From the monthly archives: "February 2015"

Subject: Help!
Location: California
February 25, 2015 10:37 am
Bugman, what in the heavens is this world coming to? I was starving and wishing that someone would make me a hot meal when I went outside and noticed this monstrosity out on the cement! Now I don’t know about you, but I think it’s safe to say that this creature is a sure fire fact that evolution exists as it is most certainly something entirely new!
PS. I hope you appreciate my photography skills as I almost lost my head taking them!
Signature: Tight Red Jeans

Whitelined Sphinx

Whitelined Sphinx

Dear Tight Red Jeans,
This Whitelined Sphinx or Striped Morning Sphinx,
Hyles lineata, is one of the most common, larger moths found in California.  When conditions are right, great quantities of the edible caterpillars are found on desert plants, and they will metamorphose into moths that are generally seen at dawn or dusk, are attracted to lights, and that are easily mistaken for hummingbirds.  You could have eaten the moth to prevent starvation.  We are curious to find out how you almost lost your head.

Subject: What the heck is this?
Location: Bay Area, California
February 25, 2015 4:11 pm
Hello!
Can you please help me identify the creature I found today fervently attached to my ceanothus? It’s the ivory-colored stick-like thing roughly in the middle of the picture.
Thank you!
Signature: CdeP2007

Spanworm

Spanworm

Dear CdeP2007,
This is a Spanworm or Inchworm, the caterpillar of a moth in the family Geometridae.  Caterpillars in this family are often hard to distinguish from sticks, especially when they grasp a branch with their terminal prolegs, extending the body out away from the branch at an angle, much as your image illustrates.  It may be the caterpillar of a Sulfur Moth,
Hesperumia sulphuraria, which is pictured on the Moths of Orange County website.

Subject: Cool Costa Rican Beetle
Location: Santa Elena, Costa Rica
February 25, 2015 7:59 am
We found this beetle at high elevations in Costa Rica (Santa Elena/Monteverde in February) I’ve looked around and can’t seem to find a picture to identify it. Can you help? It was found on a fence between cleared farmland and forest near an ant trail.
Signature: C Avilez

Spotted Shield Bug

Spotted Shield Bug

Dear C Avilez,
This is not a Beetle.  We quickly identified this Shield Bug in the family Scutelleridae as a Spotted Shield Bug,
Pachycoris torridus, thanks an image on FlickR.  Some of the variations in markings and coloration are pictured on Neotropical Entomology.

Subject: Tiny Bee With A Big Head
Location: Silver Lake (Los Angeles)
February 23, 2015 9:54 pm
Hi Daniel,
This morning, I was shooting a photo of wild radish on the Red Car Property in Silver Lake, above the historic viaduct footings. While editing, I noticed I captured one frame of this tiny bee with a very strangely shaped, almost mod head. Sorry I couldn’t get a better shot – it was with my phone. I’ve often caught the incidental bug in close-ups, but this is a new one for me.
http://redcarproperty.blogspot.com/
Signature: Diane E

Flower Fly

Flower Fly

Hi Diane,
This is a Flower Fly or Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae.  Many members of the family mimic bees or wasps as it is beneficial for harmless insects to be mistaken for stinging insects.  Is there any progress on the preservation attempts of the Red Car Property?

Cool.  Thought it was weird.
TPL still has exclusive option on the property.  It’s wonderful to walk right now.

Subject: Insect on birding walk
Location: Pipeline Road, Panama City
February 24, 2015 3:43 pm
This beautiful creature was on the trail, on the ground and very much alive, around 9 in the morning. I’m guessing it’s a leafhopper? Can you help identify?
Signature: Panama hiker

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

Dear Panama hiker,
This is a gorgeous red eyed Grasshopper, and we found matching images on John Afdem’s Panama Photog Blog and FlickR, but alas, they are not identified by the species or genus.
  Another FlickR posting identifies is as Coscineuta coxalisWe verified the species name on Encyclopedia of Life.

Subject: stick-like insect
Location: Bangalore, India
February 23, 2015 10:28 pm
I saw this insect sitting on my window when I woke up. It was on 26th June, 2014.
It has its eyes bulging out, it’s body is pretty long (about 7-10 centimetres) and has a scary mouth.
Signature: Akhil

Mantis

Mantis

Hi Akhil,
Your insect is a Mantis or Mantid, but we are not certain of the species.  Mantids are beneficial predators.

Mantis

Mantis

Hey Daniel,
Thanks for the reply.
You say it’s mantis or mantid. Well even I thought it was one. But the images on Google show that mantis have 6 legs (in which two seem like they’re praying). And also their heads are small. But this insect I saw doesn’t have that praying legs and also its head is huge. It’s mouth is like no other insect’s. It’s hard to say it’s a mantis.
Thank you,
Akhil.

Hi again Akhil,
Your images are not optimal, but take a look at the closeup image.  We believe you are mistaking the raptorial front legs with their toothed, almost serrated edges as a mouth.  The front legs are being held out in front of the head with its huge, bulging eyes.  Though your individual lacks the protuberance on top of the head that this Indian Rose Mantis pictured on the FineArtAmerica site possesses, but you can still see how the contours of the head can be partially obscured by the front legs.