From the monthly archives: "January 2014"

Subject: Moth caterpillar
Location: Ocean Ridge, FL
January 27, 2014 1:58 pm
Hello bugman! We found this caterpillar in a tree in our backyard this weekend. We live in Ocean Ridge, FL (Palm Beach county, about 300 steps from the ocean). We have seen our fair share of caterpillars and moths before (mostly sphinx) but haven’t seen this species before. Any idea what it might be? The part of the caterpillar you can see is about the size of my thumb.
Signature: Gretchen

Fig Sphinx Caterpillar

Fig Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Gretchen,
Even though your photo only shows the tail end of this Hornworm disappearing behind a branch, it is unmistakably the hind end of a Fig Sphinx Caterpillar,
 Pachylia ficus.  The caterpillar feeds on the leaves of fig trees and other trees in the genus Ficus.  The adult Fig Sphinx is an impressive moth.

Subject: Can you identify this tree borer by the egg sack?
Location: Omaha,Ne
January 27, 2014 11:06 am
Hello, I recently took a new job as a groundskeeper after many years doing landscape work. This property has a tree borer that I haven’t identified before. Can you help me identify it by the egg sack? Picture attached.
Thank you so much!
Signature: Nick

Preying Mantis Ootheca

Preying Mantis Ootheca

Hi Nick,
While we are not disputing that you may have some type of borer on the grounds, both of the images you have attached are of Oothecae or Egg Cases of Preying Mantids, and by all accounts, they are considered beneficial predators.

Preying Mantis Ootheca

Preying Mantis Ootheca

Cool! That’s actually really good to hear. I have over 50 sugar maples that look like they have been shot with buckshot. It’s nice to know Mother Nature is trying to fix the situation for me!
Thank you vey much! I appreciate your time
Nick

Hi again Nick,
Should you happen to get a photo of the Borer, we would glady give a try at identifying it for you.

Subject: Lady Bird Nymphs* from Portugal
Location: Guimarães, Portugal
January 26, 2014 4:12 pm
Hi Daniel!
Haven’t had much internet for a few weeks due to travel (back in Germany currently) so had much to catch up on at the site.
Saw that the bug of the month was… ‘metamorphosis’ but not sure if it’s specifically the Lady Bird (Bug) or of any kind. However, I’ve been meaning to send in the cool Lady Bug nymphs I saw in Guimarães (the 2012 European Capitol of Culture) last May. I think one may be an Asian but the other one is perhaps a more native Lady Bug (but I don’t know which one).
I think it’s important to show pics of this stage of the Lady Bug as so few know these are related to Lady Bugs so kill them. I know I used to be a bit afraid of them until I found out what they were.
Thanks again for such a cool site.
Signature: Curious Girl

Lady Beetle Larva

Lady Beetle Larva:  Coccinella septempunctata

Dear Curious Girl,
We cannot say for certain that the one larva is a Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle because it looks different that the examples on BugGuide.  You comment about the importance of people being able to recognize the Lady Beetle larvae is well taken.  We get countless requests to identify them and determine if they are harmful, and most folks are quite surprised to learn their true identity.
*  P.S.  These are larvae, not nymphs, which is a term reserved for immature insects that do not undergo complete metamorphosis.

Lady Beetle Larva

Lady Beetle Larva:  Coccinella septempunctata

  The black and white larva is quite unusual.

Possibly a different species of Lady Beetle Larva

Fourteen Spotted Lady Beetle Larva

Update:  Seven Spotted Lady Beetle Larva and Fourteen Spotted Lady Beetle Larva
Thanks to a comment from Mardikavana, we now know that the:  “First larvae should be
Coccinella septempunctata [Seven Spotted Lady Beetle see BugGuide]and second one belongs to Propylea quatuordecimpunctata [Fourteen Spotted Lady Beetle see BugGuide].”  It is interesting that both species are listed on BugGuide which is devoted to North American insects, yet both sightings were in Portugal.  According to BugGuide, the Fourteen Spotted Lady Beetle is:  “Non-native; southeastern Canada and New England west to Great Lakes, south to Florida. Range apparently still spreading.”  Of the Seven Spotted Lady Beetle, BugGuide notes:  “It has been repeatedly introduced in the US from Europe, to control aphids.
This widespread palearctic species was intentionally introduced into N. America several times from 1956 to 1971 for biological control of aphids. All of those attempts apparently failed in getting C. septempunctata established, but in 1973 an established population was found in Bergen Co., New Jersey. This population is thought to have been the result of an accidental introduction rather than a purposeful one (Angalet and Jacques, 1975). Since 1973, this species has spread naturally and been colonized and established in Delaware, Georgia, and Oklahoma. (Gordon 1985)
It has since spread throughout N. Amer.”

