From the daily archives: "Monday, April 11, 2016"

Subject: Can you help me identify please
Location: Southeast Georgia
April 11, 2016 3:01 pm
Seen today on my poplar tree in southeast Georgia. Thank you!
Pest or helper?
Signature: Thanks! Birgit Atwood

Saddlebags Dragonfly

Saddlebags Dragonflies

Dear Birgit,
We are seeing double.  These are a Saddlebags in the genus
Tramea, and in the suborder Anisoptera, the Dragonflies.  Dragonflies eat large quantities of flying insects, including Mosquitoes, so we place them solidly in the “helper” category.  Five of the seven known species of Saddlebags are pictured on BugGuide.

Thank you so much! I shooed them away yesterday thinking they were eating my new buds! No more!

Subject: Giant Wood Moth?
Location: Ballarat, Victoria
April 11, 2016 5:25 pm
Hi,
Found this giant late evening in Ballarat, Victoria.
Smaller one seen the night previous. Another visitor from our Northern States?
Regards
Signature: HB

Female Rain Moth we believe

Female Rain Moth we believe

Dear HB,
We have done a bit of research, and we are not certain we are correct, but this is the best we can do.  Wood Moths, also known as Goat Moths and Witchetty Grubs are in the family Cossidae.  We classify them on our site together with Ghost Moths or Swift Moths in the family Hepialidae because we have trouble distinguishing members of the two families from one another.  We believe your moth is a Rain Moth,
Trictena atripalpis, a species we first located on an April 7, 2016 posting on The Advertiser which states:  “NATURE is making its own weather forecasts in South Australia’s parched South-East, where the giant “rain moth” has arrived ahead of the Bureau of Meteorology’s own predictions of drought-easing falls this week.  Large numbers of the trictena atripalpis moth, which has a wingspan up to 16cm, have been reported in Keith, Kingston, Penola and Mount Gambier and farming mythology has it that the insects bring rain.  Science backs this to some extent, as the creatures grow from ground-dwelling “bardi grubs” and are most likely to emerge from the earth when autumn rain is in the air.  Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Hannah Marsh said a series of fronts were expected to move across the South-East over the next few days.”  According to NatureOutWest:  “The large moths emerge from their holes in the ground after rains. They are frequently seen when they are attracted to lights. They are so large they almost resemble small bats or birds as they flutter around lights at night.”  Though we missed it the first two times we scanned Butterfly House, once we had a scientific name from the previous two sites, we learned that “The moths have grey-brown wings with two variable ragged silver flash markings across each forewing. The forewings often also show intricate sinuous patterns of pale lines. The wingspan of the males can reach 12 cms. That of the females can reach 16 cms. The moths have tripectinate antennae.”  We suspect that only the male Rain Moths or Waikerie may have the “ragged silver flash markings” and also that they have the more developed “tripectinate antennae” to locate the female when she releases pheromones, and we also believe that all the individuals pictured on Butterfly House are males, though the site makes a point of stating:  “The adult females deposit large numbers of eggs. Indeed, this species holds the World Fecundity Record, for the greatest number of eggs being deposited by a non-social insect. One dissected female had 44,100 eggs. It is thought that the eggs are laid in flight, just being scattered across the ground.  The moths a famous for being able to predict rain. In some areas in autumn, the moths appear on only one night each year, yet all appear together in droves, and always just a few hours before a major downpour in that area. Perhaps the rain helps wash the scattered eggs into crevices in the ground, as well as dormant seeds to germinate, so that after the eggs hatch: the young caterpillars can easily find roots on which to feed.”  Your moths both have much slimmer antennae, leading us to believe they are both females.  This image on FlickR supports our supposition.  Forecaster Hannah Marsh was quoted on The Advertiser as stating:  “A strong low-pressure system will pass well to the south of Tasmania on Sunday with a cold front moving over the southern coasts of the state,” she said.  “Those fronts will bring gradual shower activity for the next six days.”  We would love to know if the weather forecast was correct, and if any male Rain Moths with more spectacular antennae arrive at your porch light, we hope you will send us additional images.

A smaller female Rain Moth, we believe

A smaller female Rain Moth, we believe

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your prompt and very informative reply,
We have had no rain sadly as we could’ve done with a good soaking but nonetheless happy to be visited by such an interesting creature. A few days before this beauty showed up out the rear of the property.
Ive sinc

Subject: Can’t find this bug online anywhere
Location: Western West Virginia
April 11, 2016 3:02 pm
I have found several of these bugs in my bedroom. They appear to have wings and/or are able to jump. I’m not sure which. They may bite or that may be entirely psychological on my part. They are small and oval. About the size of a ball point pen head brown-black with black spots. Usually find them one at a time and haven’t been able to find their nest if they have one or any larva. Please help. Thank you.
Signature: Katelyn

Possibly Asian Carpet Beetle

Possibly Asian Carpet Beetle

Dear Katelyn,
At first we thought this might be a Varied Carpet Beetle, a species we have posted to our site eight times since the beginning of March, but when we reread your written description, we realized it is a smaller species, possibly the Asian Carpet Beetle,
Anthrenus coloratus, which according to BugGuide is 1.5–2.5 mm. while the larger Varied Carpet Beetle is 1.7-3.5 mm by BugGuide‘s reckoning.  Carpet Beetles in general are among out Top 10 identification requests.

Subject: Many on Pinnacle Peak hiking trail–Scottsdale, AZ
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
April 11, 2016 4:51 pm
Hi Bug People,
Ran into many of these on my hike… What is it?
Signature: Sue

Master Blister Beetle

Master Blister Beetle

What this is Sue, is one of our favorite springtime sightings from Arizona and California, a Master Blister Beetle.

Subject:  Velvet Ants!
Location:  Paso Robles, California
April 10, 2016
This one is from our house in Paso Robles. I decided to take its photo in the weeds, rather than move it to a nicer photo location 😀

Find the Velvet Ant

Find the Velvet Ant

Julian Donahue Responds
Glad it was useful; interesting differentiation between venom and pain.
Clare: your “velvet ant” picture looks like 100% vegetation–couldn’t make out the wasp at all! 🙂
jpd

Dearest Clare,
We love your image, especially because many insects try harder to blend in than to stand out.  We have cropped your image for the internet so that we can challenge our readers to “Find the Velvet Ant” and we are going to try to identify your straw colored
Dasymutilla species.  Perhaps we will just challenge our readers to “Find the Name of the Velvet Ant” after they have located the Hymenopteran in your image.

Subject: Red ant locking bug with black legs
Location: Corona, CA
April 10, 2016 11:14 pm
I found this little bug yesterday in the Cleveland National Forrest, Corona, CA. Can you tell what is it?
Signature: Peter

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Peter,
This is a flightless female wasp known as a Velvet Ant and she is reported to have a very painful sting.  Your Velvet Ant is in the genus
Dasymutilla, possibly Dasymutilla aureola pacifica based on this BugGuide image, though we suspect dissection of the genitalia may be the only way to properly determine the species.  The species may be identified, according to BugGuide, because “Females (wingless): Covered with red vestiture; thorax as broad as long, and the head is broader than the thorax.”  Perhaps it is the camera angle, but the head on your Velvet Ant does not appear to be broader than the thorax.  Perhaps based on this BugGuide image, your Velvet Ant might be Dasymutilla vestita.  We include the Velvet Ant on our Big Five link of “Bugs” that may result in an extremely painful and/or possibly deadly encounter, though that deadliness is far more likely to occur in the “Bug” than the human.