From the monthly archives: "October 2017"

Subject:  What bug is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Lampedusa, Italy
Date: 10/22/2017
Time: 08:14 AM EDT
I’m currently staying on the island of Lampedusa and seeing some unfamiliar bugs. This was has just appeared on my balcony – I thought it some kind of bee at first but on closer inspection looks more like a furry beetle.
Also, am I better off leaving it or relocating it to an area with shrubs etc?
How you want your letter signed:  Mike

Bumblebee Scarab

Dear Mike,
We are nearly certain that this is a Bumblebee Scarab in the family Glaphyridae.  Here is a Project Noah image of a member of the family and PICSSR has a nice image by YM Zhang that looks very similar to your individual.  Forum Entomologi Italiani has numberous images of members of this family, including this image of
Pygopleurus apicalis.  If you send your images to them and you get a response, please let us know.  According to The Scarabs of the Levant:  “Except for a few species, life histories of the glaphyrids are poorly documented. Adults are often brightly colored, densely setose, active diurnally, and strong fliers. Many species have colored setal bands on the abdomen and resemble various Hymenoptera (bumble bees and metallic bees). They are frequenting flowers (often red Ranuncolacee and Tulipa) and foliage.”

Bumblebee Scarab

Subject:  Beetle eating banana slug Southeast Alaska
Geographic location of the bug:  Juneau, AK
Date: 10/22/2017
Time: 02:03 PM EDT
Hi there! I see these beetles wandering the ground and on and under rotten logs all over Southeast Alaska and the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, British Columbia) and I have not been able to ID them! They have these wonderful purpleish abdomens and are maybe an inch long or less. This one was found with a baby banana slug in its jaws! What is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks! -Mike J

Snail Eating Ground Beetle with immature Banana Slug

Dear Mike,
Your image is gorgeous.  We have several images on our site of Snail Hunters or Snail Eating Ground Beetles in the genus
Scaphinotus, but your image is the only one showing its preferred prey.  According to BugGuide:  “55 spp. in 9 subgenera total, all in our area.”  Several species are known from Alaska, including Scaphinotus angusticollis which is pictured on BugGuide and Scaphinotus marginatus which is also pictured on BugGuide.  Both species look very similar to your individual and we are not confident enough to provide an exact species identification for you.  According to Bugs of the Month:  “Scaphinotus angusticollis is large (satisfyingly so) and black, with a beauteous purple or greenish sheen in sunlight. The thorax is peculiarly shaped, turned up at the outer edges (a bit like a satellite dish), the legs are quite long and slender and the head is distinctly narrow and elongate. Truly the Afghan hound of the carabid world. The narrow head is an adaptation to eating snails from the shell. Now there are shelled snails in forests around these parts, but with forest clearing and the introduction of non-native pests, shelled snails are less frequent and slugs abound.”

Wow thank you for the thorough reply! They really are quite beautiful, and now I know that the beetles I see eating snails and on the ground are snail eating ground beetles 🙂 You are right, those two species are nearly identical, I guess if I was on the spotI would tell someone it was Angusticolus.

Thanks again!
Stay Curious

Mike Justa
Wildlife Naturalist

Subject:  Stinging caterpillar? It’s a beauty!
Geographic location of the bug:  San Antonio, Tx, 90 degree October day.
Date: 10/21/2017
Time: 02:10 AM EDT
Hello wonderful bugmen!
I found this beauty in my front yard, my kids and I enjoyed it without touching it. I try to teach appreciation without disturbing. Not sure of what exactly we were appreciating, though, but after searching through your fb feed thought maybe it shared some similarities to a stinging caterpillar? It was only maybe 1-1.5” long, small little thing, but gorgeous nonetheless. Thank you for all that you do! I love your site and appreciate your work!
How you want your letter signed:  Monica Barrientes

Stinging Slug Caterpillar: Euclea species

Dear Monica,
We love your philosophy of educating your children to appreciate the wonders of the natural world while exercising caution.  Many otherwise harmless creatures have developed defenses to protect themselves from predators and other threats, and they do not attach unnecessarily, but caution should be exercised when handling them, though one is often better not handling them.  You are correct that this is a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae.  Based on this BugGuide image, we are confident it is in the genus
Euclea, a group that includes the Spiny Oak Slug, but we cannot identify the species with certainty.  According to BugGuide:  “NOTE: BugGuide photos from the southeastern states previously identified as Spiny Oak-Slug Moth (Euclea delphinii) have been moved to the genus page because we have no information (as of December 2006) on how to distinguish adults or larvae of delphinii from the virtually identical Euclea nanina.”  Three members of the genus are found in Texas.  According to BugGuide:  “E. delphinii: southern Quebec and New Brunswick to Florida, west to Texas and Oklahoma, north to Minnesota.  E. incisa: Arizona east to central Texas.  E. nanina: South Carolina to Florida, west to Texas.”

Stinging Slug Caterpillar: Euclea species

Subject:  large caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Crete, Greece
Date: 10/22/2017
Time: 11:16 AM EDT
I want to find out which creature begins life as the caterpillar I saw in my garden yesterday, 21st October.
How you want your letter signed:  C Paylor

Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear C Paylor,
This is a Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Acherontia atropos, a species that gets its common name because of the skull-like markings on the thorax of the adult Death’s Head Hawkmoth.  There are some nice images on the Natural History Museum of Crete website.

Thank you so much for your speedy response. It’s nice to know what creatures are living in your garden.
Christine Paylor

Subject:  Identification of strange insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Starkville, MS
Date: 10/22/2017
Time: 01:33 PM EDT
I found this crab-like spider maybe? That’s what it looks like anyway I was too scared to count the legs. The web was thick green and not silky like a spider web
How you want your letter signed:  Alexandra B

Crablike Spiny Orbweaver

Dear Alexandra,
The Crablike Spiny Orbweaver is spider that poses no threat to humans.  The spider has variable coloration in shades of black, white, red and yellow.  According to BugGuide:  “This species of spider does not live very long. In fact, the lifespan only lasts until reproduction, which usually takes place the spring following the winter when they hatched. Females die after producing an egg mass, and males die six days after a complete cycle of sperm induction to the female”
and “This spider adds little tufts of silk to its web. According to Florida’s Fabulous Spiders ‘these little flags serve a warning function to prevent birds from flying into the web, destroying it.‘”

Subject:  Some type of longhorned beetle, which one?
Geographic location of the bug:  Bangalore, India
Date: 10/21/2017
Time: 01:19 PM EDT
Greetings Bugman!
I found this fellow, dead under a Ficus Religiosa, in Bangalore, India. Actually, I visit this tree, post lunch everyday. I had noticed this on the branches, often.
The images are on Google drive:
How you want your letter signed:  Naveen


Dear Naveen,
This is truly an impressive Longicorn, and its antennae are amazing.  We did not find anything similar on Prioninae of the World, but we might have missed it.  We will continue to attempt a species identification for you.


Update:  Cesar Crash of Insetologia sent a comment that identifies this beautiful male Longicorn as being in the genus Neocerambyx, and this image of Neocerambyx paris on Cerambycoidea Forum looks very similar.