From the monthly archives: "September 2013"

Subject: Chrysalis Update
Location: Southwestern Shaanxi Province, China
September 29, 2013 8:28 pm
Thought you might like an update on the caterpillar which was about to transform. I went to see the progress it was making and it has begun its pupation. It’s weird how different the chrysalis looks from the caterpillar!
Signature: Paul UK

Swallowtail Chrysalis

Swallowtail Chrysalis

Hi Paul,
Thanks for the update on the Swallowtail Caterpillar.  We are very curious about the adult butterfly.  Though this chrysalis shares certain features with our more familiar North American Swallowtail species, including the silken girdle and the upright orientation, that thoracic “thorn” is totally unfamiliar to us.  We hope you send us some images of the adult Swallowtail once it emerges.

Subject: Awesome Catepillar
Location: Columbia Basin Plateau in the Shrub Steppe Ecological site (sagebrush – bluebunch wheatgrass community
September 29, 2013 4:25 pm
I am hoping you can identify the black, white, and orange caterpillar shown in the attached photo. The photo was the best I could do with the little camera I had. the location is in Douglas County, North Central Washington State on Big Sagebrush/ Bluebunch Wheatgrass habitat type in the Columbia Basin. This was taken in late August. We observed an Elegant Sheep Moth and thought perhaps it was a caterpillar for that species but from looking at photos of the Elegant Sheep Moth caterpillar it does not appear so. I am hoping to get a nice SLR camera soon so will take better photos. Thanks to you all!
Signature: Randy Kelley

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hi Randy,
This is a Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar in the genus
Cucullia.  Based on your location and the markings on this caterpillar, we believe the likeliest candidate is Cucullia dorsalis, which according to BugGuide is found in the:  “western Rocky Rountains and the Great Basin.”

Subject: please help identify
Location: north central Arkansas
September 29, 2013 12:07 pm
Just came home from church and these guys are all OVER my Rose of Sharon bush. There are hundreds, if not thousands of them. The smallest ones are solid red. The medium ones are spotted, and the largest ones have yellow wings. Can you help identify?
Signature: Kathy Phillips

Scentless Plant Bugs

Scentless Plant Bugs

Hi Kathy,
You have Scentless Plant Bugs,
Niesthrea louisianica, and it appears you have some winged adults as well as several immature instars.

Scentless Plant Bugs

Scentless Plant Bugs

Subject: What is this insect?
Location: NE Ohio
September 29, 2013 9:36 am
This was found in Ohio. I’ve never seen an insect like this let along one that has a stinger that long. Approximate size of stinger was 3-4”
Signature: Mike

Stump Stabber

Stump Stabber

Hi Mike,
This is a female Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, most likely Megarhyssa macrurus or Megarhyssa nortoni.  Giant Ichneumons are commonly called Stump Stabbers.  What you have mistaken for a stinger is the ovipositor of the female.  A female Stump Stabber inserts her ovipositor beneath the bark of a dead or dying tree that is infested with wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail.  Your photo is most interesting for us because we almost always receive images of Stump Stabbers stabbing stumps.  We have read that adults take nectar, and your photo appears to illustrate a nectaring female.

Potato Bug Found Under the Green Bin
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
September 28, 2013 1:57 am
Yesterday while doing yard work, especially cleaning up pine needles that accumulated after the Santa Ana winds on Thursday, Daniel moved the green bin and found this little beauty scurrying away.  Daniel scooped it up and held onto the clawing beastie while trying to find a suitable photo studio.  A two gallon crock with its slick sides seemed the perfect receptacle, and after a few photos, the Potato Bug was released in the garden.

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Most Southern California Potato Bug sightings occur after the rains, so this arid weather sighting seemed a bit unusual.  Upon being released into the damp ground on the northern side of the yard, the Potato Bug dug beneath the surface in about 30 seconds. 

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Julian Donahue Comments.
I often find them when digging in the yard, but when it rains they often get flooded out and become more conspicuous.
And I think you meant “pine needles” rather than “pine needs”?

 

 

Subject: What is this?!
Location: Orange County, CA
September 29, 2013 1:57 am
Earlier today my grandma found this bug outside her hotel room. Neither of us knew what it was or if it is dangerous or not. We both think it looks like a giant ant or termite. I hope you can tell what it is. Thank you.
Signature: Maggy

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Hi Maggy,
This is a Potato Bug, one of the most iconic of Southern California insects.  Daniel just encountered a Potato Bug while doing yard work yesterday, and he stopped to take some photos.  He thought it was a somewhat unseasonal sighting because most reports of Potato Bugs come after the rains.  Santa Ana winds were blowing earlier in the week and things are very dry, and we would not expect Potato Bugs to be coming to the surface under such arid conditions.