From the daily archives: "Sunday, December 1, 2013"

Subject: Unicorn caterpillar
Location: white river junction vermont
December 1, 2013 8:56 pm
Is this some new mythological creature?!
This slug of a bug was found in white river junction vermont the morning after a soft frost. Just amonst the grass, granting wishes and spinning rainbows. I noticed a school sent you a request for a similar looking insect. Good luck and thanks for responding ahead of time.
Signature: the rich bees

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi rich bees,
This Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar,
Sphinx kalmiae, is easily recognized by its textured blue and black caudal horn.  These caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of shrubs, including “Ash, fringe-tree, lilac, privet, and plants in the olive family (Oleaceae)” according to BugGuide.  More information on the Laural Sphinx is available on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Thank you Daniel!
You guys are the coolest. I cannot wait to tell the family and my professor who is a bit of an insect fanatic himself.

Subject: What is this bug on my puppy?
Location: USA, California, SF Bay Area
December 1, 2013 11:23 am
Hi my name is Bosco and I’m a yellow Labrador. This bug was found feeding on my lower groin area. I acquired this bug in the Coastal Redwoods, late November, sunny day, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The area where the bug latched on is quite red and irritated. This one is quite unlike other bugs that like me. Can you please help me ID this insect?
Signature: Bosco

Tick

Tick

Hi Bosco,
You had a blood engorged Tick that looks like it had a very good meal at your expense.

Subject: Cool moth
Location: South Florida (Miami)
December 1, 2013 9:12 am
I would like to know what kind of moth this is, I found it sitting outside on a leaf near my oak trees.
Signature: Jessica

Streaked Sphinx

Streaked Sphinx

Hi Jessica,
This beautiful and very streamlined moth is a Streaked Sphinx,
Protambulyx strigilis, and you can read more about this species on Sphingidae of the Americas.  It seems Florida sightings are getting more and more common, and this might be a direct effect of global warming.

Streaked Sphinx

Streaked Sphinx

Subject: cateplillar with eyes to scare predators?
Location: gurgaon,india
December 1, 2013 8:41 am
We found this caterpillar in our garden- Gurgaon, India…and it looked beautiful and scary at first sight!!if there is one, does it mean there will be others too in our garden? in fact we saw another green with black strips ( pic-3) caterpillars in our garden!!
Our 8 year old daughter- Arushi- clicked these pictures….and we are very keen to find out more about them( both caterpillars )
Thanks
Signature: Arushi

Swallowtail Caterpiller

Swallowtail Caterpiller

Hello again Arushi,
Your second caterpillar is a Swallowtail Caterpillar, and in our opinion it is one of the species that feeds on the leaves of citrus trees.  Your photo does not have enough detail for a definite species identification, but we believe this is one of two species.  It is either a Lime Butterfly,
Papilio demoleus malayanus, or a Common Mormon, Papilio polytes.

Subject: cateplillar with eyes to scare predators?
Location: gurgaon,india
December 1, 2013 8:41 am
We found this caterpillar in our garden- Gurgaon, India…and it looked beautiful and scary at first sight!!if there is one, does it mean there will be others too in our garden? in fact we saw another green with black strips ( pic-3) caterpillars in our garden!!
Our 8 year old daughter- Arushi- clicked these pictures….and we are very keen to find out more about them( both caterpillars )
Thanks
Signature: Arushi

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Arushi,
Do you have any oleander growing in your garden?  This is a common shrub planted in many gardens that have a climate without low or freezing winter temperatures.  It is the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii, and you are absolutely correct about the eyespots being effective deterrents against predation, especially from birds.  We are creating two distinct postings for your caterpillars so that categorization will be simplified.

Subject: Unknown bug ….to me!
Location: See letter above:  Tootgarook on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
November 30, 2013 10:54 pm
Hi, my name is Annie. On November 28, 2013 , at 3.50 pm, I noticed this bug on my plant. I have never seen it before and some research work came up with nothing similar at all. I posted a photo on Instagram in the hope someone could tell me, but so far no one does, even though several people have joint me in the research, lol! The back part of its body is bright yellow and black, and it appears to have some water blisters on it’s back., not rain drops as it was a dry and sunny day. The front part of its body is a reddish-dark brown and shiny, it has hairs all over its legs and upper body, and it reared up as in self-defence when I came closer. This bug was found in my garden in Tootgarook on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia . The photo I included is taken with a zoom lens, and is pretty much enlarged to its full capacity. Hope it is still good enough for you to identify this bug, lol! Thank you so much for your willingness to look into this kind of things, it is quite fascinating to get to know bugs better!
Kind regards: Annie.
Signature: Annie J Den Boer

Flightless Female Flower Wasp:  Thynnus species

Flightless Female Flower Wasp: Thynnus species

Dear Annie,
We have several similar images in our archives very similar to this creature, and in 2010, we did significant research and we thought we had identified a photo as a Flightless Female Flower Wasp,
Thynnus apterus.  We are not entirely certain the species is correct, but we are relatively confident with the genus.  Today we found a photo of a mounted pair of Thynnus brenchleyi on the Agriculture of Western Australia website that confirms the genus, if not the species.  There is no female Thynnus apterus pictured on Agriculture of Western Australia.

Dear Daniel.
Thank you so very much for this quick reply! I think the two compare well, although I have to admit that the one I photographed has more and also brighter yellow on the top of its back, but that could possibly have to do with age and/or variety, and quality of the photo!
I am very happy to be able to let this student in America know and tell him your website and the one of Agriculture of Western Australia, so he can have a look for himself.
Again, thank you so very much for your help, it is much appreciated,
With kind regards: Annie j Den Boer.