From the daily archives: "Saturday, December 14, 2013"

Subject: What is this bug!!!!
Location: Sydney
December 12, 2013 5:54 pm
Howdy,
My wife took a photo of this and after a bit of searching, could it be a Spider Wasp?
I have 2 kids under the age of 2 who love to play outside, are they a pest and should i try to exterminate them?
Signature: Michael

Spider Wasp stalks Spider

Spider Wasp stalks Spider

Dear Michael,
You are correct that this is a Spider Wasp, and it is stalking a Spider in one of your photos.  You do not need to fear this Spider Wasp attacking your children unless they look like spiders, which we highly doubt.  Female Spider Wasps are more concerned about providing food for their broods than they are about stinging innocent children, though we would not entirely discount the possibility of getting stung if the Spider Wasps are handled or stepped on.  Again, we want to stress that they are not aggressive toward humans and we don’t believe there is any need to take the steps to exterminate them, which would probably be nearly impossible anyways.  Social Wasps pose a much greater threat because they try to defend their nests, while solitary wasps like Spider Wasps do not have the same defense instincts.  We will try to identify both the wasp and the spider after we do some yardwork in our own neglected garden.  Alas, you photo does lack critical detail, but the spider appears to be a Wolf Spider.  We have nice photos in our archive of a Spider Wasp preying upon a Wolf Spider.

Subject: Who is this cute little guy?
Location: Gladstone in Central Queensland Australia
December 13, 2013 4:47 am
This little fellow came to visit my cousin in Gladstone, Queensland , Australia, just a few days ago. We googled all sorts of feather horned creatures but didn’t find anything quite the same. What’s this bug?
Signature: Sue

Featherhorned Longicorn

Featherhorned Longicorn

Dear Sue,
Though you used a good key word, it is understandable that you had trouble identifying this Featherhorned Longicorn,
Piesarthrius marginellus, since there are not many good photos of it online.  We have several nice images of the Featherhorned Longicorn in our own archives, and your image might be the best of them.  We also located a beautiful image of the Featherhorned Longicorn on The View from Vinegar Hill blog.

Subject:  Oregon Swallowtail
Location:  Oregon
December 14, 2013
Your Welcome!
I’ll enclose the Oregon versions (it’s the state insect there). Sadly my camera then was not as good.
Signature: Curious Girl

Possibly Western Tiger Swallowtail

Possibly Western Tiger Swallowtail

Hi Curious Girl,
Thanks for sending this image of a Swallowtail you photographed in Oregon, however, it is noticeably different from the Old World Swallowtail images we posted a few days ago.  The Old World Swallowtail,
Papilio machaon, is also found in North America, and according to BugGuide:  “The various subspecies included here under the name Papilio machaon have been (and contunue to be) treated differently by different authors. The most commonly seen alternate classification would have the subspecies bairdii, dodi, oregonius, and pikei placed as subspecies of a distinct species Papilio bairdii, and the more boreal subspecies would be left under the species Papilio machaon. There are good reasons for doing this, but the majority of workers currently place them all under one species. There are also still some people who would prefer to see each name treated individually at species ranking, though this is not widely accepted practice. The result is that these butterflies may be listed under a number of different name combinations, depending upon the preferences of the individual author.”  According to State Symbols USA, the Oregon Swallowtail is the state insect of Oregon, but according to BugGuide, it is actually a subspecies of the Old World Swallowtail.  The Old World Swallowtail is easily confused with the Anise Swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon, which is also found in Oregon.  The butterfly in this photograph is neither of those species, and though we are uncertain of its exact identification because of the quality of the photo, we are guessing it is either a Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus, or a Pale Swallowtail, Papilio eurymedon.

Subject: Sting from below caterpillar
Location: Singapore
December 13, 2013 7:27 am
Hi there, wonder if you can help. Got stung on the finger by photographed caterpillar as I was touching it (now I know I shouldn’t).
Felt the sting at that moment though I’m not seeing any welts for past six hours.
Any course for worry? Can you identify this species and is this poisonous?
Hope to get your email reply.
Best,
Signature: Nicky

Probably Brush Footed Butterfly Caterpillar

Probably Brush Footed Butterfly Caterpillar

Dear Nicky,
We believe this is the caterpillar of a Brush Footed Butterfly.  It looks very similar to some North American Caterpillars like the Questionmark and the Mourning Cloak.  We will try to contact Keith Wolfe to see if he is able to identify your caterpillar to the species level.  While a stinging sensation may occur upon contact with the spines, to the best of our knowledge, there are no lasting effects.

Keith Wolfe identifies the Tawny Coster Caterpillar
Hello Nicky and Daniel,
This is a Tawny Coster (Acraea violae) caterpillar, a butterfly that only recently became established in Singapore (http://butterflycircle.blogspot.com/2008/03/voyage-of-tawny-coster.html).  Nicky, I’d wager that what you felt was a prick from a sharp spine and NOT a poisonous sting, for though these caterpillars feed on a family of toxic plants (Passifloraceae; additional photos/info — http://butterflycircle.blogspot.com/2013/02/life-history-of-tawny-coster.html), they’re essentially harmless to touch, at least in my hands-on experience.  Of course, the outcome could be different if a person is allergic or sensitive to such contact or decided to eat one (as a bird would) for breakfast.
Best wishes,
Keith

Dear Daniel and Keith,
Thanks for your prompt replies. Bingo on the caterpilla – what a beauty it will transform into.
Cheers,
Nicky

Subject: What’s That Bug
Location: Eastern NC
December 13, 2013 2:50 pm
Can you identify?
Signature: Denise Jones

Camel Cricket

Camel Cricket

Dear Denise,
This is a Camel Cricket and it is missing one of its hind legs which allow it to jump for significant distances.  Camel Crickets like dark and damp places, and they are often found in basements and cellars.

Subject: beetle from southern Arizona
Location: Flux Canyon, Arizona
December 13, 2013 1:03 pm
Three weeks in southern Arizona and too many bugs I can’t identify.
The area just seems to teem with gorgeous bugs.
This bug was already deceased when I found it last July .
About middle-sized…maybe an inch tops I found it in Flux Canyon, between the town of Patagonia and the Mexican border.
Because of it’s bristly hairs I nick-named it a ”javelina” beetle…….
Signature: swarner

Dung Beetle or Scarab Beetle

May Beetle

Dear swarner,
This is a Scarab Beetle or Dung Beetle, but we are having difficulty determining a more specific identification.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he is able to assist us.

Eric Eaton provides a correct species identification
Hi, Daniel:
Yes, this is a “May beetle,” Phyllophaga vetula.  Here’s more:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/226400
That is a really awesome image.  Would love to know who the photographer is.
Eric