From the yearly archives: "2018"

Subject:  Hairy wasp-like bug with some kind of oral stinger
Geographic location of the bug:  Southeast Texas, USA
Date: 07/08/2018
Time: 10:51 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve been seeing these guys at my work which is a fracking site in the middle of a cattle ranch. I have seen about 5 of them but all separately, not in a group. They look like giant wasps, but they’re very hairy and have some kind of stinger out of their mouths. I may have seen a stinger out of the thorax as well but I’m not sure. And I have noticed multiple dead bug carcasses around the area, such as grasshoppers and beetles. I thought it might be relevant in case these bugs are like the wasps who lay parasitic eggs in paralyzed bugs.
Picture taken in July.
How you want your letter signed:  Dave

Robber Fly:  Saropogon dispar

Dear Dave,
This is a predatory Robber Fly, and Robber Flies frequently capture large flying insects that they feed upon, so the carcasses you have found might have been prey.  Like other Flies, Robber Flies do not chew prey.  They feed on the fluids, leaving a dried carcass behind.  We are having trouble matching your images to an exact species or even a genus.  Its most obvious diagnostic features are its long legs, white beard, black wings and striped abdomen.  It really resembles a Hanging Thief in the genus
Diogmites, but they are usually orange.  We did locate a dark Hanging Thief on BugGuide, Diogmites platypterus, and it has a white beard and black wings, but your individual lacks the orange legs.  Our best guess at this time is the enormous Microstylum morosum, pictured on BugGuide, but they don’t have white stripes on the abdomen.  Does your individual have green eyes?  That is difficult to discern in your images.  Prolepsis tristis pictured on BugGuide also looks similar, but lacks the diagnostic white beard.  We have written to Eric Eaton for assistance.  For now, we are certain this is a predatory Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, and we hope to have a more specific identification for you soon.  Perhaps our readers will be able to assist.

Robber Fly:  Saropogon dispar

Thanks for the response! Yes the eyes were a dark green color. And it was very large, I approximate it to be 1.5-2 inches long. The Microstylum morosum looks like the closest match to me except for that abdomen and the bright green eyes. I didn’t know anything like this family of insects existed!

If it is indeed Microstylum morosum, it is the largest Robber Fly in North America.

Eric Eaton Responds
Ok, I submitted to the Facebook group, but then looked at the website for robber flies of Arkansas and may have found it:  Saropogon dispar
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

Thanks so much Eric.  We looked it up on BugGuide and Saropogon dispar sure does look correct.

Subject:  A pest company couldn’t identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Virginia, USA
Date: 07/09/2018
Time: 02:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you please tell me what this is
How you want your letter signed:  Intrigued and Possibly Concerned

Spiny Assassin Bug nymph

Dear Intrigued and Possibly Concerned,
This is a Spiny Assassin Bug nymph from the genus
Sinea, and you can compare your individual to this BugGuide image.  Assassin Bugs are beneficial predators, though careless handling might result in a painful bite.  This is an outdoor species and if it found its way into your home, that was accidental.  We can’t imagine calling an exterminating company for insect found outside in the yard as the company would never be able to annihilate everything, so we are guessing you found it indoors.

Thank you so much for letting me know what bug I found. I only contacted pest company for identification purposes as there are kids in my home and need to know what bites. Have a great day 🙂

Subject:  Butterfly
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa rica
Date: 07/14/2018
Time: 07:11 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can’t believe I’ve lived here for years and this is the first time seeing this butterfly.
How you want your letter signed:  Jori

Glossy Daggerwing

Dear Jori,
We can’t believe you saw such a beautiful butterfly, yet the image you attached is very low resolution.  We quickly identified Iole’s Daggerwing,
Marpesia iole, thanks to Getty Images., and upon searching for a second reference, we found a Costa Rican FlickR posting identified as the Glossy Daggerwing, Marpesia furcula iole.  The common name Sunset Daggerwing is used on iNaturalist and the range map includes many Costa Rican sightings.  Butterflies of America uses the common name Glossy Daggerwing to identify Marpesia furcula.

Subject:  Seen hiking
Geographic location of the bug:  On the hike to Jump Creek, outside Marsing, ID
Date: 07/13/2018
Time: 07:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this spider on it’s web over a creek, interested in what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks!!


Your Spider is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, and we believe it is an immature member of the genus Argiope, but we cannot be certain from this ventral view.  Orbweavers are not dangerous to humans.


Subject:  NYC Exotic or Neighbor’s Luggage Jumper from….?
Geographic location of the bug:  Lower Manhattan, New York City
Date: 07/13/2018
Time: 08:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi!
Season: July/Summer
Location: NYC
This is the best shot I could get — I don’t have a great shot of the head area but you can see part (the “bugged” out eyes) and the coloring in brown on the body and green on the wings.
Thanks for running this site and fielding questions like mine.
How you want your letter signed:  Downtown Prof


Dear Downtown Prof,
This is an Annual Cicada, an insect that is sometimes called a Dog Day Harvestfly because they are most numerous during the Dog Days of Summer and they look like a giant Fly.  It would not be unusual to find Cicadas in Manhattan as the lifetime of an Annual Cicada nymph is spent underground drawing nutrients from the roots of trees, shrubs and other plants, and even Manhattan has street trees and parks.  When it nears maturity, the Cicada nymph digs to the surfaces, molts for the last time and emerges as a winged adult Cicada.  Cicadas are full of nutrients and even fat, and they are a valuable source of food for wildlife, and with the current trend in entomophagy, Cicadas are even relished by humans, especially when Periodical Cicadas appear after 17 years underground.  Perhaps the Annual Cicadas most fascinating predator is the Cicada Killer, a large wasp that paralyzes the Cicada and buries it where it will feed the young of the Cicada Killer.  Adult Cicada Killers are vegans that take nectar from flowers, and their sole meal as a larva is a paralyzed Cicada.  Perhaps you will be lucky enough to witness a Cicada Killer with its prey in Manhattan

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much! I used to live in Morningside Hts…(Columbia U) …much greener up there. But, I live off a private University park at NYU and I bet that’s why I got the visitor. And following your insight about importance to wild life, a pigeon was stalking the cicada from the terrace next door.
You must get some great stories (or tedious ones like mine!).
Great site!

Subject:  Flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  massachusetts,  USA
Date: 07/13/2018
Time: 03:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, there’s a bunch of these flying around. They seem to enjoy sitting in one place for a long time or sunbathing. Was having trouble identifying it.. But very curious about it.
How you want your letter signed:  Michal

Robber Fly

Dear Michal,
This is a beneficial, predatory Robber Fly and the ovipositor indicates she is female.  She uses her ovipositor to lay eggs and cannot sting with it.  Based on this BugGuide image, we are confident your Robber Fly is in  the genus