From the monthly archives: "August 2018"

Subject:  Moth with eggs
Geographic location of the bug:  Mississippi
Date: 08/02/2018
Time: 04:46 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This moth laid it’s eggs on the wall right next to my front door, so it was hard to miss. It looks a bit like the Early Thorn moth, but as far as I can tell from my google searches, they are not supposed to be in North America, so I must be mistaken. However, I can’t find a picture of any other moth that is similar so I thought I’d write to you. I have a young child and thought we might have fun keeping track of the eggs as long as the caterpillars that emerge aren’t the kind that sting. If they are I’ll know to be more cautious.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks for all you do,

Curve-Toothed Geometer with Eggs

You are most welcome.  We quickly identified this Curve-Toothed Geometer, Eutrapela clemataria, on the Insect Identification site where it states:  “The only moth in its genus, the Curve-Toothed Geometer Moth has many distinctive markings that should help in identifying it. When at rest with wings flat, a definitive line that crosses from left to right stops short of reaching the edges of the wings. This line separates dark brown coloring near the head from the lighter brown color at the edge of the wings. The outer edge of the forewings curves downward and ends in a nubby point, or tooth, at the tips of the wings. The hindwings have scalloped edges.  A young caterpillar has a brown body that becomes darker and more purple as it ages. It eats the leaves of common trees like ash, oak, and maple. This easily accessible food source makes it almost effortless when expanding its range. Two generations are produced each year in warmer climates. Adults are active from late spring to late summer in wooded areas across the continent.”  The green eggs are very distinctive, so we attempted to look for images of eggs, and we found the same images of the green eggs on both BugGuide and The Moth Photographers Group.  To the best of our knowledge, no Geometer caterpillars, known as Inchworms or Spanworms because of their manner of locomotion, pose a danger to humans.  If you decide to try to raise some caterpillars, we would urge you to transfer the majority of the hatchlings to one of the mentioned host trees and try raising about 20 or so in captivity.

Subject:  Weird big caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  North Norfolk UK
Date: 08/02/2018
Time: 03:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
Just found this bug eating our golden trumpet.
Every once in a while it shakes it’s head side to side.
Never seen anything like this in the UK before
How you want your letter signed:  Nick Bussey

Privet Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Nick,
This is a Hawkmoth Caterpillar in the family Sphingidae, commonly called a Hornworm, and we have identified it as a Privet Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Sphinx ligustri, thanks to an image on the Wildlife Insight site.  According to UK Moths:  “The large caterpillar is even more spectacular than the moth, being bright green with lilac and white stripes along the side, and a curved black ‘horn’ at the rear. It feeds on privet (Ligustrum), lilac (Syringa) and ash (Fraxinus).”  Neither site mentions golden trumpet as a food plant, but it is not unusual for a caterpillar to adapt to feeding from a different plant host if that plant is introduced as an ornamental plant within the range of the moth.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for responding to my Email and identifying the caterpillar.
I was rather shocked to see something that large, generally caterpillars (and most other insects) are quite small in this part of the world.
The golden trumpet plants are quite new to the garden (around 10 days), they were purchased from an online plant centre so I suspect it may have already been attached when I took delivery.
I’ve now moved him (the caterpillar) from the garden and placed him on a tasty looking hedge at the front of the house where I hope he’ll be happy.
Thanks again for your information.
Best regards,

Hi again Nick,
Relocating a Caterpillar to a plant it does not eat might mean it will starve.  Your individual looks quite mature, and perhaps it will survive by pupating.

Subject:  Huge Fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Dubuque, Iowa
Date: 08/02/2018
Time: 10:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this thing – I’ve never encountered one of these before…  An inch or more in length!
How you want your letter signed:  Rich

Female Black Horse Fly

Dear Rich,
Thanks so much for providing such excellent images of a female Black Horse Fly,
Tabanus atratusMale Horse Flies have much bigger eyes and only females bite.

Female Black Horse Fly

Female Black Horse Fly


Subject:  Dinner Guest
Geographic location of the bug:  Ventura, Ca
Date: 08/01/2018
Time: 10:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello Bugman,
I was dining alfresco this evening, and st the end of the meal (ordered as take out from a local Palestinian deli/cafe, I noted a friend in my plate with what appeared to be a suction cup, enjoying some yogurt sauce on my plate.
I’m wondering who this might be??
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the Irish Chain

Longhorn Cactus Fly

Dear Melanie on the Irish Chain,
Was there any red wine consumed at your meal?  This appears to be a Longhorn Cactus Fly,
Odontoloxozus longicornis, and our very first posting of this species in 2007 included a comment from Michael W. that “Interesting that the adults like red wine.”  Flies have mouths adapted to slurping up fluids, and you were very astute to notice its feeding habits.  The Longhorn Cactus Fly is also represented on BugGuide and on the Natural History of Orange County site.

Longhorn Cactus Fly

Fascinating! No red wine, but a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio were in very close proximity to the plate.

Subject:  Large gold flying mosquito
Geographic location of the bug:  Crossville, TN
Date: 08/01/2018
Time: 01:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I got bit by this gold flying insect and it felt like a sting? Just trying to identify
How you want your letter signed:  HH

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear HH,
This is a parasitoid Short-Tailed Ichneumon, probably in the genus
Ophion.  We were surprised to learn many years ago that this group is rather unique among Ichneumons in that they are capable of stinging humans.  According to BugGuide:  “Most all Ophion larva are parasites of caterpillars.”

Subject:  Big weird-looking bug
Geographic location of the bug:  United States East Tennessee
Date: 08/01/2018
Time: 02:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I thought this to be a female rhinoceros beetle but I’m not very sure.
How you want your letter signed:  However you want to sign it

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

This is indeed a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, and we have examples of dark individuals here and here in our own archives.  BugGuide also has images of dark individuals, and according to BugGuide:  “Huge size, greenish elytra with variable amounts of dark spots. Some are nearly black.”