From the daily archives: "Wednesday, July 20, 2016"

Subject: Help Identify
Location: Talbott, Tn 37877 in a 80 year old cedar tree
July 20, 2016 5:04 pm
My daughter recently found this little guy hanging from what appeared to be a spider web but upon further examination could have been its own silk. I have been told that it could be a chameleon worm but I can’t find any info to back it up. Can you help identify please? I would like to know incase my daughter finds another one I can tell her to either stay away or its safe to touch. Thanks in advance!
Bryan Hux
6th Grade Science
Jefferson Middle School
Jefferson City Tn
Signature: Bryan Hux

Unknown Spanworm

Juniper Twig Geometer

Dear Bryan,
Though we have not had any success with a species identification, we can tell you this is an Inchworm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae, and it poses no threat to humans as it is neither venomous nor poisonous.  We wish we could be certain that the cedar upon which it was found was also the host plant as we couldn’t find any similar looking Spanworms associated with cedar.  Perhaps one of our readers will have more success at a species identification than we have had searching BugGuide and other sites. 

Karl finds the ID
Hi Daniel and Bryan:
It looks like a Juniper-twig Geometer caterpillar (Patalene olyzonaria). Despite the name, the principal food for the caterpillars is given as cedars of all varieties. Regards, Karl

Thanks so much Karl.  We like our name “Diamondback Spanworm” since the BugGuide description is:  “Larva: body brownish or grayish with dark angular lines dorsally and laterally, creating a diamond-shaped pattern; whitish patches below angular lines in subdorsal area; pair of black dorsal warts on ninth abdominal segment; head brown and gray with dark brown herringbone pattern on lobes.”

Subject: Black and orange flying bug
Location: Brooklyn, NY 11226
July 20, 2016 9:54 am
Hi Bugman,
There is a kind of flying bug around our yard in Brooklyn that appears regularly, freaking out our little 6 year old and his friends because they think it is a wasp. From the photo I took I see it is not a wasp but a black fly I think with an orange band around it’s thorax. I would like to know what it is and if it might bother the kids. ? Thanks!
Signature: Curiously yours, Kathleen Boyer

Female Peach Tree Borer

Female Peach Tree Borer

Dear Kathleen,
You and your son are both wrong.  This is a female Peach Tree Borer,
Synanthedon exitiosa, a species of moth that exhibits pronounced sexual dimorphism, though both male and female Peach Tree Borers are wasp mimics which probably affords them significant protection from predators.  Since they are moths, Peach Tree Borers are harmless and pose no threat to your kids, but they might be compromising the health of your peach trees. 

Subject: What kind of bug is this?!
Location: Warsaw, IN. Northern Indiana close to the country.
July 19, 2016 12:52 pm
we found this on our grill when we were watering our plants & we are dumbfounded by what kind of bug this is.. thank you!
Signature: Britney England

Mydas Fly

Mydas Fly

Dear Britney,
We believe we have correctly identified your Mydas Fly in the family Mydidae as
Mydas tibialis which is described on BugGuide as:  “Black body, smoky wings, brown legs.”  BugGuide describes the harmless members of this family as being:  “Large flies, often wasp mimics. Have prominent, clubbed antennae and distinctive wing venation.”  Though they mimic wasps, Mydas Flies neither sting nor bite and they pose no threat to humans.

Subject: Closeup of annual cicada
Location: Northern Virginia
July 17, 2016 9:39 pm
Found this guy on my driveway and took a few pictures before letting it latch onto a stick to relocate it to a nearby tree. My best guess is either Neotibicen pruinosus or Neocicada hieroglyphica. Do you have any idea what species this guy is?
Signature: M

Annual Cicada

Annual Cicada

Dear M.,
Your macro images of an Annual Cicada are gorgeous.  Thank you so much for alerting us to the reclassification that has occurred regarding the Cicada genus
Tibicen.  According to BugGuide:  “Major Changes in TAXONOMY for this group!  Tibicen Latreille, 1825. North American species formerly assigned to this genus are now placed in:  Neotibicen [and] Hadoa … Historically, the Genus Tibicen was in the sub-Family Tibiceninae, but is now placed in the Cicadinae.  Currently, the family Cicadidae is being restructured and additional updates will follow – hopefully soon.”  We have always had difficulty determining exact species with Annual Cicadas. 

Annual Cicada

Annual Cicada