From the daily archives: "Saturday, July 9, 2016"

Subject: Large Wasp ID
Location: Southeastern Washington State
July 9, 2016 12:32 pm
First time these 2″ monsters in South Eastern Washington State. Attracted to all bushes and trees, with or without fruit or flowers. attracted to water also
Signature: Tracey- Washington State

Western Cicada Killer Carnage

Western Cicada Killer Carnage

Dear Tracey,
No insect winds up on our Unnecessary Carnage page more than the Eastern Cicada Killer, because these solitary wasps are large and frightening looking, however they are not aggressive, and though a female is capable of stinging, they do not seem at all interested in stinging people.  You have submitted an image of the Eastern Cicada Killer’s western cousin, the Western Cicada Killer, and we don’t generally get Unnecessary Carnage images of the Western Cicada Killer because we just get far fewer images of them.  Like the eastern cousin, the Western Cicada Killer is a solitary wasp and it is not aggressive.  It was likely searching your trees and bushes for Cicadas because female Cicada Killers sting and paralyze Cicadas, and then drag them back to the nest they have constructed underground.  The female lays an egg on the paralyzed Cicada which then acts as food for the developing larva.

Subject:  Carolina Sphinx
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 8, 2016
We stepped out onto the porch after sunset and saw a huge shadow cast by a flying critter, and when it finally landed, we were thrilled to see this Carolina Sphinx.  We moved it to the primrose patch and away from the disorienting porch light.  Unlike some home gardeners, we generally allow the larval Tobacco Hornworms to continue munching on tomato leaves, but we haven’t seen any yet this year.

Carolina Sphinx

Carolina Sphinx

Subject: Brown Prionus Beetle?
Location: Troy, VA
July 9, 2016 8:56 am
This large and impressive beetle was on my screen last night. I’m guessing it’s a prionus beetle.
Thanks for your help.
Signature: Grace Pedalino

Brown Prionid

Brown Prionid

Dear Grace,
This is NOT a Brown Prionus, but it is a Brown Prionid, and hopefully we will be able to properly explain the difference.  All living organisms on our planet are classified by an increasingly more specific categorization, beginning with the Kingdom, which in this case is Animal, and ending with a species designation of a lower case name following the genus, and forming the binomial that ensures that each creature is recognized as a distinct species worldwide.  It should be noted that a subspecies name may follow the species name, in which case the subspecies will have a trinomial, three-part name.  Your beetle’s binomial genus/species name is
Orthosoma brunneum and it is commonly known as the Brown Prionid.  A Prionid is a Longhorned Borer Beetle that is classified in the subfamily Prioninae, and that subfamily also includes beetles in the genus Prionus.  So the genus Prionus and the genus Orthosoma are both in the subfamily Prioninae and their members collectively can be called the Prionids. 

Subject: Gold ladybug/NOT tortoise beetle
Location: Scottsbluff, Ne
July 8, 2016 9:48 pm
OK, see this beautiful gold ladybug and got a great photo of it before it flew away! Looked it up online and everyone that talkes about a “gold ladybug” says it’s a tortoise beetle, but the pictures of them look nothing like the beauty that landed on me. So, if not a tortoise beetle what is it? Thanks !!
Signature: April Hort

Leaf Beetle: Common Willow Calligrapha

Leaf Beetle: Common Willow Calligrapha

Dear April,
This is neither a Lady Beetle nor a Tortoise Beetle, but it is a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae, and that is the same family as the Tortoise Beetles.  We believe your Leaf Beetle is a Common Willow Calligrapha,
Calligrapha multipunctata, based on images posted to BugGuide.

Thank you!!! I looked it up and it says it’s found in eastern united States? So it must have been lost or the info is not up to date I read( not on your site)! Lol thanks again for your  time!!

Though BugGuide does not list any Nebraska sightings, there are sightings in nearby Colorado, New Mexico and Texas as well as point farther west.  Additionally there are other similar looking species in the same genus.

Subject: never seen a bug like this
Location: KC Missouri
July 8, 2016 5:25 pm
I live in the Midwest KC Missouri to be exact, saw this bug in my driveway.
Signature: Levi

Saddlebags Dragonfly

Saddlebags Dragonfly

Dear Levi,
This is a Dragonfly, and its wing pattern indicates that it is one of the Saddlebags or Dancing Gliders in the genus
Tramea, but it appears to have met an untimely end as it has a missing abdomen.  Some predator, perhaps a bird, ate the soft part of the body and left the harder wings, legs and head.