From the monthly archives: "December 2012"

Subject: Thirsty Red Admiral
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
December 5, 2012 10:38 pm
Among the butterflies drinking water droplets in the garden today was this beautiful butterfly. Is it a Brushfooted butterfly, a Red Admiral? Our dry spell continues with warm temps and a cloudless sky today.
Signature: Ellen

Red Admiral

Hi Ellen,
We have already gone on record with our opinion that the Red Spotted Purple is the loveliest North American Butterfly, but we have to say that no North American butterfly has more personality than the Red Admiral.

Red Admiral


Subject: aussietrev Another Spiny Leaf Beetle
Location: Nth Burnett. Queensland Australia
December 5, 2012 11:06 pm
Hi guys,
Here is an Australian Spiny Leaf Beetle to go with that one from Indonesia. These are minute. This one is sitting on a blade of grass.
Signature: Aussietrev

Spiny Leaf Beetle

Hi Trevor,
Thanks for help identifying the Indonesian Spiny Leaf Beetle and your own submission of its Australian relative is a marvelous addition to our archives.

Subject: spiked
Location: Taman hutan insinyur haji juanda, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
December 5, 2012 4:54 am
I found this little guy in the forest 12/25/2010.
black on the back with spikes on it and gold on the other side.
size not more than 1 cm.
It flew from a tree to my friends arm where I took the photo.
Signature: Mohamad Idham Iskandar

Spiny Leaf Beetle

Dear Mohamad,
This is sure an interesting looking critter.  We haven’t the time to research it at this moment, but we want to post your photos.  We believe this might be a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae.

Leaf Beetle, we believe

Update:  Spiny Leaf Beetle
Thanks to a comment from Trevor, we have this link to a Spiny Leaf Beetle in the genus

Thanks Daniel and Trevor for the id, it sure is an interesting looking little guy especially the gold color.

Subject: pumpkin spider?
Location: Morgantown, WV
December 3, 2012 11:37 am
Hello Bugman,
This is a new one to me – a very bright orange spider. Looking at your site, my guess is that it’s a pumpkin spider? Anyway, I was hoping you would enjoy a picture of a beautiful spider in December! We are having a warm spell here – this was taken near Morgantown, WV. Thank you for your wonderful site!
Signature: Bugwatcher Guitry

Pumpkin Spider

Dear Bugwatcher Guitry,
Thanks so much for sending your late season photograph of what we agree is a Pumpkin Spider,
Araneas marmoreus.  We believe the common name Pumpkin Spider is used to describe this highly variable species when it is orange in coloration and it appears near Halloween.  The more frequently used common name for the species is the Marbled Orbweaver, and it is highly variable in coloration.  We just returned from Thanksgiving holiday in nearby northeast Ohio, and it was comfortably warm while we were there, though we did experience one snow shower that did not stick for long.  Alas, Orbweavers like this Pumpkin Spider do not live more than one season, and we suspect this gal’s days are numbered.  We have a beautiful large Barn Spider in the genus Neoscona that builds a large web on our patio each night and stations herself in the middle of the web awaiting hapless prey attracted by the porch light.  Even in Southern California, we don’t expect her to survive much longer.

Subject: Found cocoon
Location: Charlotte NC
December 4, 2012 1:30 pm
Hey there. I believe I have a sphinx moth but am not sure. Found this beauty on my chrysanthemum and pulled it off thinking it was dead twig. After I had it in my fingers it started rattling around in the cocoon. Would love to see it hatch but don’t want to hurt it. Suggestions? Thanks!!
Signature: Friend in Bugs, Danielle

Polyphemus Cocoon

Dear Danielle,
This is not the cocoon of a Sphinx Moth.  Most Sphinx Moths do not spin a cocoon, but rather the caterpillars burrow and form a naked pupa underground.  We believe this is a Giant Silkmoth Cocoon, most likely that of a Polyphemus Moth or possibly a Luna Moth.  This image of a Polyphemus Cocoon from BugGuide looks very similar.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can confirm its identification.
  You should not bring the cocoon indoors as it will most likely hatch prematurely and the adult moth will not be able to find a mate and reproduced.  A cage in a protected area that is approximately the same temperature as the outside environment will provide a suitable habitat and you may be lucky enough to witness the eclosion or emergence of the adult moth. 

I contacted Bill already and he confirmed it is a Polyphemus moth!!  I am truly excited. I have never seen one around my home. He suggested that the rattling was the pupae, not the moth and to bring it in to the fridge crisper now and let it emerge in April. He gave me instructions and links to follow to insure my moth doesn’t get hurt.  Since they only live to reproduce for a week, I don’t want it to emerge now! I appreciate your response as I know you guys are very busy .  I will be putting a cage out in the spring so we can see the emergence! Will send pictures then. Hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!


Subject: Unknown Prominent Moth
Location: Nth Burnett. Queensland Australia
December 4, 2012 2:09 am
Hi guys,
A first encounter with this big beautiful moth and so far no luck in a positive ID. It is possibly the Eucalyptus Prominent Moth but there are few photos of it on the net and none of them very good.
I have submitted an ID request with our CSIRO’s Living Atlas project but so far they can’t provide an ID. The moth is 50mm with a wingspan around 80mm. The abdomen is orange as are the hind wings.
I particularly love the blue bands on the palps. Any ideas anyone?
Signature: Aussietrev

Fruit Piercing Moth

Hi Trevor,
If you ever determine the species of this comely Prominent Moth, please let us know.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist as well.

Fruit Piercing Moth

Update:  Eudocima fullonia
Thanks to a comment from Trevor, we now know that this is a Fruit Piercing Moth, Eudocima fullonia, and it is profiled on Butterfly House.