From the monthly archives: "June 2017"

Subject: What the heck is this?
Location: West Hartford, CT
June 30, 2017 8:54 am
I have never seen one of these before, and my go to bug nerd friend was stumped, too. It appears to have come out of a thin clear cocoon of sorts, so I am guessing it started life as an inconspicuous wormy thing recently reborn as this little weirdo. I found it on the window in my office.
Signature: Should I be Worried


Though it resembles a Preying Mantis, this Mantidfly is classified in a completely different insect order with Lacewings and Antlions.

Thanks! I put the little guy in my garden. Hopefully, that’s a better spot for it than my office. Definitely going to look this one up.
Have a great day!

Subject: Huntsman Spider?
Location: Nashville, TN
June 29, 2017 9:02 pm
Just curious if this is a huntsman spider
Signature: Spider Identification

Fishing Spider, we believe

Your image detail is not ideal for exact species identification, but we are certain that this is NOT a Huntsman Spider.  We believe it is a Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes, but we would not rule out that it might be a Wolf Spider like this Thin-Legged Wolf Spider pictured on BugGuide.

Subject: Black waved flannel moth
Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia
June 30, 2017 12:46 am
I’m pretty certain that these photos are of the Black Waved Flannel Moth (checking against bug guide)(and reading that you have had endless photos of them). …I got no absolute confirmation from Bugguide but there were many photos of identical moths. The information I can’t seem to find, is what relationship these moths have to the Puss Caterpillar. They seem to be separate ….there are the megalopygea opercularis and then there are the species Lagoa crispata. Both Flannel Moths? Similar looking caterpillars?.
And the Puss Caterpillar is VENOMOUS but I can’t find information on how venomous the Lagoa crispata is. Or the specific caterpillar. The internet is conflicting. Are they venomous and are they AS venomous?
Signature: Susan Warner

Black Waved Flannel Moth

Dear Susan,
All the images you provided are details.  We wish you had provided a standard dorsal view of the entire moth.  We believe your identification of the Black Waved Flannel Moth is correct, and the antennae indicate this is a male moth.  BugGuide does indicate:  “Caution, Hairs on caterpillar highly irritating, as in all of this family!”  So, the family Megalopygea includes both
Lagoa crispata and Megalopyge opercularis, but they are classified in different genera within the family.  According to an article on the Asp, Megalopyge opercularis, by David M. Eagleman on EaglemanLab:  “Envenomation from the spines of the caterpillar causes severe pain, burning, swelling, nausea, abdominal distress, and headache. … The best known venomous caterpillar in the American south- west is the puss moth caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis, commonly called an asp, wooly asp, Italian asp, opossum bug, wooly slug, and el perrito. It is considered one of the most toxic caterpillars in North America.”  We agree with you that the two caterpillars look very similar, and it is entirely possible that some Asp postings on our site are misidentified, and are actually the caterpillars of the Black Waved Flannel Moth.  Regarding the relative venomousness of the two species, we cannot provide you with a scale or data, but we do know that irritation and reactions to stings and bites from insects vary from person to person.  Some folks are highly allergic to the sting of a Honey Bee while other folks are barely affected at all beyond the initial pain of the sting.  Some folks have tremendous reactions to the bite of a Lacewing, while others are not affected at all.  We would urge you to refrain from handling both species, though again, distinguishing between the two might be difficult.  It is also possible that the sting of the Black Waved Flannel Moth caterpillar has not been studied as extensively as has the Asp.  Of the entire Flannel Moth family Megalopygidae, the Auburn Agriculture page on Stinging Caterpillars states:  “Flannel moth caterpillars, like slug caterpillars, do not exactly fit the description of the typical lepidopterous larva. Structurally they differ in having seven pairs of prolegs rather than five (or less) pairs common to typical caterpillars. Most are clothed with fine, long, silky hairs. There are no conspicuous large, threatening, bristle-bearing “horns” to warn of danger; however, concealed within the hairy coats are venomous setae capable of producing severe reactions.”  While the Black Waved Flannel Moth is not discussed in the article, Auburn Agriculture does clearly state:  ”  Puss Caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis) The puss caterpillar (the adult is called southern flannel moth) is our most ‘dangerous’ stinging caterpillar. Contact may produce severe reactions including: intense burning and nettling of the skin; severe pain; reddening and inflammation; development of pustules and other lesions; numbness; swelling, which may sometimes be extensive; and nausea. Pain may persist from one to twelve or more hours. In some instances, victims have required medical attention. The larva is urticating in all stages, but severity of the reaction is generally proportional to size. Also, newly molted skins retain stinging capabilities.”  There you have it.  According to Auburn Agriculture, the Asp is “our [North American] most ‘dangerous’ stinging caterpillar.”

Subject: supplement photo (dorsal)
Location: Frederericksburg
June 30, 2017 8:19 pm
I have a dorsal view of the moth…better overall….not just the detail….of the Black Waved Flannel Moth photo i sent, to help make an ABSOLUTE identification.
It seems that both the puss variety and this one are all something to avoid. I wanted to know if seeing this moth might indicate puss or super venomous caterpillars in the vicinity. A friend in the southwest once had to go to the ER after leaning on a puss caterpillar.
Subject: Black waved flannel moth
Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia
June 30, 2017 12:46 am
Signature: Susan Warner

Black Waved Flannel Moth

Dear Susan,
Thank you for sending in a supplementary dorsal view of a Black Waved Flannel Moth.

Subject: Found this on my balcony in Hong Kong
Location: Hong Kong
June 30, 2017 1:54 am
Hi i just saw this bug on my balcony in Tai Hang, Hong Kong.
What is it?
Signature: MC


Dear MC,
We love your image, but alas, the best we can do at this time is provide you with a family.  This is a Longicorn in the family Cerambycidae.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a species name.


Subject: Vertical flyer?
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
June 30, 2017 6:19 am
This insect seemed to glide down with his antennae upwards, appearing vertical. He landed and crawled around a bit. Never seen one like this. What is it?
Signature: KS

Longicorn: Trachyderes mandibularis

Dear KS,
After delving through postings on BugGuide, we were able to identify your Long-jawed Longhorn Beetle,
Trachyderes mandibularis.  According to BugGuide:  “Males have particularly long mandibles.”

Subject: Giant flying monster
Location: Alberta, canada
June 29, 2017 8:41 pm
I rescued this from my kids pool, left it in the sunshine to dry out. My bug go to people have no idea. We live in northern alberta, Canada by the Athabasca river.
Signature: Susie Jack

Elm Sawfly

Dear Susie Jack,
This impressive creature is an Elm Sawfly, a non-stinging relative of Bees and Wasps.  Larvae of the Elm Sawfly look like caterpillars and they feed on leaves, and according to BugGuide:  “hosts include elm (
Ulmus), maple (Acer), birch (Betula), willow (Salix), and basswood (Tilia).”  Because of your rescue efforts, we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award.