From the yearly archives: "2012"

Subject: caterpillar wearing flower camoflage
Location: Auburn, NJ
September 9, 2012 8:57 am
Hi Bugman,
I took pics of a little inch worm type caterpillar a couple weeks ago, amazed I had never seen them before. I’ve taken dozens of pics of butterflies on these zinnas, but their camouflage is so effective, I mistook them as part of the flower. Luckily the camera lets me zoom in or I still might have missed them.
Over at bug guide came up with a close relative, but not sure the coloring is quite right to be a match: synchlora aerata? Am I getting close?
Signature: Creek Keeper

Camouflaged Looper

Hi there Creek Keeper,
You have correctly identified this Inchworm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae as the caterpillar of the Wavy-Lined Emerald,
Synchlora aerataAccording to BugGuide:  “Caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants, often composite flowers but also many other flowering plants, shrubs and trees.”  The caterpillars use petals from flowers and other plant parts as a protective covering, hence the common name Camouflaged Looper.  BugGuide also states:  “Caterpillar adorns its body with plant fragments, usually flower petals, to camouflage it as it feeds. It is the only widespread species to do so(2), but from Maryland southwards other Synchlora spp. are also present and only raising to adulthood can yield a definite caterpillar ID.”  Since you are in New Jersey, we are relatively certain that the species identification is correct.

Camouflaged Looper

Ah,Daniel,  thanks so much!  I don’t know why I’m no longer seeing updates for your posts on Facebook, though I used to get them in news feed. If I had, I would have seen your previous posts and not been quite so lost looking for information.    I guess its the time line they changed me too?  But I just spent some time catching up.  Amazing things, bugs are.
thanks again,


Male California Mantis

September 8, 2012
Two nights ago, upon returning past 11 PM, there was a male California Mantis on the garage wall under the light.  We gently captured him and brought him to the front porch, warning him to beware of the very large female Orbweaver that weaves a night web across the front porch.  We have had to divert our normal paths through the yard to preserve her anchor lines.  This morning we photographed the male California Mantis on the window with relatively clear dorsal and ventral views of a living specimen.  The individual we photographed last fall arrived in a similar fashion in October.  We saw an immature possible female at the front porch recently and a nymph on the roses over a month ago.

Male California Mantis

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Marietta, GA
September 6, 2012 2:46 pm
This bug was found where my husband works in Marietta, GA. He took the picture today (Sept 6th) and they work in an industrial park near a small lake, trees, pine straw, etc. We have no idea what it is, can you help?!?
Signature: Ashley F.

Prepupal Hickory Horned Devil

Hi Ashley,
This caterpillar is commonly called a Hickory Horned Devil, and its shape has been altered because it is prepupal, meaning it is about to transform into a pupa.  It appears to be on a hard surface, indicating it was unable to find a place to dig prior to pupation, which is the typical progression of events.  Hickory Horned Devils have been compared to Chinese Dragons by our readers.

Subject: Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars?
Location: Baker, Florida
September 7, 2012 10:00 am
My 6 year old daughter, Ocean Rose, had this very special find in our backyard on September 2, 2012. I’m thinking they may be Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars (because we have alot of those butterflies around here) but wasnt quite sure.
Signature: Heather

Prominent Caterpillars: Datana species

Dear Heather,
Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars only feed on Passionflower vines.  These are Prominent Moth Caterpillars in the genus
Datana, but the different species in the genus have similar looking caterpillars and there is also much variability within each species with regard to markings and coloration.  The posture they assume, with both head and tail end arched above the middle is typical of Datana caterpillars when they are disturbed.  If we knew what plant they were feeding upon, we might be able to determine the species.  See BugGuide for additional information on the genus Datana.

Datana species Caterpillars

Subject: Zebra Stripped Bug
Location: Pacific Northwest, Port Angeles, WA
September 8, 2012 10:36 am
I found this beautiful guy resting on a shovel handle in my yard. He caught my eye as I walked by, due to his size and color. He seemed to be very docile as we moved the shovel around to get a good shot. Nothing seemed to disturb him much. The only movement, a little twitching of his long feelers, which went from completely horizontal to a little arched (as shown in photos). You will be able to determine the size of my friend, while in one of the photos I am holding a quarter next to him. Thanks for what help you can give me.
Signature: Susan

Banded Alder Borer

Dear Susan,
Because of its beautiful shape, elegant antennae and bold, achromatic markings, our editorial staff finds the Banded Alder Borer,
Roslalia funebris, to be the most beautiful North American Beetle.  Your photo really does it justice.  The Banded Alder Borer is a western species and in California it is also called the California Laurel Borer.

Subject: Red Footed Cannibalfly or Bee Panther
Location: Kennesaw GA
September 7, 2012 5:23 pm
I found this big guy eating on a Carpenter Bee. He flew up to the Deck and landed on a chair carrying the Carpenter Bee.
Signature: GA BugHunter

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Carpenter Bee

Dear GA BugHunter,
The Red Footed Cannibalfly or Bee Panther,
Promachus rufipes, is a formidable hunter that seems to prefer to feed upon large bees and wasps that it catches on the wing.  These photos are a wonderful addition to our food chain archive.

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Carpenter Bee