From the monthly archives: "October 2019"

Subject:  moth in Halloween costume
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington, DC, USA
Date: 10/30/2019
Time: 05:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! I scared up this beauty amid fallen red oak leaves on 10/30/19. I was admiring its leaf camouflage, then I turned it to another angle and realized that it was dressed, one day early, in its Halloween costume of cat-owl-fighter jet. Can you identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Rachel B

Possibly Lunate Zale

Dear Rachel,
We are confident your Owlet Moth is in the genus
Zale which is represented on the Moth Photographers Group.  Perhaps it is the Lunate Zale, Zale lunata, which is pictured on BugGuide.  Daniel is leaving Los Angeles tonight to fly to your fair city with a group of Journalism students tonight.  He’s hoping it isn’t too cold and rainy.  We are going to tag your posting as the Bug of the Month for November 2019.

Lunate Zale

Update:  November 8, 2019
Daniel rushed to post this submission live the day he left town to travel to Washington DC where his LACC students won both the CMA Pinnacle and the ACP Pacemaker Award for best magazine from a two year school.  He decided in the time crunch to only post the image where the Lunate Zale could be identified.  Now that time permits, he has added this additional image with its interesting and unusual angle.

Subject:  Grasshopper or Cricket?
Geographic location of the bug:  Vantage (WA), Ginkgo Petrified Forest
Date: 10/26/2019
Time: 12:46 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Do you have any idea what it is? It looks like a cricket, but I could not found it with Google.Best regards, Nils
How you want your letter signed:  Nils B.

Mormon Cricket

Dear Nils,
Though it is commonly called a Mormon Cricket, Anabrus simplex is actually a Shield-Backed Katydid.  Though they are flightless, in some years they are quite common and they form swarms along the ground in search of food.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  Your individual is also a female as evidenced by her ovipositor.

Subject:  Long legged but head wrong for grasshopper
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern Washington State
Date: 10/26/2019
Time: 07:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Bit me on stomach inside house September 2019. Long legs imply grasshopper/katydid.  Head does not look right for either.  Search through several grasshopper/insect sites resulted in nothing similar.
How you want your letter signed:  Philip

Tree Cricket

Dear Philip,
This is a Tree Cricket, and Tree Crickets belong to the Insect order Orthoptera which includes Grasshoppers and Katydids, hence the resemblance.  Many Orthopterans have strong mandibles and they might bite if carelessly handled or if they feel threatened, but they are not venomous and the bite is considered harmless.  Some larger Orthopterans including some large Katydids might draw blood if they bite, but we doubt that will happen with a Tree Cricket.

Subject:  Bug Spotted on Zion Hike
Geographic location of the bug:  Zion National Park, Utah
Date: 10/28/2019
Time: 03:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
I saw this critter on a hike.  At first it was on it’s back and looked dead.  I flipped it over and it moved slightly.  It did not seem to be healthy.  My initial thought was that it somehow just passed through a predator’s digestive track.  So, what’s that bug?
P.S. I also saw a tarantula on this hike – photo also attached!
How you want your letter signed:  Zion Hiker

Potato Bug

Dear Zion Hiker,
This is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a subterranean dwelling Orthopteran that is most often found on the surface after a good rain.  It appears to have undergone a trauma.  We are always amazed at the number of squashed insects we have seen on hiking trails.  We generally think of hikers as nature lovers, and the squashed insects seem too numerous to have been accidentally stepped on.  Rather, we believe many hikers take out their fear and loathing of insects by squashing them on hiking trails. 

Subject:  Voluptuous Bee doing Yoga
Geographic location of the bug:  Alin, Calca, Peru
Date: 10/28/2019
Time: 02:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
During an am yoga practice this beautiful bee was sharing props with me. It appeared to love the strap! It was difficult to get a photo with out disturbing too much. The individual was shortly released.
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the Irish Chain

Bumble Bee

Dear Melanie,
This is a Bumble Bee in the genus
Bombus, but we do not recognize the species.  Perhaps Cesar Crash from Brazil will recognize the species.  According to BugGuide, the preferred habitat for Bumble Bees is:  “Generally distributed but most abundant and diverse at humid, cool sites rich in flowers, such as mountain meadows.”

Subject:  What is this scary looking thing?!
Geographic location of the bug:  Inglewood,CA
Date: 10/26/2019
Time: 05:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this in my bathtub after 1am. It’s big and scary and has a lot of long legs. Seeing it just grossed me out so I drowned it (I think) :/
How you want your letter signed:  Amber

House Centipede

Dear Amber,
This is a nocturnal, predatory House Centipede.  House Centipedes are shy and they will avoid humans.  They do have a mild venom, and a large specimen might bite if carelessly handled, but it is much more likely to flee.