a hummingbird in flight.

Subject: whats this Bug south africa
Location: Zululand
October 29, 2012 3:18 pm
found in forests of Phinda Game reserve in Zululand south africa.Has feathered feelers that fold under body.Can u identify ?
Signature: not important

Leaf Beetle

This appears to be a Scarab Beetle, but we have not had any luck with a species identification.  Your description of the antennae is consistent with Scarabs.

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel:
I don’t think this is a scarab beetle. I believe it is actually a variety of leaf beetle (Chrysomelidae), more specifically a flea beetle in the genus Polyclada that appears to have the common name African Leaf Beetle.  I found online references placing this genus in three different subfamilies  (Halticinae, Alticinae and Galerucinae) but the most common appears to be Alticinae.  Polyclada beetles, along with beetles in the related genus Diamphidia, are noteworthy because their larvae bioaccumulate toxins derived from the plants on which they feed. The paralyzing toxins are apparently slow acting but effective enough that the San people of the Kalahari use the fluids squeezed from the larvae to poison the tips of their hunting arrows. Several species inhabit southern Africa but I was not able to find any useful photos taken in South Africa. The best I could find was a photo identified as Polyclada sp. from Ethiopia that looks very close, an image on a postage stamp from Botswana that apparently depicts P. flexuosa (coincidentally, one of the species given as a source for arrow poison), and a fuzzy illustration of P. bohemani. I can’t be sure, but I believe this is getting close to a correct identification. Regards  Karl

Thanks so much for the corrections Karl.  We actually entertained the thought that this might be a Leaf Beetle, but the description of the antennae convinced us it must be a Scarab.  Seeing the plumose antennae on the photo from Ethiopia and the stamp from Botswana is awesome.  The information about the poison darts is also quite intriguing.  Thanks again.

Subject: Dewdrop Spider
Location: Laurens County, SC, USA
October 29, 2012 10:39 am
I found this tiny spider on the web of an orbweaver. I’m pretty sure it is one of the dewdrops, but cannot make further ID.
Signature: Gene Ott

Possibly Dewdrop Spider

Hi Gene,
This does resemble the Dewdrop Spiders from the genus
Argyrodes posted to BugGuide in shape, but in coloration, it is different.  There is also a resemblance to another kleptoparasite genus of Cobweb Spiders posted on BugGuide, Neospintharus, formerly classified as Argyrodes.  Kleptoparasites are organisms that steal food from other creatures.  A Dewdrop Spider, according to BugGuide, “steals small insects from the orb webs of other spiders, as well as pillages large prey items that have already been caught and often predigested by the host spider.”   We will post it with a tentative identification and see if any of our readers can provide additional information.  Thanks for sending this interesting submission.

Thank you very much.  I will check the site to see what occurs.

Subject: Bug On My Car Hood
Location: Roseland, NJ
October 29, 2012 9:31 am
Hi, I Saw this bug on my car hood today. I Have never seen it before. I live in Roseland, NJ and was hoping for an ID
Signature: Ernie

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Dear Ernie,
This is an Ailanthus Webworm Moth.  We hope all is well there in New Jersey and that you have weathered the wrath of Sandy.

Subject: Large Long Island Month?
Location: Southampton, NY
October 27, 2012 11:29 am
Dear WTB,
I LOVE your website! I have been fascinated by insects for years and whenever I can’t identify one, I almost always can find it on your site. I am stumped on this one though, and hope you can help ID it.
It is a rather large moth for our area, about 3 or 4 inches long. We spotted this moth in a farm field on eastern Long Island, NY on September 30th around noon. The farm was growing pumpkins, raspberries, apples and sunflowers.
I was looking around the web and thought it sort of looked like a ghost moth or a a hawk moth, but I wasn’t really sure.
Thanks for you awesome site!
Signature: -Lauren, Long Island, NY

Five Spotted Hawkmoth

Hi Lauren,
We believe this is a Five Spotted Hawkmoth, and you can read more about it on Sphingidae of the Americas.