From the yearly archives: "2013"

Subject: Tussock Moth Caterpillar?
Location: Beales Point, Folsom SRA, Granite Bay, California (in Sacramento County)
May 21, 2013 4:25 pm
Hi, This critter hitched a ride home on a sleeping bag, and my kids want to try to raise it to moth stage, but I don’ t know what he likes to eat. We found him at Beales Point, Folsom Lake State Recreational Area in Granite Bay, California.
Since I didn’t take him off a tree, don’t know what he likes to munch. He is tufted. Has a tail and 2 offshoots at front. Red spots. Fuzzy, black head.
Signature: Cheryl Lilley

Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Cheryl,
Yes, this is a Tussock Moth Caterpillar in the genus
Orygia, but we cannot say with certainty which species it is.  You can try browsing BugGuide to try to determine the species and most appropriate food.

Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Subject: Giant True Fly
Location: Tortuguero, Costa Rica
May 21, 2013 2:31 pm
Hi Bugman,
I live in the coastal rainforest of Costa Rica and find all kinds of large and interesting bugs on a regular basis, but this was pretty impressive. I’m guessing she’s a female because there appears to be an ovipositor, but I don’t know much about Diptera. Hoping you can help!
Signature: Jennifer

Horse Fly

Timber Fly

Hi Jennifer,
WOW, that is some big Horse Fly in the family Tabanidae.  In addition to the ovipositor, you can tell she is a female because of the spacing between her eyes.  Male Horse Flies have no spacing between the eyes.  You Horse Fly looks somewhat similar to the mounted image of
Myiotabanus muscoideus pictured on Sciency Thoughts, and that species is found from Mexico and Guatemala according to the site.  We have not been able to locate anything definite regarding the identification of your distinctly large Horse Fly, but perhaps one of our readers will have better luck.

Horse Fly

Timber Fly

Update:  January 21, 2014
Thanks to a comment from James, we now know that this is a Giant Wood Fly or Timber Fly in the family Pantophthalmidae, genus
Pantophthalmus.  We located a matching photo on P-Base and on Panama Silvestre.

Subject: Swallowtail Caterpillar(s?)
Location: Central Oahu, Hawaii
May 21, 2013 7:33 pm
I’ve had a fairly sizable giant swallowtail caterpillar living on my lime tree — I identified it based on the fact that it looked like a bird poo, as well as the little orange antenna-things and the bad smell when it’s alarmed. Two days ago I went outside to see how my little caterpillar friend was doing, and was surprised to find that, while he still had the same basic pattern on his body, it had all taken on a distinctly green hue. (Sadly, I did not get a picture.) Today I went out to check on him again, and found the fat green caterpillar in the second photo in the same general area I was used to finding my mottled friend. It’s definitely a swallowtail too.
My question is: Is this one caterpillar or two? Are giant swallowtail caterpillars known to change their colors and markings? Or is this a different breed and I was just supremely unobservant in not noticing it, again, in the same area as the ”other” one?
Thanks!
Signature: Angela

Chinese Swallowtail Caterpillar

Chinese Swallowtail Caterpillar:  5th Instar

Dear Angela,
Many Caterpillars change their coloration and markings as they molt and grow through the various instar stages.  We found a photo in our archive that matches your green Chinese Swallowtail Caterpillar,
 Papilio xuthus, a species that feeds on citrus.  We learned on the Butterfly Society of Hawaii website that it is the only Swallowtail species documented in Hawaii.  Softpedia has a photo of the different instars of the Chinese Swallowtail Caterpillar that resembles the photos of the two instars you have submitted.  The same photo can be found on the Insect Hormones page where it is stated:  “The swallowtail butterfly, Papilio xuthus, passes through 5 larval stages (“instars”) growing larger after each molt. The first four larval stages resemble bird droppings looking like brown fecal matter with a whitish paste of uric acid (which is the nitrogenous waste of birds). The photograph shows the 3rd (left), 4th (middle), and 5th (right) instars. See how after the fourth molt, the 5th instar has quite a different appearance — being well camouflaged as it feeds on its host plant (right).”  While we cannot say for certain that these two are the same individual, we can say that they belong to the same species.

