From the monthly archives: "December 2012"

Subject: Many Yellow Butterflies Keeping Me from Work
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
December 4, 2012 3:22 pm
I’ve never tried to capture or identify the yellow butterflies that constantly seem to visit our yard, but today this seems so much more entertaining than sitting at the work table. 🙂 I don’t know if I have this one right, but I think it’s in the Pieridae family, perhaps a Mexican yellow, Eurema mexicana. I looked in Bug Guide and in Butterflies and Moths of North America. I’m so sorry it isn’t a better photo. The weather continues warm and partly cloudy here in central Texas.
Signature: Ellen

Sleepy Orange

Hi Ellen,
We like your attitude.  You properly identified the family, but we believe this is a winter form of the Sleepy Orange,
Lbaeis nicippe, based on this photo on BugGuideIt is described on BugGuide as being:  “A medium-sized Pierid with a rather slow flight, usually close to the ground. Upperside of wings flash a lovely burnt orange. Underside of wings have variable markings: in winter form, underside of hindwing is brick red, brown, or tan; in summer form it is orange-yellow. Diagonal brown markings on underside of hindwings are distinguishable in all variations.”

update on Monarch Caterpillars
Location:  Hawthorne, CA
December 3, 2012
Hi Daniel,
I found what I think are the two oldest caterpillars munching on the milkweed flowers this morning.  My total count this morning was nine.  Some hatched later on and are just now starting to develop their antennae.  Sorry about the blurriness of the younger, it’s a bit dark & wet out there today.

Monarch Caterpillars

Hi Anna,
Thanks for the update on your Monarch Caterpillars.  We are happy to hear that at least nine individuals have weathered the series of “storms” we had over the weekend.

Monarch Caterpillars

Update:  December 5, 2012
Here are two photos of one caterpillar in two stages of molting.  First is just the skin, second is the skin and the “helmet”.

Monarch Caterpillar

Thanks for the update Anna.  They are really starting to look like Monarch Caterpillars now.

Monarch Caterpillar


Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Grand River, northeastern Ohio
December 2, 2012 10:14 am
We found this bug in the shallows of the Grand River in NE Ohio in early november. Only the 1st 3 pairs of protrusions are legs, the rest are just spines. 4 inches long end-to-end.
Never seen anything like it. What is it?
Signature: Ian Griffith


Hi Ian,
The aquatic Hellgrammite, the larva of the winged Dobsonfly, is a favored bait of freshwater fishermen.

Subject: Please identify this insect
Location: Wallan, Victoria. Australia
December 3, 2012 4:39 am
Our gum and bottlebrush trees have been covered with tens of thousands of these green flying insects. Please help with identifying the insect and what are the dangers to our trees.
Thank you in advance.
Signature: Dean and Rose Joyce

Plague Soldier Beetles

Dear Dean and Rose,
We quickly identified your beetles as Plague Soldier Beetles, Chauliognathus lugubris or Chauliognathus pulchellus on the Brisbane Insect website.  The site indicates “Sometimes we found the swarms of Plague Soldier Beetles. The aggregations are believed for the purpose of breeding. Most of them in the aggregation are mating.”  Despite the common name, they are not considered a threat to the plants, though large numbers might be considered a nuisance.  Soldier Beetles, according to the Brisbane Insect family page for Cantharidae:  “are abundant on flowers and foliage where they feed on nectar, pollen, or other small insects.”  Both Gum and Bottlebrush produce pollen, so there is an ample food source on those trees.  Additionally, Soldier Beetles are beneficial as they feed on insects that are injurious to the trees like Aphids and Hoppers.  The Wild World of Pests website states:  “Every spring I marvel at the numbers of insects devoured by soldier beetles.  They’re real troopers in the war on damaging insect in my landscape. … Between the soldier beetles and the ladybugs I don’t have much to worry about, when it comes to aphids.  Soldier beetles, sometimes known as leather backs are voracious feeders.  The larvae are quite efficient at dispatching aphids and other plant pests, including spider mites, grasshopper eggs, gypsy moth caterpillars, eastern tent caterpillars birch leaf miners, elm leaf beetles, oak webworms, lilac leaf miners, cucumber beetle larvae and many more garden pests.  The adults devour large quantities of aphids, but also enjoy nectar and pollen, so it’s a good idea to have lots of flowers around to attract them.” Since the Brisbane Insect website indicates that these large aggregations might be related to mating behavior, we are tagging this posting as Bug Love.

Plague Soldier Beetles

Subject: What on earth is this thing!?
Location: East Coast, USA
December 2, 2012 9:38 pm
I saw this on the east coast, USA, in a parking lot- What on earth is this!? I have video of it walking too.
Signature: MetalJay


Dear MetalJay,
This is a Walkingstick or Stick Insect and they are easily overlooked when they are on plants as they are excellently camouflaged.

Subject: What this bug?
Location: Situ Cileunca, Warnasari, Pangalengan, West Java, Indonesia
December 2, 2012 3:48 pm
Take a picture of this bug 11/27/2010 on my insect hunting photo, but I don’t know what is it.
Signature: Mohamad Idham Iskandar


Dear Mohamad,
This is a Weevil, a type of Beetle often referred to as a Snout Beetle.  We are uncertain of the species.


Thanks Daniel, now I know where I should search :).