From the monthly archives: "March 2013"

Subject: Night butterfly or moth
Location: costa rica
March 24, 2013 2:21 pm
a beautifull insect from Peninsula de Osa
Signature: fred from belgium

Tiger Moth:  Amastus aconia

Tiger Moth: Amastus aconia

Hi Fred,
We took a brief break from gardening to answer the phone and then checked the computer, and we got sucked into trying to identify this lovely Tiger Moth.  We
found an identification request on InsectNet where it is identified as Amastus aconia.  There is a link to a live specimen on TropicLeps.  Now we have to weed the vegetable patch and get the tomato, jalapeño and basil plants in the ground.

Subject: black furry ant
Location: Malaysia
March 24, 2013 5:23 am
size: ~1.5cm
slow moving
found in low land tropical forest nearby a stream.
is it an ant or a velvet ant?
Signature: wxchew

Velvet Ant

Ant:  Echinopla malanarctos 

Hi wxchew,
Unless we are greatly mistaken, this is a Velvet Ant in the family Mutillidae, and not a true ant.  Velvet Ants are flightless female wasps that are reported to pack a very painful sting.  Male Velvet Ants have wings.

Correction:  Echinopla melanarctos
Thanks to wxchew who wrote back in a comment, we now know that this is a real Ant, Echinopla melanarctos.

Subject: black with yellow stripes
Location: Missouri-USA
March 24, 2013 5:37 am
Yes we live in Missouri and in the last few weeks we have had this flying black and yellow striped bug in our house and there are several of them, what are they and how do i get rid of them, I’m not even sure how they are getting in the house. its cold and snowing out and they are still here. Please help
Signature: Kevin Kearns

Hickory or Locust Borers

Hickory or Locust Borers

Hi Kevin,
The best way to get rid of these Hickory Borers or Locust Borers is to stop bringing them into the house in the first place.  Both species are closely related and they have larvae that bore in wood.  We suspect you brought in some firewood, possibly hickory, pecan or black locust, and rather than burning it immediately, you left it where you keep the indoor wood supply.  The heat of the home triggered an early emergence of the adult beetles.  They will not reinfest the wood in your home or furniture as they are only interested in laying eggs in living or recently dead trees as a food source for the larvae.  The two species are very difficult to tell apart, but Hickory Borers,
Megacyllene caryae, are active as adults in the spring, and Locust Borers, Megacyllene robiniae, are active as adults in the autumn when they are often found feeding on the pollen of goldenrod.

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Cairns Queensland Australia
March 24, 2013 6:36 am
Hi,
I would love if you could identify this caterpillar for me. It was found on my Kafir Lime Tree in Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, Australia. It is currently the end if the Wet Season, or the beginning of the Sourhern Hemisphere Autumn.
Signature: Scott Duncan

Fuscus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Fuscus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Scott,
Initially we thought this was an Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillar, but your individual lacks the fleshy bumps characteristic of the Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillar, so we did some additional research and found the Fuscus Swallowtail,
Papilio fuscus, pictured on Butterfly House website where it is described as:  “green or brown, mottled with orange, green, yellow, and white, and has a white line along each side. The thoracic and the final abdominal segment each have a pair of conical lumps. The thorax is humped.”  Butterfly House also indicates:  “The species occurs in the tropical coastal areas of Australia, as several races” with the Queensland subspecies being Papilio fuscus capaneus.  It appears this is a new species for our site, so were curious if perhaps we had some individuals misidentified as Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillars, but in checking, we have no other Fuscus Swallowtail Caterpillars on our site.  Only the adult and not the caterpillar is pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website.  The red horns pictured in your photo is a scent organ, normally concealed, known as the osmeterium.  When the caterpillar is disturbed, it reveals the organ that produces a scent thought to repel predators.  The organ might also give the caterpillar the appearance of a snake which could startle a bird into fleeing, rather than trying to eat the caterpillar.  Many Swallowtail and Birdwing species have caterpillars that possess an osmeterium.

Subject: orb spider?
Location: Ballito, KZN, South Africa
March 24, 2013 12:34 am
This spider in in an outdoor shed in Ballito, KZN, South Africa.
Can you tell me what it is?
Signature: Jeremy Lamb

Red Legged Nephila

Red Legged Nephila

Hi Jeremy,
While trying to determine your Orbweaver’s identity, we found this online article from Wildlife Extra with the headline “New ‘giant’ Golden orb spider discovered in South Africa” describing the discovery of a new species of
 Nephila in museum collections and they verifying it in the wild.  The photo illustrating the article was of Nephila inaurata, which looks surprisingly like your individual, but the article was about a different species, Nephila komaci, that was not pictured.  So, while your spider is in the same genus as the newly discovered spider, it is a different species.  The Red Legged Golden Orb Spider, Nephila inaurata, is also pictured on BioDiversity Explorer.  Spiders in the genus Nephila spin webs made of golden silk.

Subject: Water larvae
Location: Beaverton, Oregon
March 22, 2013 8:17 pm
My son and I found this bug in a vernal pool. I cannot figure out what it is, but I hope never to meet one in a dark alley at night. I have two pictures, one of the whole bug and one through a microscope that shows its formidable mandibles. We would be most grateful to know more about it.
Many thanks,
Laura
Signature: Laura B

Diving Beetle Larva

Diving Beetle Larva

Hi Laura,
This is the larva of an Aquatic Beetle, and we believe it is the larva of a Predaceous Diving Beetle in the family Dytiscidae.  Here is a photo from BugGuide that looks very similar.  We are sorry but we do not have the necessary skills to identify this to the species level.  We remember these larvae being called Water Tigers in an old aquarium book by Innes.

Head of a Water Tiger

Head of a Water Tiger

Daniel,
Thank you!  You are clearly the Patron Saint of creepy-crawlies and those who appreciate them!
With deepest admiration,
Laura