From the daily archives: "Monday, July 18, 2016"

Subject: Red mystery wasp
Location: near Ottawa, Ontario
July 18, 2016 3:43 pm
What is this beautiful little insect? I’m guessing some sort of wasp, maybe a parasitic wasp? I photographed it last week along Cedar Grove Nature Trail near Ottawa, where I see many fascinating tiny insects I can’t identify!
Signature: Suzanne

Ichneumon Stalks Caterpillar

Ichneumon Stalks Caterpillar

Dear Suzanne,
This is an amazing image.  We suspect that the Ichneumon Wasp, which you speculated correctly is a parasitoid, is stalking the Caterpillar.  Caterpillars are a common host to many species of Ichneumons.  Ichneumons are often very host specific, frequently limiting their prey to a single genus, or even a single species.  We are probably not even going to attempt to identify this Ichneumon beyond the family level as according to BugGuide, there are:  “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed”  The caterpillar may be an Inchworm in the family Geometridae.

Subject: What killed this wasp!?
Location: Cincinnati
July 18, 2016 3:24 pm
The other day my girlfriend saw this larger mosquito looking thing on her chair. And then today we saw it take down a full grown wasp! We want to know if we have been brought a savior, or will it kill my family in my sleep?
Signature: Billy Yeager

Hanging Thief eats Paper Wasp

Hanging Thief eats Wasp

Dear Billy,
The predator in your image is a Hanging Thief, a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, and it is easy to see where they got their common name by looking at your image.  Thief is a synonym for the family name Robber and the members of the genus Diogmites frequently feed while hanging from a single front leg.  Large Robber Flies are impressive predators that hunt on the wing, and BugGuide describes the diet of the Hanging Thieves as eating “insects (often larger than themselves), mostly aculeate Hymenoptera, but also Odonata and Diptera (incl. members of the same species).”  The stinging insects in the order Hanging Thieves feed upon include wasps as in your image and bees. 

Subject: Beetle?
Location: Southern New Jersey
July 18, 2016 7:28 am
Dear Bugman, I recently had the pleasure of encountering several what I believe to be are beetles in our recently purchased home? At first I thought one was surely was a cockroach but after doing some research I believe it is a beetle. These beetles are huge, never seen before in my life here in New Jersey. Root Borer? Prionus? The 1st picture is what I surely thought was a cockroach and was found inside our home and we moved it outside. 2nd was found after dark walking along outside by our patio door. 3rd was one found outside our home in the early morning apparently dead. Thanks so much for your help!
Signature: Sincerely, Chuck

Brown Prionid

Brown Prionid

Dear Chuck,
Your first image, the beetle you mistook for a Cockroach is a Brown Prionid,
Orthosoma brunneum.  The second is a female Broadnecked Root Borer, Prionus laticollis.  Both are classified in the subfamily Prioninae, but they are in different genera.  Your third beetle is a male Reddish-Brown Stag Beetle.  We receive numerous identification requests for each of these three species every summer.  

Broadnecked Root Borer

Broadnecked Root Borer

Daniel, cannot thank you enough for taking the time for identifying them. Sorry they were so common, I’ve never seen a beetle that large in all my life, let alone few different species of something that large. Our home backs to the woods with lots of older some dead trees. Thanks again for your time and help!
Chuck

Hi again Chuck,
There is no need to apologize.  It is nice being able to post new images of different species each year.

Subject: Can you identify?
Location: kansas city
July 17, 2016 8:49 pm
I’m submitting two pictures.
can you identify the orange bug
feeding on the milkweed? The other picture I’m thinking is either a month or a butterfly?
Thank you for your time 🙂
Signature: Julie

Silver Spotted Skipper

Silver Spotted Skipper

Dear Julie,
When we receive a single request with multiple species, we generally split them apart for classification purposes.  We will only be posting your image of a Silver Spotted Skipper,
Epargyreus clarus, which according to BugGuide:  “is one of the most conspicuous skippers, partly because of its size and partly because of its distinct silvery markings, which show while the insect rests. The caterpillars hide all day in silken nests among foliage, emerging to feed at night. There is one generation a year in the North; two or more in the South.”  Though classified as a butterfly, most naturalists recognize that Skippers also possess many characteristics of moths.  Your other image is of an Ailanthus Webworm Moth.

Subject: What this bug?
Location: Tennessee
July 16, 2016 4:53 pm
We found this bug on my husbands cruiser. We live in OakRidge TN. The season of course is summer. He became very aggressive when caught and changed colors.
Signature: Christen T.

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

Dear Christen,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the genus
Acanthocephala, and you may compare your image to this BugGuide image.

Subject: Big yellow fly
Location: Western NC
July 17, 2016 4:56 pm
Greetings to you: I studied some entomology in college and stay fascinated with all 6 and 8 legged creatures. Today this fly was menacing like bee flies are not. It was about 4cm in length. Any idea? A robber fly maybe?
Signature: Buzz in NC

No need to reply, I know now it’s a robber fly.
Thanks!

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Dear Buzz in NC,
We know you wrote we didn’t need to reply, but we thought you might be curious if we were able to take the identification further than the Robber Fly family.  We are pretty certain this is one of the Bee-Like Robber Flies in the genus
Laphria, and it looks like a pretty good match to the images of Laphria apila on BugGuide, but those images all represent a single individual from Florida.  Your individual appears to have more yellow on the abdomen, but that could represent variation within the species, or it might be a different species.  Your individual looks like this BugGuide image that includes this comment from Ben Coulter:  “The bald thorax with long fringe of hairs on the margin reminds me of apila. I hate to suggest it without good reason, but perhaps this is one of those oft-invoked undescribed species.”  Here is another BugGuide image that is unidentified, though there is some speculation it might be Laphria apila.