From the monthly archives: "October 2018"

Subject:  Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  San diego
Date: 10/15/2018
Time: 05:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
A month or two ago these beetles were flying all over the place . Now they are mostly gone but I found this little guy the other day. I’m wondering what he is? I’m guessing fig eater or green June bug but I’m don’t know which and I’d like to know. Is it possible he’s different from the ones that were all over the place a few months ago? I’m trying to draw one and I’d like to label it correctly.  Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Natalie


Dear Natalie,
Figeater and Green June Beetle are both acceptable common names for
Cotinis nitida, according to BugGuide.  Since common names are often regional, and might differ from place to place, and since the same common name might be used for different species, your most accurate label would be to use the scientific name.

Subject:  robber fly id
Geographic location of the bug:  barnegat new jersey
Date: 10/14/2018
Time: 08:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  giant robber fly – asilidae family. but what genus species? promachus?? seent at cloverdale farm county park 7/28/18. i always have robber fly questions, any resources for field guides or at least to narrow down genera in nj?
How you want your letter signed:  WS

Giant Robber Fly

Dear WS,
We believe you are correct that this is a Giant Robber Fly in the genus
Promachus, and it looks most like Promachus hinei based on this BugGuide image, but that species is only reported as far east as Ohio on BugGuide.  It might be the same species as your previous submission.  You can try submitting your images to BugGuide to see if the network of contributors there can provide you with a species identity.

Subject:  Beautiful grasshopper/locust
Geographic location of the bug:  Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind Visitor Centre
Date: 10/13/2018
Time: 03:27 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
We have just returned to the UK from a fabulous holiday in South Africa, during which we saw the locust/grasshoppers shown in the attached photos.  Could you identify it please.  We were outside the lower exit of the Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng at about 15:30 on 22 October 2018.  It was warm (~32C) and dry.  Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  David Gittens

Mating Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers

Dear David,
These are mating Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers in the family Pyrgomorphidae, probably
Phymateus leprosus based on this iSpot image.  The colors are variable, but generally they are aposomatic, meaning they are warning colors, a survival strategy employed by many insects that feed on milkweed.

Hi Daniel
Many thanks for the ID and fascinating information.  Although I have a great interest in wildlife in general I know very little about this category of insect, let alone those from RSA.  I had discounted the Toxic Milkweed Grasshopper on its colouration even though I wondered if it might have been in a breeding ‘plumage’.
Thanks again

Subject:  Black bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Long Island NY
Date: 10/14/2018
Time: 08:46 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This black thing fell from above my head onto my leg while I was sitting at the train station. It slid down off my leg & got caught wiggling around between my sock and sneaker! I thought it was a black cockroach!! Anyway, I injured it trying to get it out of my shoe. Now out it actually looks like some sort of a Bee?? I have never seen one this color! What do you think it is?
How you want your letter signed:  Curious

Blue Winged Wasp

Dear Curious,
This is a Blue Winged Wasp, Scolia dubia, one of the Scarab Hunter Wasps.  According to BugGuide:  “Males and females have a courtship dance, flying close to the ground in a figure-8 or S pattern. Females burrow into ground in search of grubs, especially those of
Cotinis and Popillia japonica. She stings it and often burrows farther down, then constructs a cell and lays an egg on the host. Larva pupates and overwinters in a cocoon within the body of the host. One generation per year in North, more in South.”

Subject:  Orange moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Redmond, WA
Date: 10/14/2018
Time: 03:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, found this on east facing side of house the morning after our first frost of October. Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  BugzFriend

Geometer Moth

Dear BugzFriend,
This is a Geometer Moth or Spanworm Moth in the family Geometridae.  We will attempt a species identification as well when time permits.

Subject:  Black wasp with orange wings
Geographic location of the bug:  In Genesee id
Date: 10/13/2018
Time: 09:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey, so I have never seen one of these before… Google said it is a tarantula wasp??? Just curious what it is…
How you want your letter signed:  Shara cook

Spider Wasp

Dear Shara,
Tarantula Hawks are Spider Wasps in the genera
Pepsis and Hemipepsis that prey on Tarantulas, and according to BugGuide data, the latter genus is not found as far north as Idaho, and similarly, BugGuide data on the genus Pepsis also shows a more southern range.  Other Spider Wasps have similar coloration.  Your individual might be Calopompilus pyrrhomelas which is pictured on BugGuide and reported from Idaho based on BugGuide data.

Are they dangerous, or like a normal sting or bite?   I picked it up with a leaf , and put it in the sun.   It was cold on my porch.

Spider Wasps are not aggressive towards humans, and Tarantula Hawks are reported to have very painful stings.  Since your individual is also a member of the tribe Pepsini that includes Tarantula Hawks, it might also have a painful sting.  Again, Spider Wasps are not aggressive, but they can sting.