From the monthly archives: "June 2019"

Subject:  hundreds of caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  Summerville, Northeastern Oregon
Date: 06/25/2019
Time: 03:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We awoke to hundreds of these caterpillars on the hollyhocks and crawling in the yard.
How you want your letter signed:  Bob

Painted Lady Caterpillar

Dear Bob,
Knowing the plant upon which an insect is feeding is often a tremendous assistance in identification, so we quickly located this BugGuide image of a Painted Lady,
Vanessa cardui, caterpillar on Hollyhocks, and it looks like your individual.  The Painted Lady is one of the most wide ranging butterfly species on the planet and it is sometimes called the Cosmopolitan, but interestingly, in the 17 years we have maintained What’s That Bug?, we cannot locate a single other image in our nearly 27,000 unique postings (26,988 to be exact) of a Painted Lady Caterpillar, though the genus is well represented with caterpillar images of the American Lady, Virginia Lady and Red Admiral.  Since the species is so wide ranging, the caterpillar must have a more varied diet than some very localized species that feed on a single plant or genus of plants.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillars feed primarily on Asteraceae and Malvaceae, especially Thistles, Burdock, and Hollyhocks. Many other plants are used occasionally, including Nettle, Alfalfa, Soy Bean, Beet, Borage, Plantain, etc.”  Painted Ladies are prone to mass migrations some years, and it was selected as our Bug of the Month for March 2015.

thanks so much. they are feeding on the hollyhocks and then once on the ground they all seem to be crawling north.  it is interesting!  Bob

Subject:  Help identifying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Ontario Canada
Date: 06/26/2019
Time: 05:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this insect on my marijuana plant and wondering if it’s harmful .
How you want your letter signed:  Email

Buffalo Treehopper nymph

This spiny guy is a Treehopper nymph, and based on this Jungle Dragon posting and this BugGuide posting, we believe it is a Buffalo Treehopper in the genus Stictocephala.  Treehoppers and Planthoppers have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids, and they rob the plant upon which they are feeding of valuable fluids.  A single individual might not cause much damage, but when they are feeding in groups, significant damage might occur.  We would not consider this Buffalo Treehopper nymph to be a beneficial species on your marijuana plant.  According to the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee:  “In their adult and immature stages, buffalo treehoppers feed on plant sap that they get by puncturing the stems of woody and non-woody plants with their strong “beaks” (and they can do minor damage to both in the process). They may begin their lives on woody plants, where Mom uses her sharp ovipositor to make shallow slits in twigs and to deposit her eggs. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs find their way to more succulent, herbaceous vegetation.”

Subject:  caterpillar in Tambopata rainforest, Peru
Geographic location of the bug:  Tambopata reserve, Peru
Date: 06/24/2019
Time: 11:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this colorful caterpillar in the tropical rain forest in Peru, in the Tambopata river area.
How you want your letter signed:  Gerhard Hüdepohl

Morpho Caterpillar

Dear Gerhard,
This caterpillar is gorgeous, but we have not been able to identify it.  We believe it might be a Prominent Moth Caterpillar in the family Notodontidae, or a Lappet Moth Caterpillar in the family Lasiocampidae.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist with this identification.

Morpho Caterpillar

Correction:  Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash and a link to this article, we now know this is a Morpho caterpillar, more specifically Morpho amathonte.

Dear Daniel and Cesar,
thank you very much!!  This is excellent news that you were able to identify this caterpillar. I have seen the fabulous Morpho butterflies, but this is the first time to see the caterpillar.
Thanks again,

Subject:  Very Large longhorn beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Columbus Ohio
Date: 06/25/2019
Time: 06:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi found this very big (guessing close to 2”) longhorn beetle feeding on some rotting fruit I keep out to attract bugs to look at. What is it??? I am a patreon supporter but forget how to submit they there sorry
How you want your letter signed:  Jennifer Huffman

Longicorn: Stenelytrana emarginata

Wait I got it stenelytrana emargintina

Longicorn: Stenelytrana emarginata

Dear Jennifer,
You are correct.  This beautiful Flower Longhorn is
Stenelytrana emarginata and its identity can be verified on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on decaying hardwoods, especially beech and elm” and “Adults are attracted by fermenting baits” which is exactly where you found it.  In the future, please include Patreon in the subject line.  Thanks for your support. 

Subject:  Identify this green metallic bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Ranger Creek Rd., Boerne, TX 78006
Date: 06/25/2019
Time: 10:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please can you identify this bug. It is about 1.5 inches long. Found on a wild cherry tree.
How you want your letter signed:  Txbugboy

Bumelia Borer

Dear Txbugboy,
This gorgeous beetle if a Bumelia Borer,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae are trunk and root borers of Tupelo (Nyssa), Gum Bully Sideroxylon (=Bumelia), and Mulberry (Morus).”  Perhaps wild cherry is another host.  According to Beetles in the Bush:  “This species, occurring across the southern U.S. from Florida and Georgia west to New Mexico and Arizona, is truly one of North America’s most beautiful longhorned beetles due to its large size, brilliant iridescent green coloration, and super-elongate wildly-contrasting orange and black legs.”

Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Brigantine, NJ USA
Date: 06/25/2019
Time: 02:47 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this unusual guy on the sign for the Brigantine Inn while on vacation in late June 2019.  Weather was warm but breezy, beach weather.  I would love to know what he is.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious bugger

Pandorus Sphinx

Dear Curious bugger,
This is a Pandorus Sphinx, and according to BugGuide:  “An extra-spectacular sphinx moth.”