From the yearly archives: "2016"

Subject: Hummingbird Lepidopteran
Location: Bronx NY
August 19, 2016 8:01 am
Found this beauty outside the butterfly garden I worked at this summer. Had large transparent patches on its wings.
Signature: Anthony Macchiano

Hummingbird Clearwing

Hummingbird Clearwing

Dear Anthony,
Though there are several similar looking, closely related species in your area, we agree that this is most likely a Hummingbird Clearwing,
Hemaris thysbe, and you can read more about it on the Sphingidae of the Americas site.

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Subject:  Female Scarab Hunter Wasp
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 18, 2016 9:30 AM
Just as we were leaving the office today to gawk at the guerilla art Donald Trump sculpture at Wacko (see LA Times or LAist ), we had to make a slight delay to take some images of this gorgeous female Scarab Hunter Wasp,
Campsomeris tolteca, nectaring on the flowering peppermint.  We first identified this species four years ago in Elyria Canyon Park.  Alas, the statue was in for the night, so we will have to return to Wacko during business hours.   Our identification of the female Scarab Hunter Wasp can be verified on BugGuide.

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Subject:  For Bug Love
Location:  sorry… Magdalen Hill
August 18, 2016
For Bug Love
http://butterfly-conservation.org/2401-1937/magdalen-hill-down-hampshire.html
Clare

Mating Soldier Beetles

Mating Soldier Beetles

Dear Clare,
These are mating Soldier Beetles, and there is not a high enough resolution in your image to be certain of the species.  We located several similar looking species on Nature Spot, and regarding the species
Cantharis cryptica, Nature Spot indicates:  “7 to 8.5 mm. An orange/brown beetle with black rings above the ‘knees’ and all-yellow palps. There are several similar species and precise identification may need detailed examination.”  Another possible species is Cantharis rufa, and Nature Spot indicates:  “Length 9 – 11 mm. This soldier beetle is largely all orange but sometimes there is a black mark on the pronotum which is quite square looking and doesn’t reach to the front border (extending just over half way). The legs may be be pale or dark but with contrasting ‘knees’ in both cases.  Similar Species:  This species is larger than the similar Cantharis cryptica and C. pallida – both of which are 7-8mm in length. Rhagonycha translucida lacks the blacks knees and has a pronotum that narrows towards the head.”  Of the similar looking Cantharis pallida, Nature Spot indicates:  “They are frequent visitors to thistles and umbelliferous flowers, where they probably prey on other flower-feeding insects.”  That is a thistle in your image.  Finally, we could not rule out the larger Common Red Soldier Beetle, Rhagonycha fulva, and Nature Spot states:  “A very common beetle throughout most of Britain.”  After all that, we hope a family identification will suffice.

Subject: Fly
Location: My home in West Yorkshire UK
August 19, 2016 8:24 am
I found this fly in the house and only after “disposing” of it did I notice the white band around it’s body and the wing markings.. I’ve looked in my small book but found no record of it. I’m assuming it’s not a rarity but just wondered if you guys knew the species.
Thanks
Signature: Joe Lyman

Hover Fly

Great Pied HoverFly

Dear Joe,
This is a Hover Fly, , which we identified on British Hoverflies.  According to Nature Spot:  “Sometimes called the Pellucid Hoverfly, this is one of the largest flies in Britain. It has a striking ivory-white band across its middle and large dark spots on its wings.”  Nature Spot also states:  “Its larvae live in the nests of social wasps and bumblebees, eating waste products and the bee larvae.”  According to UK Safari:  “The Pellucid Hoverfly can be found in most wooded areas in the UK.  It’s shape and size are very bumblebee-like.  The name ‘pellucid’ literally means translucently clear, and if you catch this hoverfly in a certain light you can see right through its middle.  The other popular common name for this hoverfly is the ‘Great Pied Hoverfly’ on account of its black and white colouring. ”  According to Opal Westmidlands:  “
V. pellucens is by far the most common species of the genus and widely distributed across the UK.”

