From the daily archives: "Wednesday, December 25, 2013"

Subject: South African Insect
Location: South Africa, Kwa Zulu Natal
December 25, 2013 11:52 am
Hi, please help me identify this bug! I can’t seem to find it on the web.
Signature: Claire Dunford

Longicorn:  Monochamus species

Longicorn: Monochamus spectabilis

Dear Claire,
This is a Longicorn or Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae.  When conditions are right, insects from the same species that are awaiting metamorphosis into the imago or adult form will emerge at roughly the same time in an entire region.  Just over a week ago, we posted a photo of a Longicorn from South Africa that was identified as
Monochamus spectabilis by Karl, and we believe your Longicorn is the same species.

Subject: Unidentifiable Hairy Caterpillar
Location: East London, South Africa
December 25, 2013 5:27 am
Hello WTB. My dad and I came across this hairy caterpillar in my garden in South Africa. Unfortunately none of the insect guides offer pictures of butterfly and moth larvae, and as a result I am familiar with adult butterflies and moths, but know very few of their respective larvae. We found this caterpillar on our Bauhinia gaupinii and I was wondering if you could identify it or give me a rough idea of what it could be so I can research it further. Thanks in advance.
Signature: Simon Robinson

Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Hi Simon,
We believe this is a Lappet Moth Caterpillar in the family Lasiocampidae, but we have not had any luck matching its markings to any South African species online.  There are many similar looking Caterpillars on the ISpot website, and the Cape Lappet
, Eutricha capensis, pictured there looks close, but the coloration and markings are different.  We would not discount that this might be individual variation, or perhaps there are changes that occur during the various instars the caterpillars undergo during metamorphosis.  Interestingly, the moment we wrote that comment and returned to ISpot, we followed a link that revealed an example of the Cape Lappet that looks exactly like your individual.

Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Subject: Dead Leaf mantis
Location: Mumbai, India
December 24, 2013 10:28 pm
I would have never seen this fellow if he didnt fly right into us!!
beautiful camouflage. this was the best photo i could click, he was too active for me to focus!
Signature: Sid

Wandering Violin Mantis

Wandering Violin Mantis

Hi Sid,
The quality of your photograph is much higher than most of the images we receive.  Despite the resemblance to dead leaves, this is actually a Wandering Violin Mantis,
 Gongylus gongylodes, and based on the information we have learned on the sexual dimorphism in this species on A Gardener’s Chronicle blog, she is a female.  Males have more feathery antennae and longer wings.