Chinese Swallowtail Caterpillar:  4th Instar

Chinese Swallowtail Caterpillar: 4th Instar

A Reader Comments:  October 12, 2014
Thanks for the info. We have been noticing huge butterflies ?? in my back yard. So far, none have landed. My Lemon tree is fully infested  with  brown and ivory caterpillars of every size. I thought at first it was bird poop, but in looking at them with a magnifying glass and then coming to your web site, they are identified. as Giant Swallowtail butterflies. Their faces do look like Chinese Dragon Caterpillars on some of China’s decorative buildings. Also they are mimicked in the Chinese parade festivities.
How they came to Northwest Arizona in the 85388 area is a mystery. I have lived in Arizona 31 years, have always had citrus trees and never saw these until this year. They literally chew up all the leaves on all my citrus trees. Lemon trees affected the most. There are a lot of lemons on that tree and I don’t know if the lemons will be  edible when they mature.Do they bore into the lemons and fruit? If they have  not invaded Arizona, they certainly have invaded my yard and Citrus trees. (Newly landscaped yard in Dec.2013 when
Citrus Trees and other plants were planted.) 2 Trees, orange and grapefruit are struggling and growth stunted,  while the Lemon tree leaves are being  chewed away by the Chinese Swallowtail caterpillars.
Rene

In Arizona, they are most likely Giant Swallowtails and the Caterpillars are called Orange Dogs.  Giant Swallowtails are native to eastern North America, but the introduction of citrus in Florida provided them with a new source of food.  The cultivation of citrus in the southwest is a contributing factor to the increased range of Giant Swallowtails.

Subject: Bug
Location: Batangas, Philippines
May 21, 2013 4:38 am
Good day, Bugman! 🙂 I attached a photo of a bug I saw, I’d like to know what kind of bug it is. Hope you help me. Thank you! 🙂
Signature: Jean Gantioque

Stink Bug

Stink Bug

Hi Jean,
This is a Stink Bug or Shield Bug but we have not had any luck with a species identification.

 

Subject: Wolf Spider?
Location: Southern California
May 21, 2013 1:03 am
Hi there. I’ve been getting a few of these spiders coming inside for a visit. This most recent one had a bit of yellow to his marking. They all have the pincers that extend from the abdomen. Am guessing they’re wolf spiders, but not sure.
This particular spider was tangled in a mouse glue pad and was easy freed outside once I got his leg free. Thanks for helping identify.
Signature: Kevin

Western Parson Spider

Western Parson Spider

Hi Kevin,
This is a Parson Spider in the genus
Herpyllus, and thanks to your letter, we now know that there is both an Eastern Parson Spider and a Western Parson Spider, Herpyllus propinquus.  According to BugGuide:  “H. propinquus is basically identical in appearance to H. ecclesiasticus, and examination of reproductive organs is needed for positive identification.”  What you are referring to as “pincers” are actually spinnerets.  Because of your kindness releasing this hapless Western Parson Spider, we are tagging you as a Bug Humanitarian.

Subject: Green beetle
Location: Montville, ME
May 21, 2013 6:31 am
Hi,
Found this beetle while hiking in Montville, Maine. I’ve seen these before, but mostly only on mountains!
Signature: Jasmine D.

Six Spotted Tiger Beetle

Six Spotted Tiger Beetle

Hi Jasmine,
However did you get this fast running Six Spotted Tiger Beetle to stand still long enough to have photos taken?  They are also capable of taking to wing if threatened. 

It took me a while, but I picked it up carefully and when I covered it up with my hand it stopped moving for a few seconds, I think maybe the dark threw it off! Thank you! They’re so pretty!
Jasmine