From the daily archives: "Friday, December 13, 2013"

Subject: Orange/black moth
Location: Baton rouge, La
December 12, 2013 12:23 pm
Crazy looking moth on my window sill in Louisiana.
Signature: Brad

Buck Moth

Buck Moth

Hi Brad,
Your moth is a Buck Moth in the genus
Hemileuca, and they typically fly during the autumn where then are encountered in wooded areas by deer hunters.  We found an article Louisiana State University Agricultural Center because of the large numbers of Buck Moths last December in Baton Rouge.  We found the article to be a bit alarmist, though it is true that large numbers of moths will mean more Buck Moth Caterpillars in the spring.  It is also true that Buck Moth Caterpillars should not be handled because of the spines which could sting folks who handle the caterpillars carelessly.  We believe your Buck Moth is Hemileuca maia, and it has recently emerged from the pupa, so its wings haven’t yet properly expanded.

Thanks for the speedy reply. I’ve lived in Louisiana forever and have never noticed one before, but I am certainly familiar with the stinging caterpillar.
Brad

Subject: Grasshopper
Location: South Africa
December 11, 2013 10:17 am
Hi I found this grasshopper in our garden today. About 8 cm long about as thick as a man’s middle finger. Where is this garden? IN THE Kalahari Desert (South Africa) in a small town called Askham (Northern cape province) Never seen one like this before. Can you help with the identity thereof please
Signature: Banna

Shieldback Locust

Shieldback Locust

Dear Banna,
The two features that make your grasshopper really distinctive are the flattened antennae and the ridge along the thorax, and we searched unsuccessfully for some time prior to discovering iSpot Southern Africa – your place to share nature where we learned about the Shieldback Locusts in the family Pamphagidae.  There are many similar images there.  We hope a family identification is sufficient as we do not have the skills to identify your individual any further.  There is also a nice image of a winged individual on FlickR.  We don’t know if you have photographed a nymph or if it is a flightless species.