From the daily archives: "Thursday, July 14, 2016"

Subject: Um, super cool
Location: Las Vegas, nv
July 14, 2016 1:34 pm
What the heck is this guy? He’s just chilling on my patio. I got really close to him, he’s fearless but non aggressive.
Signature: Las Vegas

Robber Fly:  Efferia albibarbis

Robber Fly: Efferia albibarbis

We believe we have correctly identified your Robber Fly as a male Efferia albibarbis based on images posted to BugGuide.

Subject: Second Spotted Wing Dragonfly
Location: Faribault County, Minnesota
July 14, 2016 12:58 pm
Greetings!
I think I owe y’all an apology.
I asked about the identification of some dragonflies this week, one being amber in color and two with spotted wings. The way I phrased my query could lead one to assume the spotted wing photos were of the same dragonfly; they are not the same dragonfly. Differing angles, yes; the spots however are not the same.
So, I am re-submitting the one and adding an additional photo to go with it taken at an ever so slightly different angle (I think I moved a tad while weeding).
The third image is another photo of the female Common Whitetail you identified for me. I figured you could add it to your files. I’m allowed three attachments, after all …
Thanks so much!
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow

Immature Male Whitetail

Immature Male Common Whitetail

Dear Wanda,
Does your rain garden have a pond?  You have so many marvelous Dragonflies.  As we wrote yesterday, the spotted winged Dragonfly is a female Common Whitetail,
Plathemis lydia.  The other spotted winged Dragonfly image you provided today is an immature male Common Whitetail.  Many Dragonflies are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females look like different species.  Additionally, many Dragonflies have immature individuals that change in color as they mature.  The Common Whitetail is one such species and the mature male Common Whitetail has a namesake white abdomen.  According to BugGuide:  “Males and females have different wing patterns. … Immature males have the same body pattern as females but the same wing pattern as mature males. … Mature males have a short, stout abdomen that is completely chalky blue-white covering the adolescent pattern. … Females have a short, stout abdomen with several oblique dorsolateral white or pale yellow markings against a brown ground color; each wing has three black evenly-spaced blotches.”

Female Whitetail

Female Whitetail

Thank you, Daniel et al!
Unless you count the birdbath, we have no pond or standing water (so no dragonfly nymphs) here at the apartments. We do water most evenings, especially since we’ve been moving plants and adding others and the days are getting hotter and drier. Others in town do have small rain gardens; Mom lives a mile away on the edge of town and her rain garden does have water since her sump pump drains into the rain garden down an artificial waterfall inset. In heavier rains, the field behind her has standing water for a few days and the peepers sing their chorus until the water dries up. I saw a spotted wing dragonfly there yesterday, but it flew away before I could make an ID.
So now I have a female Common Whitetail, an immature male Common Whitetail – all I need to photo now is a mature male Common Whitetail. I’ll keep my eyes open!
I do agree we have interesting dragonflies here; I have photos of reds, other blues, other spotted wings, small sizes, medium sizes, and a giant (as big as my hand!) green that reminds me of Cyclops. I have a few marvelous photos of Damselflies as well. I’ll send some more photos later this summer.
Thank you, again. I appreciate your time and attention to making these identifications for me.
Blessings to you!
Wanda

Subject: caterpillar
Location: Bulgaria
July 14, 2016 5:55 am
We found this little guy crawling on our balcony. He’s pretty tiny, so maybe his coloring will be different as he grows. We’d like to try and watch him grow, but aren’t sure what he’d eat. We’re in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Signature: Deborah

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Deborah,
This looks like a Hummingbird Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Macroglossum stellatarum, a species that is included on Wild About Britain.  According to UK Moths:  “The larvae feed on bedstraw (Galium), and some of these may hatch and give rise to autumn adults in an influx year.”  According to Lepidoptera and their Ecology:  “In Central Europe every year countless caterpillars are destroyed by excessive mowing of the meadows and roadsides, but this has probably little impact on the migratory species.”

Subject: Unicorn beetle
Location: Bluegrass area of Kentucky, USA
July 14, 2016 8:28 am
I found this beetle walking across a busy parking lot. Folks were kind enough to stop while I shot this picture, then move him to a grassy area. I grew up with The Golden Books as my teacher about nature, and they listed these as unicorn beetles. This one was shown as the male of the species (and a lovely one he is). Your site lists them as Hercules beetles. After 60 years of calling them “unicorns,” it’s going to be awfully hard for me to change. 🙁
Signature: Gin

Unicorn Beetle

Unicorn Beetle

Dear Gin,
There is no need for you to change, and we would never think of challenging the iconic Golden Books when it comes to terminology.  According to BugGuide, the Eastern Hercules Beetle is also called a Rhinoceros Beetle or a Unicorn Beetle.  We are even titling your posting Unicorn Beetle in the interest of expanding terminology.

Thank you! Change at my age is…difficult. 🙂 I shall continue to call them unicorn beetles.

Subject: Bee? Beetle?
Location: Nevada
July 13, 2016 10:09 pm
Ok so like we say this bug outside of our home and it’s like an inch long it’s ready big and we have never seen anything like it before!
Signature: Karina

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Dear Karina,
Neither.  This iconic insect is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket.

Subject: Caterpillar identification
Location: Kalamazoo Michigan
July 13, 2016 6:37 pm
This little guy and a couple friends are eating my plants in flowering pot
Signature: Jack

American Lady Caterpillar

American Lady Caterpillar

Dear Jack,
This beautiful caterpillar is an American Lady Caterpillar, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on Cudweeds, Everlastings and Pussytoes –
Gnaphalium, Anaphalis, Antennaria.”  BugGuide also notes that other names for the American Lady are “Hunter’s Butterfly” and “Dama dos ojos” in Spanish.

Thanks Daniel. I will make an extra effort to protect them. Butterflies are a spectacular creation.
Have a great day.