From the monthly archives: "September 2013"

Subject: What kind of wasp is this
Location: Pensacola, Florida
September 24, 2013 12:56 pm
I found a couple of wasps nests around an old building and noticed two types of wasps. One type looked normal but the other type had very long wings. What type of Wasp is this
Signature: Lanhill

Paper Wasps

Paper Wasps

Hi Lanhill,
These are Paper Wasps in the genus Polistes.  They are not considered dangerous, though we have been getting numerous reports of aggressive Red Wasps recently.

Subject: caterpillar Joshua tree nat. park
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, CA
September 29, 2013 12:53 am
I would like to identify this caterpillar. We saw it on 21September at Joshua Tree National Park around noon. It was a ”cool” day with about 85F (after weeks getting over 100F).
It was on the hike to 49 palms Oasis which is in the northen part of the park.
Thank you for your help 🙂
Signature: Viv

Probably Buck Moth Caterpillar

Buck Moth Caterpillar

Hi Viv,
We believe this is a Buck Moth caterpillar in the genus
Hemileuca.  There are several California species including the Juno Buck Moth, Hemileuca juno.

Hi Daniel,
that is so cool. thanks so much for the info.
Your guys rock 🙂

Subject: Cocoon or Fugus?
Location: Port Saint Lucie, FL 34953
September 28, 2013 11:51 am
This is growing on a dead Queen Palm in my yard in Port Saint Lucie, FL. It looks like a large cluster of bug cocoons but I’m not sure…I could be some kind of fungus. I hope you know what it is.
Penny Oliver
Signature: Penny Oliver

Fungus we believe

Fungus we believe

Hi Penny,
Our money is on a fungus.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply additional details.

Subject: Asian Longhorn beetle??
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma
September 28, 2013 10:03 am
In 1984 when I was taking entomology I captured this bug along the Arkansas river walk in Tulsa Oklahoma. I always just assumed it was an Asian Longhorn beetle, so I never double checked myself…but now while doing some more research I am seeing that the Asian Longhorn beetle seems to be more ”spotted” rather than striped. The specimen is 2 1/8 inch long from top of head to end of abdomen, so quite a large beetle. Did I misidentify this guy? He’s still in my collection, so I’d love to correct any mistake I may have made.
Signature: BugLady


Longicorn is Batocera species

Dear BugLady,
First we want to commend you on preserving your insect collection for nearly 30 years.  We just lamented that a collector who captured a lovely Carolina Tiger Beetle would most likely discard it after receiving a grade.  This is not an Asian Longhorn, but the family Cerambycidae is correct.  We will attempt to get you a species identification.

Hi Mr. Marlos,
Not only have I preserver my collection, it has been the foundation of my business…started three years ago.
It’s a long story, but I have been fascinated by insects since the age of 8. I mainly studied Lepidoptera mimicry in graduate school…and I gave my collection a glance now and then…The beetle I caught while biking along the Tulsa River Walk  on the way to school, and he always gave me pause, because I assumed identification and never verified it…..
(I had to bike back to my college apartment one handed, while holding this guy…and he scratched the * %^% out of my hand.)
I respect everything I mounted and I have had my collection museum crated and moved at great expense when I moved cross country. It is the center of my living room wall now…
I am always saddened by the people that tell me they had a collection and then discarded it…I think life, even insects, deserve respect, and we need to use it to teach future generations about the beauty and diversity of nature and the need to preserve and protect the world around us.

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:
Well, it is certainly not a species native to the U.S.  My best guess is Batocera wallacei, or at least something in the genus Batocera.  Sometimes insects like this sneak in on commerce from other parts of the world, but….
I’m copying my reply to Ted MacRae, who knows far more about longhorn beetles than I do.  Hopefully he will weigh in, too.

Hi again BugLady,
It appears we owe you an apology.  While your beetle is not THE Asian Longhorn,
Anoplophora glabripennis, that has gained such notoriety in recent years (see Asian Longhorned Beetle website), it is AN Asian Longhorn.  We are awaiting additional input from Ted MacRae.  While this is a non-native species, we don’t have any indication that it was able to reproduce in Oklahoma, so it is most likely not an invasive species, however we are nonetheless tagging it as an Invasive Exotic species. 

Ted MacRae provides his expertise
Hi Daniel,
Eric is right, it is a species of Batocera, a genus native to Africa and southeast Asia.
It is common for large, exotic longhorned beetles to be captured emerging from furniture or pallets once in the U.S., but it is another thing to find one out in the wild – especially one as large and spectacular as Batocera. I’d need some convincing that this doesn’t represent merely a mislabeled specimen.
Best regards,

Editor’s Note:  Cold Case
Since so much time has elapsed, it is likely we will never know for sure how this African/Asian Longicorn found its way to the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Perhaps the river was used to transport goods brought from Asia.  A warehouse nearby might have housed the goods that included crating or palettes that contained the pupa that eventually emerged and was captured by BugLady.  This is all speculation of course.

Hi Daniel,
Her story seems to be valid – the part about biking back home one-handed while the beetle clawed her other hand convinced me.
I’m just glad this species apparently never established in the U.S., but it is quite extraordinary that it made it all the way into the middle of the country and was then found by somebody with an interest in insects.
Best regards,

Very Interesting…and somewhat exciting! I always meant to get a positive ID on this one…just never got around to it until now…
The specimen was definitely captured by me in 1984. It has been in my collection ever since and nothing has been switched or mislabeled. It is actually the only large longhorn in that collection and I did not collect non-native species until well into 2000.
The River Walk in Tulsa Oklahoma runs along the Arkansas river. There is a port in Catoosa Oklahoma. Maybe it came in on a shipment…or maybe there is a breeding population that just has not been recorded yet…How many entomologists are looking for beetles along that area?

Editor’s Note
We requested permission to use BugLady’s real name and to provide a link to her business.

Not at all…It would  great!
On another note…please realize that in the early 1980s the internet was not what it is today…(also I was not a computer person), so although it is easy to find help with Insect identification now, back then websites like yours did not exist, and even though I checked a few books and nothing really matched this specimen so I labeled it “Asian Longhorn Beetle” and then went along my way…but I have always wanted to get a positive ID, so I thank you for your help with that!
Katja Hilton
Amazing & Beautiful Butterflies

Subject: What’s happening here?
Location: Houston area, Texas
September 28, 2013 1:00 pm
I walked around these bugs in our river birch sapling for 10 minutes, trying to get my camera to focus on the right thing and also to figure out what was going on — if they were mating, or if one was getting eaten.
They were both about an inch and a half long. One appeared solid black with very hairy legs. The other, looking at the photo now, appears to be black and yellow.
Is the black one squeezing the other so hard it’s innards have come out?
They stayed where they were for about 5 minutes until I ventured too close, at which time the black one flew off, carrying the other one with it.
Signature: Jayne

Robber Fly eats Prey

Robber Fly eats Prey

Hi Jayne,
This is a nice photo for our Food Chain tag.  The predator is a Robber Fly, most likely a Bee Killer in the genus
Mallophora, possibly a Belzebul Bee Eater.  We cannot identify the prey from your photo, but it does not appear to be a bee or wasp which frequently fall prey to large Robber Flies.

Subject: Caterpillar id
Location: Deatsville, Alabama
September 28, 2013 1:17 pm
Found this quick scooting caterpillar in September 2013.
The ”eye markings” are very distinctive, and I’m hoping you can tell me what it is.
Signature: Sheri M.

Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail

Hi Sheri,
This is the caterpillar of a Spicebush Swallowtail,
Papilio troilus.