From the yearly archives: "2012"

Subject: Arizona Caterpillars
Location: Congress AZ
September 9, 2012 11:05 pm
Went out this morning to find these little guys all over the ground. I have been in AZ for over 4 yrs now, (5th summer) and I have never seen these before. We have had a lot more rain this summer so we have a lot more vegatation on the ground. They are so thick in this ground cover that you can barely walk without stepping on one. I also noticed that they seem to be trying to burrow into the ground.
Signature: M Lamon

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear M Lamon,
This is the caterpillar of the Whitelined Sphinx,
Hyles lineata, a highly variable caterpillar that is found in all 48 continental states.  Larvae feed on a variety of plants, ensuring the wide range enjoyed by the species.  Numbers can be especially numerous in desert regions where yearly populations fluctuate with the amount of vegetation, and years with more rain produce more vegetation.  In some locations, the caterpillars can be so numerous as to cover the ground, as your letter indicates.  The caterpillars pupate underground which is why you observed so many of them digging beneath the surface.

Subject: Key West Devil Spider
Location: Key West, Florida
September 9, 2012 10:32 pm
Hi, We see this spider that has red horns and a white body and it looks like a magic marker drawing of a face on his body: eyes mustache and a really bad chin strap beard. The only reason I know it is a spider is because it has web. I googled spiders in Key West Florida and a picture of it came up immediately. But only pictures no info. I want to know more about this little guy. Do you know another name for it so I can read a little more info on him.
Signature: Jen

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

Hi Jen,
Now that you know that this is a harmless Crablike Spiny Orbweaver,
Gasteracantha cancriformis, you should be able to find plenty of information on our website, on BugGuide, on the University of Florida website and countless other places on the internet.

Subject: Weird Insect Northern Ontario
Location: Campbellford
September 10, 2012 9:11 am
What IS this?
Signature: Christeen Thornton

Spiny Oak Slug

Hi Christeen,
This caterpillar is commonly called a Spiny Oak Slug.

September 10, 2012 8:27 am
I wonder if you would mind if I “try to” open an identification blog here in Brazil. I’m sure that many people would never send you a request for identification, simply because they don’t know any English. On my other blog I have many visits which I see by Feedjit who came looking for “Is the jewel wasp dangerous to humans?” or “garden spiders”. I also have many contacts on Flickr that occasionally take pictures and I give them an identification. The most interesting pictures, I could ask them if they would like to send it to you.
Another reason that makes me want to do this, is that here there is no good source for identification, any site that tries to bring together in one place our species, and it’s a real loss because our fauna is very rich.
I promise I’ll try not to make mistakes in identifications, reaching only to the family or order in case of doubt, that would be a detriment, I know that misidentifications can become a snowball of mistakes. (Sorry if this is a duplicate message).
Signature: Cesar Crash

Hi Cesar,
We think your idea is a marvelous one, but we are confused as to why you would request our permission.  We are not internet fascists.  We believe in the rights of free speech and freedom of the press, and to that end, we welcome more resources on the internet.  We have noticed that reputable Brazilian identification websites are noticeably absent on the internet.  We already receive more mail than we can respond to so we cannot promise that any requests that come our way will get identified or published.

Well, it’s not like a permission, I just wanted your opinion about this, my idea is not something like a “What’s that bug Brazil” (Whahaha) or something, but it’s really inspired in your job. I’ll tell many people about this project such as Enio Branco (that “Brutamonte” of Ampulex compressa) they might help, because I’m not that good with identification, he’s much better than me, and we can start to make this.
Friday was our Independance Day, so when I turned on the computer today WTB page was on the browser with the message written ready to send, then I was in doubt if I sent Thursday, and I sent it again, now I saw on my e-mail box that I recieved the confirmation.
Today night I’ll upload my images and ask them for some pictures.
Many thanks for the answer!

Good Luck with the Blog Cesar.

Update from Cesar:  October 8, 2012
Well, I think it’s not that ready, but here is the link:

Hi Cesar,
Though we don’t understand Portuguese, your blog is very nice.  Considering the wealth of wildlife in Brazil, there is a dearth of internet information.  Your blog will fill an important niche and we hope you are able to sustain it into the future.

Subject: brown hairy beetle
Location: Maumelle, Arkansas
September 4, 2012 8:57 pm
Found brown hairy beetle on brick path beneath oaks and pines today. He was upside down, eggs moving trying to right himself. Thank you for any help id’ing him.
Signature: Martha

Bumble Flower Beetle

Hi Martha,
This Scarab is a Bumble Flower Beetle,
Euphoria inda, and according to BugGuide:  “Adults visit flowers for pollen and/or nectar. Sometimes damage flowers. Also takes rotting fruit, corn, sap, other plant juices.”  BugGuide also states:  “Larvae usually reported to live in decaying wood, vegetation, and especially, dung (6). Eggs deposited in summer near these food sources. Males often seen searching for newly-emerged females.   Larvae are associated with Formica ants. (1) From Insects of Cedar Creek:   Larvae of these species are reported to live in decaying wood, but I suspect that some live as scavengers in ant nests (primarily those of Formica obscuripes). E. inda (yellow with black flecks) is commonly seen buzzing over Formica mounds in spring. On descending to the mound it is immediately covered by ants.”

Subject: Tiger Swallowtails
Location: Western Kentucky
September 9, 2012 6:47 pm
Dear Staff,
I have a question about the Tiger Swallowtails. I know there is an Eastern, a Western, light phase, dark phase and so on. I live in Kentucky and around the area I have seen different colors on the Tiger Swallowtails. I wondered why some have a lot of blue and some have none at all. I am including three shots of the Tiger Swallowtails from around the area. Two are from 2010, and one from 2011. I have wondered about the reason for the areas of blue on some.
Signature: Janet Fox

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Hi Janet,
This is a very interesting and complicated question and we will try to the best of our ability to answer it correctly.  There are at least five recognized Tiger Swallowtail species:  Pale Tiger Swallowtail, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail as well as a similarly marked western species known as the Two Tailed Swallowtail.  We believe your individuals are Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.  Males lack the dusting of blue scales on the lower wings that are present in the female, so the blue markings can be used to differentiate the sexes.  You can get a full explanation of these differences on BugGuide.  To further complicate things, BugGuide reports hybrids that might occur where the ranges of the different species overlap.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer me.  I have been taking pictures of bugs for a few years now.  I had so many that I could not name and I spent a lot of time trying to find them on your site.  I broke down and bought a Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America.  I still have a couple I can not find in there.  But I am happy to report most of my photos do have names.  Your site is a great resource to me for information and confirming my possibles.  When I started taking random pictures of bugs, I never realized there were so many kinds.  I also didn’t know so many were so pretty.
Thanks again.