From the monthly archives: "February 2019"

Subject:  What type of moth is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Date: 02/20/2019
Time: 03:10 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My niece found this interesting specimen in her garden today. Can you help,to identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Best regards, Nancy Viscofsky

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Nancy,
This beautiful moth is an Oleander Hawkmoth.  The caterpillars feed on the leaves of oleander, a plant commonly grown in gardens and used in landscaping.

Thank you Daniel, I will pass this information to my niece. It is very kind of you to respond to my query.
Best regards,

Subject:  Large moth on the coast of Ecuador (2/20/2019)
Geographic location of the bug:  Manabi Province, Ecuador (Santa Marianita)
Date: 02/20/2019
Time: 02:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman, thanks for all the resources you’ve provided on your website! I live at sea level, (actually a 2 minute walk to the beach) and after the rains I’ve been trying to figure out what sort of giant moths are taking over. On my own I just can’t seem to pin it down (I checked a taxonomy website and the only other google search like them is an captioned stock photo.
They’re all around the same size, maybe varying by an half an inch or so and come in various shades of brown to silvery gray, with what look like shaggy fur on the backs, shared features being the sort of half-moon markings and band across the bottom from what I an tell.
Here’s some photos (one with a standard usd quarter next to it) and I’ll try and answer anything if you need more info!
How you want your letter signed:  Ada

Giant Silkmoth

Dear Ada,
This is a Giant Silkmoth in the family Saturniidae.  Members of this family do not feed as adults, so they only live about a week, long enough to mate and reproduce.  We believe your individual might be in the genus
Arsenura, which is well represented on Bold Systems.  There are several species from the genus found in Ecuador.  We will attempt to contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide a species identification.

Giant Silkmoth

Bill Oehlke Responds
Hi Daniel,
This is a Caio species, either harrietae or championi.
It is quite dark in either case, but that might just be the lighting. I favour harrietae.
Please see if I have permission to post to website as harrietae? And check to see if photographer wants to be credited?
Thanks for thinking of me.
Bill Oehlke

Hi, thank you so much for getting back to me!
The pictures were all taken in late morning (11am) in indirect (overcast), I agree, they look unusually dark but the pictures are as accurate as they appear in real life as far as color goes, I would agree that the one was unusually dark in color.

Of course you can use the pictures, I after looking around I would agree just on at a glance that it belongs as harrietae.
They’re amazingly beautiful (and as big as a bat!), usually I only see the wings on the sidewalk, to see alive specimens during the day was very awesome.

Subject:  Fuzzy reddish/orange, black and white caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Date: 02/19/2019
Time: 08:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this caterpillar inching along the ground today (feb 19, 2019) and haven’t had any luck figuring out what type it it! I thought maybe in the Tussock family?
How you want your letter signed:  Emily

Shag Carpet Caterpillar

Dear Emily,
This is a very distinctive and impressive looking Caterpillar.  Our first hunch is the superfamily Noctuoidea which includes the Tussock Moths.  We will attempt to provide you with a species identification, and perhaps our readership will be able to provide some information.

Facebook Comment from Karla Thompson
Prothysana felderi.
Shag Carpet caterpillar.

We learned the Shag Carpet Caterpillar is in the family Apatelodidae, the American Silkworm Moths.  According to All About Butterflies:  “The larva of 
Prothysana felderi varies in appearance from instar to instar. It also occurs in various colour forms across its geographical range. Some varieties have a buff or olive ground colour, with tussocks of red setae on the thoracic and anal segments, while others are deep red, with ribbons of black or white setae along the backs.  The larvae feed on Philodendron, Heliconia, Welfia, Aegifila, Chamaedora, Piptocarpha, Pentaclethra, Piper, Stigmaphyllon, Neea, Lycianthes, and Heliocarpus.”  

Subject:  spider
Geographic location of the bug:  India
Date: 02/19/2019
Time: 06:38 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I would love to know more about this beautiful spider whose picture I have attached for you. I have no complaints,  curiousity pulls me here. I found it jumping among the flowerpots one day and it was very swift. I love its colour. The spider was 1 cm and blue-green. 🙂
How you want your letter signed:  ugh

Jumping Spider

Dear ugh,
This is a male Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae.  Jumping Spiders are considered harmless, and they do not spin webs to snare prey.  Instead, they have excellent eyesight and they are able to pounce on prey from a considerable distance with amazing accuracy.  Many Jumping Spiders have metallic markings and bright colors.  We have not found any matching images online in our quick search, so we cannot provide you with an exact species at this time.  Perhaps one of our readers will write in with a link to a species identification.

Jumping Spider

Thank you so much!
I’m delighted to finally know the name of my spider! you’re right, it was of a metallic colour resembling the blue or green-bottle fly. And  you’re right again as it was very jumpy!
I was wrong to imagine it is poisonous too, as I had the notion that all gorgeous-looking and colourful insects are poisonous.
Thanks for your time 🙂
Have a great day

Subject:  Identity
Geographic location of the bug:  NJ
Date: 02/18/2019
Time: 11:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this in our house yesterday. Haven’t seen anymore. Curious what this is.
How you want your letter signed:  Wayne


Dear Wayne,
Do you have a dog or other pet that goes outside?  This is a very well fed Tick, meaning it is engorged with blood.

Yes we have one dog that we take outside to go to the bathroom. Due to the winter he has not been outside to play on his dog run since  probably October. However a lot of leaves fell late after we already had snow on the ground so is it possible the ticks have survived the cold under those leaves?

Hi again Wayne,
Ticks must survive cold winters, or they wouldn’t be a problem in northern latitudes.  We don’t know how dormant they become or if they have any hibernating tendencies.

Subject:  Green caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  South Africa, highveld
Date: 02/19/2019
Time: 09:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These are about an inch long, and are aggressively moving through my garden. May be responsible for some painful skin reactions, but unconfirmed. Any idea what they are, and what they’ll turn into?
How you want your letter signed:  Jon

Stinging Slug Caterpillars

Dear Jon,
These are Stinging Slug Caterpillars in the family Limocodidae and we have previously identified them as
Latoia vivida.  Stinging Slug Caterpillars should be handled with extreme caution as they are capable of delivering a painful sting.

Wow, that was fast. Thank you so much!