From the monthly archives: "April 2018"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Colorful Ecuadorian caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Rio Silanche Sanctuary, Ecuador
Date: 04/21/2018
Time: 11:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Daniel, et al.
While visiting Ecuador mid-January 2017, I unfurled this Pyrginae  caterpillar from it’s shelter.  Sorry, I don’t know what plant it was on.  I wonder if one of your experts can tell me the name of the skipper.
Thanks much,
How you want your letter signed:  Dwaine

Skipper Caterpillar

Hi Dwaine,
This is a gorgeous caterpillar.  Upon embarking on identification research, we quickly found this very different, but also colorfully striped Skipper Caterpillar on FlickR and another Skipper Caterpillar (
Astraptes fulgerator) from Brazil on FlickR, shot by the same photographer, is an even closer match to your individual.  Despite the color difference, we would not rule out that your individual might be Astraptes fulgerator or another member of the genus.  Caterpillars often change color just prior to metamorphosis, and pink and purple are two colors some caterpillars assume when undergoing morphological changes.  This Biodiversity in Focus article cites the genus Astraptes and DNA identification, and it contains an image of some variability in Astraptes caterpillars based on food plants.  There are also images of Two-Barred Flasher Caterpillars on the North American Butterfly Association of South Texas site.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can provide any information.

Skipper Caterpillar

Thank you so much!!  That is a wealth of information I did not have.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black flying bug in large window
Geographic location of the bug:  UK
Date: 04/18/2018
Time: 01:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  For the first time I’ve been seeing these beetles (?) in a large window in our house. Half a dozen will be seen over the course of a day. The seem to crawl on it around the window, in our sitting room only. No food is present, no flour in the house.
The are approx 5mm long. The can fly but are slow to do so.
Have seen a few for the last couple of months, but now we are in Springtime the appear more frequently.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
How you want your letter signed:  DS

Deathwatch Beetle

Dear DS,
This looks to us like a Deathwatch Beetle in the genus
Ptilinus, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae are wood-borers [our spp. in hardwood.”  UK sightings are documented on UK Beetle Recording and according to the Website of the Watford Coleoptera Group:  “A wood borer, colonies of which are usually found in dry exposed Faguswood but a wide variety of hosts have been recorded including Sambucus, Fraxinus, Acer, Quercus, Ulnus etc as well as plywood and ornamental timber ¹. Both standing and felled timber are attacked.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Subject:  What are these Assassin Bug nymphs doing?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 04:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  That’s definitive, but what are they doing rolling around those sacks, and some of the sacks have been hung up?
Thanks for identifying.
How do you want your letter signed:  Mel Frank

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs with “Pod”

Ed. Note:  We met recently with noted author Mel Frank (see Amazon) and we correctly identified what he thought were Assassin Bug nymphs found on Cannabis as Leaf Footed Bug nymphs, probably in the genus Leptoglossus, based on BugGuide images as well as images from our own archives, and he wrote back wondering about this unusual activity.

“Pods” hung by immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi again Mel,
As we stated earlier, these Leaf Footed Bug nymphs are phytophagous, meaning they feed on plants.  Like other members of the True Bug suborder Heteroptera, they have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids, and members of this genus are frequently found on plants like tomatoes, pomegranate and citrus, and they damage fruit.  BugGuide notes:  “some are extremely polyphagous” indicating that they will feed from many types of plants.  Some typically plant feeding True Bugs are known to feed on dead and dying insects, including members of their own species, but that is opportunistic behavior and not true predatory behavior.  What you witnessed and observed over time, the nymphs “rolling around those sacks” and then hanging them up, sounds like the behavior of a predator storing food the way spiders wrap up prey with silk.  We wonder, perhaps, if while feeding by sucking the fluids from your
Cannabis, these Leaf Footed Bugs ingested cannabinoids resulting in altered “mindbending” behavior similar to experiments on a Spider’s ability to spin a web after exposure to drugs (see Priceonomics).  We have not clue at this time exactly what is in that sack these nymphs were rolling around, or why they were rolling them around and hanging them up.  It is a mystery.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he knows anything about this type of behavior in Leaf Footed Bugs from the family Coreidae.  We can’t help but be reminded of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and the aliens using pods to generate simulacra of humans. 

Update April 25, 2018:  Eric Eaton provides information.
Daniel:
So the plant they are on is marijuana?  In any event, yes, these are Leptoglossus nymphs, which typically feed on seeds or seed pods, and that is what the “sacs” are.  I’m a bit perplexed by the “webbing” around them.  The nymphs may be maneuvering the seeds to find a good place to pierce them so they can suck out the juicy contents.
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

The mystery is the sacs. The only plant nearby was the pomegranate tree with lots of pomegranates. Also, some of the sacs have been hung.
Thanks for clearing this up.

Pomegranate is one of the primary host plants for Leaf Footed Bugs in the Los Angeles area.  You frequently find numerous individuals feeding on a single pomegranate.  The “sacs” look somewhat like unripe pomegranate seeds.
Update:  August 25, 2018
Daniel: You told me that these are leaf-footed bug. I’ve found near identical images online that id them as leaf-footed, but also have found images that are identified as assassin bug nymphs.

What makes me think these might be assassin bugs is the “sacks” that were hung nearby and that the bugs were involved with them.
Anyway, I am not the only one confused as clearly people are identifying them as one or the other and I can’t see the differences in the images that are posted.
Mel Frank

Mystery of Leaf Footed Bugs with “pods”

Hi again Mel,
We are sticking with immature Leaf Footed Bugs, probably genus Leptoglossus.  Can you please provide the links?
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Is this a beetle ?
Geographic location of the bug:  France
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 06:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I would really like to find out what kind of bug this is I’m reallh curious, I found it late at night in my garden, thank you for any help.
How you want your letter signed:  Thomas Young

Cockchafer

Dear Thomas,
This Scarab Beetle,
Melolontha melolontha, is commonly called a Cockchafer or Billy Witch in England.  According to Cabi, the International common names include:  “French: hanneton commun; man; turc.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Giant Swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 011:20 AM EDT
This morning from the window, Daniel noticed this Giant Swallowtail land in the meadow out front.  Daniel has learned through the years to get a shot quickly before fine tuning adjustments and camera angle, and sure enough, as he moved closer for a better angle, this beauty flew off.  If memory serves us correctly, Giant Swallowtails, which are native to the eastern United States, first appeared in Los Angeles around 1998.  Cultivation of citrus trees and the adaptation of citrus trees as an acceptable food for the caterpillars have led to this significant range expansion.

Giant Swallowtail

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Unidentified fly
Geographic location of the bug:  North Carolina
Date: 04/18/2018
Time: 08:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This was on my door in spring. Never seen one before.
How you want your letter signed:  Charlotte

Tachinid Fly

Dear Charlotte,
Our best guess upon first viewing your image is that this might be a Long Legged Fly in the family Dolichopodidae, but we could not conclusively find any matching images on BugGuide.  It also somewhat resembles this Root Maggot Fly in the family Anthomyiidae pictured on BugGuide.  We hope one of our readers will be able to assist with this identification.

Update:  April 21, 2018
Thanks so much to Cesar Crash of Insetologia who provided us a link to the Tachinid Fly
 Cholomyia inaequipes that is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Females seen on flowers, perhaps (?) taking nectar” and “Parasitoid of weevils (Conotrachelus). Males, at least, come to lights.”  We believe the submitted image is of a male and since it was found on a door handle, it might have been attracted by the porch light.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination