From the monthly archives: "September 2013"

Subject: Is it an Emperor Butterfly?
Location: Coryell County, Texas
September 28, 2013 12:29 am
I noticed this camouflaged butterfly today only because I accidentally disturbed it. Is it an Emperor butterfly, perhaps a Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis) ? It kept going back to the crepe myrtle tree, hanging head down. I read that the male Emperors tend to hang head down and wait for females to fly by. This butterfly seems a bit worn; we’ve had some stormy weather.
Thank you!
Here is a Bug Guide page: http://bugguide.net/node/view/743948#1332222
Signature: Ellen

Emperor Butterfly

Hackberry Emperor Butterfly

Dear Ellen,
You are correct that this is one of the Emperor Butterflies, most likely the Hackberry Emperor.

Hackberry Emperor

Hackberry Emperor

Subject: Grasshopper in Oaxaca
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
September 27, 2013 7:55 pm
My husband found this colorful grasshopper in the garden last week. When I went to see what he was so excited about it flew to the other side of the garden and it was so pink as it flew that it looked like a butterfly to me. When he landed it was obviously not a butterfly but neither of us had ever seen such a beautiful and colorful grasshopper before. Attached are a couple pictures, I have more if you would like. We were just wondering what this beautiful creature is called. Thank you.
Signature: ML

Horse Lubber

Lubber Grasshopper from Mexico

Dear ML,
We believe this is a Horse Lubber in the genus
Taeniopoda, however we have not had any luck identifying it to the species level.  According to BugGuide, there are “Approximately 10 or 12 Central American and Mexican species, with only one found north of Mexico in the sw. United States.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Large clumsy grasshoppers, usually yellow and black in color with hind wings red bordered black and tegmina having a netted pattern of black and yellow that follows the veins. Most individuals cannot fly, but some with longest wings can apparently add some distance to their jumps, almost, but not quite taking to the air.”  The markings on your individual are somewhat different from Taeniopoda eques which is found in the southwest portion of the United States, so we suspect you have a different species.

Horse Lubber from Mexico

Lubber Grasshopper from Mexico

Update:  October 22, 2013
We received a comment from Dominik who indicated this appears to look more like a Lubber in the genus Chromacris, and we found an image on PBase and several on FlickR that are a visual match as well as the  link to Orthoptera Species File provided in the comment.

Subject: Fast Metallic insect
Location: Coastal Texas. More specifically, Port Comfort.
September 28, 2013 12:19 pm
Unfortunately, I had to pin this amazing guy for a project. He is a metallic green with some purplish in the center, and has beige eye spots and legs. I thought he would be an easy catch. I was absolutely wrong. This was probably one of the hardest ones I’ve caught, because of his size, speed, and determination to not give up. Took about 4 minutes of *almost* catching him, I finally got him. Then, moving him into my kill jar, he got out and it was another 5 minute chase around my house. After about 5 hours, I tried to move him out to pin. Turns out I forgot alcohol and he was still alive. Fast forward 3 minutes and another 5 hours (with alcohol) and here he is. Hope you can I.D. him.
Signature: Insect Chaser

Tiger Beetle

Possibly Carolina Tiger Beetle

Dear Insect Chaser,
We found your letter very amusing, though we are saddened that this lovely Tiger Beetle has ended its life as a part of a collection that will most likely be discarded after you receive a grade.  We scanned the possible species on BugGuide, but our quick search did not produce a species match.

Update:  Carolina Tiger Beetle perhaps
Shortly after posting, we realized this might be a Carolina Tiger Beetle,
Tetracha carolina, which BugGuide describes as:  “dorsal surface glossy metallic green, often mixed with red or purple; large cream-colored spots (apical lunules) at apex of elytra.”

Subject: Devil Scorpion ?
Location: Gwinnett County, Lilburn, Georgia
September 27, 2013 12:40 pm
Hi,
I found this guy while removing some old Railroad Ties from a dilapidated flower bed. When I lifted the RR Tie, he was just sitting there with discarded carcasses strewn about – as if I had uncovered his Evil Lair. I thought he was dead at first…. just laying there flat as a potato chip. However, as I was trying to scrape him into my bug-examining jar, he sprang to life and ran over my hand and under my shoe. As my vision narrowed and I started seeing stars, all I could think was he was probably scampering around my shoe and about to climb the back of my leg. As I lifted my foot, he just laid there, doing his ”potato chip” routine again. Not to be fooled again, I opted to scoop him ( and everything around him) up into the jar. While I was trying to take his picture, he again sprang to life and went sky-diving off my patio table onto my leg…..I’ve never been so thankful not to be wearing shorts. With some deft maneuvering I was ab le to get him back on the table without getting stung, pinched, or fouling my pants. It is absolutely amazing how fast this critter can move. He’s only about 1 inch long…..sorry I don’t have anything in the picture for size comparison. He looked like he was getting cranky ( I suspect he was born that way) so I wrapped up the photo shoot and released him in the most remote section of my back yard ….. despite threats and protests from my mother and sister. I’ve lived in Georgia pretty much all my life and this is only the 3 scorpion I’ve ever found here. According to the WWW there are only two species of scorpion native to Georgia, and since I didn’t see any stripes on my guy, and I live about 25 miles north of Atlanta, I can only conclude that I have the ”Devil” scorpion gallivanting around my back yard. I didn’t really find any Scorpions on your website, despite browsing for more than an hour ….. so I&#8 217;m not sure if maybe you don’t consider them bugs or maybe they’re not very common. I’ve flipped over a ton of stones and boards in my 45+ years on this earth and this is only the 3rd one I’ve ever seen. So, I tend to think that they are pretty good at hiding, or they are at least relatively scarce … at least here in Georgia.
Signature: Scorpion Landlord