Great Pied Hoverfly

Great Pied Hoverfly

Wow… Cheers for a comprehensive identification..
Thanks and regards Joe

Subject: larvae insect
Location: Los Angeles
August 19, 2016 4:08 am
Hi,
Since a week, my house wall outside is filled with 100-200 tiny larvae.
I live in Los Angeles. I would say they are 4-5mm long maybe.
Thanks!
Signature: Rafael

Mayfly Exuvia, we believe

Mayfly Exuvia, we believe

Hi Rafael,
Do you live near the LA River or some other body of water?  Or, do you have a pond in your yard?  This looks like the aquatic larva of a Mayfly, or more accurately, the exuvia of a Mayfly.  When they near maturity, the aquatic naiads climb out of the water and molt, flying off as a subadult.  The subadult of a Mayfly is one of the only insects that molts a second time once it is winged, eventually emerging as a mature adult Mayfly.  Since the larvae are aquatic, they need a body of water in which to develop.  Do the larvae move?  If not, then they are simply the exuviae, or cast-off exoskeletons.

Thanks for your answer.
We live about 2 blocks ~8 minutes walk from the LA river which is really the suburban area…all concrete.
There are 2 swimming pools nearby neighbors, but they are usually taking care if them. Otherwise no other water besides sprinklers.
Thanks
Rafael

Subject: What’s that bug?
Location: Stavanger in Norway
August 19, 2016 3:37 am
Found it today in Norway, doesn’t seem to fly. It’s afraid to move.
Signature: Raphaël

Longicorn:  Leptura quadrifasciata

Longicorn: Leptura quadrifasciata

Dear Raphaël,
This is a Longicorn in the family Cerambycidae, and we believe we have correctly identified it as
Leptura quadrifasciata, beginning with a FlickR image that indicates:  “Origin: Europe
Ecology: Development in Hardwood Location: Germany, Bavaria, Upper Franconia, Kulmbach.”  We verified that identification on Biodiversity Reference where we learned:  “It has the long antennae characteristic of the family and, like most longhorns, is associated with old woodland, where its larvae are wood-borers in old trunks and stumps and logs.
L. quadrifasciata is said to be associated particularly with oak (Quercus) and alder (Alnus) (Lonsdale, 1991), though willows (Salix) are evidently also much used in central Europe. Nutrition of longhorn beetles appears to be from the wood itself, unlike a number of wood-boring beetles that feed primarily on the associated fungi. Adult L. quadrifasciata feeds on pollen and it is one of the species that can be seen on flowers such as various umbellifers.  Identification Longhorn beetles are variable in their patterning and identification can be difficult. L. quadrifasciata is, however, a distinctive species, with the four yellow bands running across its elytra, though the size of these bands can vary.”  It is called the Four-Banded Longhorn Beetle on Nature Spot, and while there is no image on the site, it states:  “Widespread but rather local distribution it is generally fairly frequent in Britain.”  There are plenty of images on BioPix, but not much information.  Both sexes are depicted on Cerambycidae, and this information is provided:  “Host plant:    polyphagous in deciduous trees (Alnus, Fagus, Salix, Populus, Quercus, Betula, Corylus etc.)  Distribution:    Europe, Turkey, Caucasus, Transcaucasia, North Iran.”  Finally, we found an image of Leptura quadrifasciata in our own archives, and we received a comment from Mardikavana that states:  “By the looks of it it is a male because the tip of female antennae is yellow (last three segments). Males have black antennae.”  It is difficult to discern the color in the tips of the antennae in the sharper of your images, and in the image that has more shallow depth of field, with the antennae out of focus, it appears the tips may be yellow, indicating you may have found a female Four Banded Longhorn Beetle, but since the color balance of your two images is different, we suspect the difference in the antennae we perceived might be due to light source, flash photography versus incandescent light.

Longicorn:  Leptura quadrifasciata

Longicorn: Leptura quadrifasciata