From the daily archives: "Monday, April 4, 2016"

Subject: Moth
Location: Johannesburg, south africa
April 3, 2016 12:38 pm
Hi
Found this moth this morning 9am in Johannesburg south Africa. It’s Autumn here at the moment and the weather is moderately warm with temps in degrees Celsius of about 27. We live in a housing complex with a small garden and pets. The moth was on my net curtain and when I moved the curtain he headed outside into the garden.
Signature: Brigitte

Speckled Footman

Speckled Footman

Dear Brigitte,
Just last week we posted an image of a dead individual of this species of Tiger Moth in the genus
 Utetheisa from South Africa, and today we realized that the common name on iSpot is the very appropriate Speckled Footman, Utetheisa pulchella.

Subject: Bug identification
Location: Kansas
April 3, 2016 6:49 pm
Found in wooded area in Kansas. Larger than Ladybug.
Signature: S.W.

Argus Tortoise Beetle

Argus Tortoise Beetle

Dear S.W.,
This is a really gorgeous image of an Argus Tortoise Beetle,
Chelymorpha cassidea, which we identified on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Eggs laid in clusters of 15-30 on leaves. Larvae feed on leaves, carry frass on back. Overwinters as adult.”

Subject: Moth or caterpillar ?
Location: Lake Jackson Tx
April 3, 2016 2:34 pm
Spotted a very large batch of worms on a tree here on the Texas gulf coast,
Wondering as to what they are, moth, caterpillar or butterflies…. Just curious, thanks in advance!
Signature: Curious Rae

Eastern Tent Caterpillars

Forest Tent Caterpillars

Dear Curious Rae,
Your image of a group of Eastern Tent Caterpillars as well as a marvelous close-up of an individual are an excellent addition to our archives.  Folks wanting to make identifications can view documentation of both details of the individual and the group aggregating behavior for the species.  You can find out some wonderful information on the Eastern Tent Caterpillar on the State University of New York at Cortland site devoted to Social Caterpillars maintained by Terrence D. Fitzgerald where it states:  “In terms of complexity of interactions, eastern tent caterpillars stand near the pinnacle of caterpillar sociality. The adult moth lays her eggs in a single batch in late spring or early summer.  Oviposition is limited to cherry, apple and a few other rosaceous trees.  The egg masses contain on average 200-300 eggs. mothEmbryogenesis proceeds rapidly and within three weeks fully formed caterpillars can be found within the eggs. But the small caterpillars lie quiescent  until the following spring, chewing their way through the shells of their eggs just as the buds of the host tree begins to expand.first tent  The newly hatched caterpillars initiate the construction of a silk tent soon after emerging.  The caterpillars typically aggregate at the tent site for the whole of their larval life, expanding the tent each day to accommodate their increasing size. Under field conditions, the caterpillars feed three times each day, just before dawn, in the evening after sunset, and at mid afternoon. During each bout of feeding the caterpillars emerge from the tent, add silk to the structure, move to distant feeding sites en masse, feed, then return immediately to the tent where they rest until the next activity period. The exception to this pattern occurs in the last instar when the caterpillars feed only at night. The caterpillars lay down pheromone trails to guide their movements between the tent and feeding sites. The insect has six larval instars.  When fully grown, the caterpillars disperse and construct cocoons in protected places.  The adults emerge about two weeks later.  Mating and oviposition typically occur on the same day as the moths emerge from their cocoons and being completely spent the females die soon thereafter.”

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Forest Tent Caterpillar

Update:  April 5, 2016
Thanks to a comment from Ben, we agree that this is a Forest Tent Caterpillar,
Malacosoma disstria, a different species in the same genus.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae: dark-gray to brownish-black background body color, highlighted by broad, pale-blue lines and thin, broken yellow lines extending along each side” and “Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) has an unbroken cream/white line along its back, and a dark face.”

Subject: Found where cat sleeps
Location: Scottsbluff, Nebraska
April 4, 2016 1:21 am
I went to my mother’s and saw a bug on her blanket ahhh I am thinking it’s a carpet beetle. She never NEVER vaccums so I’m certain this is it because she said she’s never been bit by them. Scary saw 2 yesterday flushed them then 2 more today, probably would have found more had I searched but I’m freaked out by infestations but here’s my question ahhhh my dog has been there and at my house can she spread them I vaccum almost everyday anyway but I may just go to town on every inch of everywhere more often aghhhghhhhh (ironically I stressed about the loose hair and basically dirt on her back from the dirty house before I found these bugs) it is spring but still pretty cold snowed a few days ago. Just assumed it was that bug seeing the pictures.
Signature: Ugh this sucks

Carpet Beetle

Carpet Beetle

You are correct that this is a Carpet Beetle.  Carpet Beetle Larvae will feed on shed pet hair that accumulates, and perhaps your mother has just decided that she wants to lower her carbon footprint by not using the electricity needed to run a vacuum as long as the Carpet Beetle Larvae are eating the shed pet hair.  Now, regarding your own fears, we doubt that your dog has transported any Carpet Beetle infestation to your own, obviously very clean home.  Since adult Carpet Beetles feed on pollen, and larvae feed on accumulated organic matter in the home, adults generally depart from the home by seeking egress at windows and doors.  Similarly, the adult Carpet Beetles will enter homes and procreate if there is a likely food source.  Though your mother’s home seems like it will be able to provide nourishment for future generations of Carpet Beetles, your own home does not seem like a hospitable environment for them if they cannot find food.  Though we refrain from giving health advice as we haven’t the necessary credentials, it does seem like your stress regarding an imagined infestation in your home is more detrimental to your health than your mother’s more mellow attitude about cleaning is to her health.

Subject: spider
Location: vancouver bc
April 3, 2016 7:30 pm
Help ID spider
Signature: spider

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Goldenrod Crab Spider

This is one of the most common color variations of the Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia, a species that does not form webs to snare prey.  The Goldenrod Crab Spider or Flower Spider hunts by waiting hidden on blossoms until an insect moves close enough to be captured.  You can find additional information on BugGuide.

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Subject: Found at south Carolina lake house
Location: South Carolina
April 3, 2016 5:19 pm
I found this in the driveway of my parent’s home in South south Carolina. It’s very slow and about 5 inches long. It’s head is flat with large pincers. The front half looks like a beetle, hard segments, 6 segmented legs. The rest looks like a centipede. It has multiple segments with what seem like non functioning legs.
Signature: Curious in Carolina

Hellgrammite

Hellgrammite

Dear Curious,
Though we have never been able to identify successfully the etymological origin of the word Hellgrammite, it is nonetheless an appropriate name for the impressive larva of the Dobsonfly.  While five inches seems like a bit of an exaggeration, Hellgrammites are large insects.  Hellgrammites are found near sources of water since they are aquatic, but they will move to drier ground to pupate.  Adult Dobsonflies should begin to appear in your area very soon.