Bark Scorpion perhaps

Devil Scorpion perhaps

Hi Scorpion Landlord,
We found your letter to by highly entertaining and we commend you on the dedication to getting a photo of this wily Scorpion.  Dave’s Garden identifies
Vaejovis carolinianus as the Southern Devil Scorpion, yet BugGuide does not recognize that name, preferring instead the Southern Unstriped Scorpion.  We cannot understand why you couldn’t locate any Scorpions on our site and we do consider them to be bugs which we loosely define as “things that crawl.”  We have a Scorpion and Whipscorpion category in the link list on the left side of our homepage, and the search engine on our site should also have produced postings from our archive.  We are tagging you with the Bug Humanitarian award for defying your mother and sister.

I finally found the Scorpion section of your website, after I submitted the email.  I have a terrible tendency to totally miss something that’s staring me right in the face…..sometimes the harder I look for something the less likely I am to find it.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my new backyard buddy.  While I hope he lives a normal Scorpion life in my backyard habitat, I’m not looking forward to crossing his path again.

Subject: Large Red Spider and Red web
Location: Weber, Florida
September 26, 2013 5:11 pm
Hi,
A friend of mine lives in Florida. As she went out to get in the vehicle, she almost ran directly into this red spider. None of us know what type of spider this is, as we have never seen a red spider or one that spins a red web. Could you help me to Identify this one, and tell us if it is poisonous or not? Thank You so Much!
Signature: Madonna

Unnatural Red Glow Filter on Golden Silk Spider

Unnatural Red Glow Filter on Golden Silk Spider

Dear Madonna,
The unnatural red glow on this Golden Silk Spider,
Nephila clavipes, is quite jarring, but not as jarring as the Pest truck in the background with haf of its logo cropped out.  Golden Silk Spiders are not considered dangerous, but we are quite convinced they have very strong fangs that will easily pierce human skin.  Read about Old World Golden Silk Spiders.

Subject: Do You Want Pictures of a Cicada Ecdysis/Molt?
Location: Duncanville, Texas
September 26, 2013 7:12 pm
Hi bugman,
Cicada’s are a buzzin’ in Texas this time of year (late in the Summer [not Fall]). I found several molts, and took several pictures of one. Would you be interested in including this one on your website? Sorry about the side view. I’ll try to send you a better picture. I also have head and tail views as well. Notice the dried mud on the legs, and also the siphon/tube of a mouth. Very cool. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see those cool colors on the molt.
Signature: Keith Minor

Cicada Exuvia:  Ventral View

Cicada Exuvia: Ventral View

Hi Keith,
Thanks for the Texas Cicada report.  Cicadas do make quite a din and it is a sound we miss in Los Angeles because our local species don’t have the same internal amplification systems as the more Eastern species.  This might be the first ventral view we have ever received of a Cicada exuvia.

Cicada Exuvia:  Dorsal View

Cicada Exuvia: Dorsal View

Hi Daniel,
Glad I could add to the wealth of great info on your website : )
I’ll get you a better picture of the side view.  I’m not sure why it came out kind of grainy.
I have a couple of questions:
On the mid-ventral side, what is that round “belly button” disk?
Also, I see some ligament looking features around the opening of the old exoskeleton.  Is that from the cicada or is it just some plant material?
Why is there so much dirt on the legs and mouth?  I assume from the shapes of the legs that that cicada’s are diggers.  Are they looking for food?
Can you tell males from females from the molt?
Oh!  If you include my blurb, can you change “late Fall” to “late Summer”?  I’ve got Fall on the brain, waiting for the TX August/September heat to finally let up.
Kind regards,
Keith

Cicada Exuvia:  Lateral View

Cicada Exuvia: Lateral View

Hi Keith,
In response to your questions:
1.  We don’t know what the “belly button” disk is.
2.  The ligament features come from the cicada, but we are unable to tell you exactly what they are.
3.  The dirt question we know.  Cicada nymphs live for several years, or in the case of some Periodical Cicadas, 17 years, underground where they feed by sucking nourishment from the roots of plants.  When they are nearing maturity, they dig to the surface and molt as part of the metamorphosis process.  Dirt that stuck to the nymph as it dug its way to the surface remained behind with the exuvia after molting.
4.  We do not have the necessary skills to sex the uxuvia of Cicadas.
We will correct the season.

Cicada Exuvia:  Frontal View

Cicada Exuvia: Frontal View

P.S.  Thanks for the additional images.

Cicada Exuvia:  Posterior View

Cicada Exuvia: Posterior View

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for fielding my questions.  I have a keen fascination with insects, yet I know very little about even the ones I see every year.  Although they are often called “lower organisms”, they are amazingly complex and diverse animals.
As promised, please find attached a better side view of the molt.  I accidentally cracked the left leg, so I had to turn the shell around and get the right side instead.  Just as well.
I will try to send more close ups of insects in the future, as the opportunities lend themselves.
Kind regards,
Keith

Cicada Exuvia:  Lateral View

Cicada Exuvia: Lateral View