From the monthly archives: "July 2015"

Subject: Orange and Yellow Bug
Location: Georgia
July 2, 2015 7:31 am
Can you help us figure out what kind of bug this is? Never seen one like it before.
Signature: Thesouphead

Newly Metamorphosed Wheel Bug

Newly Metamorphosed Wheel Bug

Dear Thesouphead,
This is a Wheel Bug, the largest North American Assassin Bug, but what makes your image so interesting is the coloration.  Wheel Bugs are a dark gray, but just after metamorphosis, before the exoskeleton has a chance to harden, the color is much lighter.  Your Wheel Bug has just undergone metamorphosis from a nymph to a winged adult.

Subject: Huntsman Spider
Location: Barbados
July 1, 2015 12:01 pm
Hi,
Can you tell me if this is a Heteropoda venatoria?
I originally thought so, but certain aspects of its’ appearance don’t seem to match what would be expected for this species, having searched on the internet. It was pretty small (maybe an immature?) and was by the side of our pool in Barbados. Not the best picture in the world, but I hope you can help.
Signature: Dave

Possibly Lynx Spider

Possibly Lynx Spider

Dear Dave,
This is most definitely not a Huntsman Spider, and we believe it may be a Lynx Spider in the family
OxyopidaeBoth families are hunting spiders that do not build webs to snare prey.

Thanks Daniel,
Pretty wide of the mark, eh!
I’ve done some more research, but it seems that the eye arrangement is not typical of the family Oxyopidae (at least from what I can find, which isn’t a lot!), and the only species of the family in the West Indies would seem to be Oxypodes pallidus, about which I can find virtually nothing. It may be a case of ‘back to the drawing-board’ for me!
Thanks for your help
Dave

Hi again Dave,
We agree with you that the eye arrangement does not look like an exact match for the Lynx Spiders, but we have no other guesses at this time.

Subject: Mammoth sized bug
Location: Just outside UNLV in las vegas nv
July 2, 2015 6:29 am
I was walking just yesterday, July1st, in front of unlv in las vegas. I saw this huge bug that appeared dead but I didn’t want to be surprised. It was enormous, maybe 8-10 inches long. I couldn’t imagine seeing this bug flying at me. It is the size of a small bird and I know I would be scared because I don’t know if it stings or not or possibly even bites??? Please tell me there aren’t more of these around.
Signature: Richard Soltis

Palo Verde Root Borer

Palo Verde Root Borer

Dear Richard,
This is one of the Root Borers in the subfamily Prioninae, and we believe it is most likely a Palo Verde Root Borer,
Derobrachus hovorei, a species found in many western states where the host tree is found, including Nevada.  Though these are very large impressive beetles, your estimate as its size is quite exaggerated.  BugGuide lists the size as:  “Length, exclusive of mandibles, 54-66 mm” though we have seen images of individuals that approach three inches in length, excluding the antennae.  The mandibles are quite strong, as they have evolved to chew wood, and we believe it is very possible for a bite to draw blood, so they should be handled with caution.

Subject: Interesting bilateral gynandromorph
Location: Freetown, Sierra Leone
July 2, 2015 5:07 am
Spotted in Freetown, Sierra Leone at 9 am on July 2nd. Possibly a species of dactyloceras?
Signature: Jules

Bunaea alcinoe

Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth

Dear Jules,
We believe your moth is a Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth or Common Emperor Moth,
Bunaea alcinoe, a species of Giant Silkmoth found in many African countries that is pictured on African Moths, and we are really curious why you believe this is a bilateral gynandromorph.  It appears that half of the body is in brighter light than the other half which is in shadow, and we cannot really see the antennae in your image.  This species does not have pronounced sexual dimorphism, and a primary means of distinguishing the male from the female quickly is the antennae.  If we are missing something, please let us know why you believe this to be a bilateral gynandromorph, the scientific name for an hermaphrodite.  Please get back to us and let us know why you believe this is a gynandromorph  Though we don’t have any images of the adult moth on our site, we do have numerous images of the caterpillars, including this posting of a caterpillar from Sierra Leone.

Update:  July 9, 2015
Hi Daniel,
I believed the moth in question was a bilateral gynandromorph because it had one hairy antenna (the left one) and one not, and because the yellow ‘eye’ was only present on the left wing. Sorry about the low-quality photo – it was a quick cell phone snap!
Cheers,
Julian

Thanks for getting back to us Julian.  If you observed two different types of antennae, then this might be a gynandromorph, but that difference is not visible in the image you provided.  Male Giant Silkmoths have more developed, feathery antennae, while those of the female are much thinner.  Though the comparison is of a different species, you can see the antennae of the male Cecropia Moth compared to a female on the Prairie Haven site, after scrolling down.  You can also compare the male and female mating Polyphemus moths on our site, with the male being the individual on the right in the second image.  The yellow eyespot or oculi in your image is not a consideration.  Many Giant Silkmoths have oculi on the lower wings and the spots are generally hidden while the moth is resting.  When disturbed, the oculi are revealed, frequently startling a predator like a bird who may think it has disturbed a much larger predator.  The moth in your image is winking by only revealing one spot.  The spot on the other side is hidden by the upper wing.  We also have a nice image of a “winking” Polyphemus Moth on our site.  

Subject: Wasp identification
Location: Vail, az
June 30, 2015 10:02 pm
Hello,
On a hot and sunny tucson summer day I found this curiosity burrowed in my grass, apparently trying to keep cool. I know it’s not a tarantula hawk from the antenna, but it was making stinging-like motion with its abdomen on the stick I used to relocate away from me and my children. Wish I had a clearer picture of the mouth, but, what say you?
Thank you for your wonderful site!
Signature: Jennifer

Scoliid Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Dear Jennifer,
Thanks for the compliment.  We believe we have correctly identified your Scoliid Wasp as Triscolia ardens based on images that are posted to BugGuide.  Alas, BugGuide does not provide any information on the species, and the genus information is also very limited on BugGuide except for “a single species in our area, 2 total”, however, the family page on BugGuide indicates common names “Flower Wasps, Mammoth Wasps, Scarab Hawks, Scarab Hunters” and provides this information:  “Larvae are parasitoids of ground-dwelling scarab grubs, esp. Phyllophaga; adults take nectar.  Life Cycle  Female digs down to the host grub, stings it, and lays an egg on the paralyzed grub.”  Perhaps your wasp is hunting for Scarab Beetle larvae in the lawn.  Scarab Hunters are not aggressive wasps, but because you were thoughtful enough to relocate it due to concerns for your children’s safety rather than to kill it, we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award

Scoliid Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

 

Subject: Pandora sphinx
Location: Stratford, Connecticut
July 1, 2015 8:23 pm
This scared the hell out of me tonight! I thought it was a bat flying around until it finally stayed still! Crashed into some cords long enough for a picture. I safely removed him back outside. He was very fat, I’ve seen mice with smaller bodies!! Happy 4th, Cheers!
Signature: Karen

Pandora Sphinx

Pandora Sphinx

Dear Karen,
Large Sphinx Moths are indeed impressive creatures.  Thanks for sending in your image of a Pandora Sphinx.  If memory serves us, this is the first sighting we have received this year.