Danke Daniel (I am in Germany at the moment, soon to return to my beloved Portugal),
It’s hard to keep all the insect terms straight but that’s what is so great about the site is it educates us neophytes :^D
So, the 7 spot at least I have pics of in her (his) adult form as well, but in Porto (about 30km or so southwest).
And a couple others since I’m here and a little loopy tired…
So glad to know what I was seeing. Seems the 7 spot is native then to Europe even if the other is not. Funny how humans have so changed the world even beyond the Asian Lady. :^)
Muito obrigada to Mardikavana for the IDs. Awesome!
Later I’ll send some of the Asian variety spotted (ha ha) in Germany. :^)

Seven Spotted Lady Beetle

 Lady Beetle

Hi again Curious Girl,
Neither species is native to North America, and BugGuide did not indicate if both are European.  We will do additional research on the Fourteen Spotted Lady Beetle.  According to Discover Life:  “
Propylaea quatuordecimpunctata is a European lady beetle that was probably accidentally introduced to North America by shipping in the St. Lawrence Seaway in the late 1960’s. These distinctively coloured little (4 or 5mm) beetles did not show up in Ontario until the 1990s, and only became common in the late 1990’s.”
P.S.  We have added your photo of the adult Lady Beetle to the original posting.  We will create a unique posting for your other Lady Beetle images.

Subject: A fly?
Location: Coimadai, 50km north of Melbourne Australia
January 26, 2014 11:28 pm
Hi I found this fly attached to my pants while visiting the Merrimu Resevoir near Coimadai, about 50km north of Melbourne, Australia. It was approx 1.5cm in length and caught my eye due to its bright colours. Thought I’d share as it’s quite fascinating. Is anyone able to tell me what it is?
Signature: Scrubrobin

Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Fly

Dear Scrubrobin,
We suspected that this is a species of Tachinid Fly, a large and diverse family whose members parasitize other insects and arthropods, and many species are considered important biological control agents.  We searched the Brisbane Insect website, and found a striking similarity between your specimen and two examples of Tachinid Flies in the genus
Microtropesa, which are known as Golden Tachinid Flies.  We searched for additional examples of that genus and we found another example that looks exactly like your individual on the Diptera Info website, but it is not identified to the species level.

Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Fly

Update:  Microtropesa sinuata
We received two comments with links to Life Unseen and the identification of this Tachinid Fly as
Microtropesa sinuata.

 

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Northern Namibia
January 27, 2014 12:38 am
Hi
I need the name of this caterpillar. They are feeding mainly on Accia meliffera .
Signature: Duane Rudman

Giant Silkworm

Marbled Emperor Caterpillar

Hi Duane,
This is either a Western Marbled Emperor, Heniocha dyops, or a closely related species.  We will try checking with Bill Oehlke to verify our identification.  According to Kirby Wolfe:  “That’s what the mirror-like ‘spines’ are for, to break up the light so the caterpillar can hide in the sparse,  Acacia foliage.”

Thank you very much!!!!!
Regards
Duane

Subject: What is this and how damaging is it to my garden
Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
January 26, 2014 6:24 pm
We live in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and I keep finding this beetle on the Corn. I have not seen them on any other plants so far. I am hoping it is not detrimental to our garden and would like to know how to get rid of them.
Signature: Julie Holl

Trachyderes succinctus on corn

Trachyderes succinctus on corn

Longhorned borer beetle in family Cerambycidae.  Too blurry to identify the species for certain.

Thank you. I will try to get a better photo, but I seem to have wasps hanging out in the corn also. Do they damage the corn?

Wasps might be hunting for caterpillars and we doubt they are damaging the corn.  We decided to take a second look at your Longicorn, and we found a posting in our archives of Trachyderes succinctus that shows the black and red striped antennae as well as the body markings that are shared with your individual.  A second posting in our archive of Trachyderes succinctus from the Virgin Islands includes this observation by the person who submitted the images:  “It likes rotting fruit but absolutely loves to go after young corn. It nibbles away at the base of the ear, leaving a blackish goo and killing the ear. It decimated my back yard corn crop a couple of years ago and I have not been able to replant successfully since.”

Thank you so much….