From the yearly archives: "2020"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject (please be succinct, descriptive and specific):  children’s book with male horsefly character
Date: 02/22/2020
Time: 04:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi – I’m writing a children’s book and one of the main characters is a male horsefly. I’ve been trying to find what types of plants male horseflies (specifically in the area of Kentucky) would be most attracted to.  I haven’t been able to find anything so far.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you.  Diana Wilburn

Male Black Horse Fly on Corn Leaf

Dear Diana,
Most of the images we have of male Horse Flies were not taken on plants, however, we did locate an image in our archives of a male Black Horse fly from nearby Indiana that was taken on the leaf of a corn plant.  According to BugGuide:  “adult females feed on vertebrate blood, usually of warm-blooded animals; males (also females in a few spp. in all 3 subfamilies) visit flowers.”  Of the Black Horse Fly,
Tabanus atratus, BugGuide notes:  “males, which lack mandibles, feed on nectar and plant juices.”  We suspect umble-shaped flowers in the family Apiaceae including parsley, carrots, dill and Queen Anne’s lace that attract many pollinating flies would also be a choice for Horse Flies, and we have images in our archive showing a Male Horse Fly (Hybomitra cincta) on a parsley blossom.  Other images we located online of male Horse Flies feeding on other umble blossoms include Nature Picture Library where it is on fennel, iStock Getty Images where the male Horse Fly is feeding on Hogweed, and Wikipedia where it states:  “they mainly feed on nectar of flowers (especially of Apiaceae species).”  Composite flowers in the family Asteraceae, are also good food sources including this Adobe Stock Images example of a male Horse Fly on Goldenrod or this Alamy image of a male Horse Fly on a coneflower.

Male Horse Fly on Parsley

Dear Daniel,
Wow what a detailed answer, thank you.  This is so helpful.
I also ordered a copy of your book.  Amazing what you learn and get interested in when you take a deep dive into something.
If/ when this books ends going to print I’ll definitely send a copy.
Thanks again
Diana
Good Luck with your book Diana.  We are glad we were helpful.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Found this little guy in the pool
Geographic location of the bug:  Namibia, Windhoek
Date: 02/19/2020
Time: 11:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m living in Namibia for 7 years now and I’m pretty attentive if it comes to insects. But I’ve never seen this guy before. The smell when threatened reminds me of Heteroptera. It is currently summer and rain season.
How you want your letter signed:  Kind Regards

Mottled Avocado Bug

This Planthopper belongs to the order Hemiptera which contains the True Bugs in the suborder Heteroptera and many members of the family, which includes Stink Bugs, produce a noticeable odor.  Earlier today we posted additional images of what we have identified as the Mottled Avocado Bug, Parapioxys jucundus

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bright happy worm
Geographic location of the bug:  Livermore, KY
Date: 02/20/2020
Time: 06:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This pretty little worm was found on a tractor in the river bottoms of Livermore,KY. It was late summer, around the end of August when it was found. I have never seen a worm like this before and no one I’ve asked can identify it either. I’d love to know what this little guy’s species is!
How you want your letter signed:  Curious worm lady

Stinging Rose Caterpiller

Dear Curious worm lady,
Your “bright happy worm” is a perfect example of the concept of “look but don’t touch” because it is a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae.  We identified it as a Stinging Rose Caterpiller,
Parasa indetermina, thanks to this image on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Please help … I can’t find what insect this is
Geographic location of the bug:  South-Africa Gauteng
Date: 02/22/2020
Time: 08:10 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help.
I found this bug …
I don’t know if its a moth or butterfly or anything else.
It started to lay eggs in the Jar I put her in.
Green with white and black spots with a red body and a white tail were the eggs are coming out.
It walks backwards and sidewards.
How you want your letter signed:  K.Krugel

Mottled Avocado Bug

Dear K.Krugel,
This is neither a butterfly nor a moth.  It is a Planthopper.   We found it pictured but not identified on iStock Getty Photo.  We then located an image in our archives that we identified as the Mottled Avocado Bug,
Parapioxys jucundus.  Here is a FlickR image.  It is described in the Field Guide to Insects of South Africa as:  “a probable lichen-mimic, has a very broad head, and is vividly coloured, with emerald green fore wings with concentrations of white spots and blotches, overlaid with black spots.”

Mottled Avocado Bug

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Queensland Australian suburbs
Date: 02/21/2020
Time: 08:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw a large black or brown moth in my hall way which seemed to have two sets of eyes on its wings, two on the base of the wings and two in the tips. Only when I I had tried taking a photo of the moth I had my flash on and revealed some vibrant purple color on the wings.
How you want your letter signed:  Hope you can help, regards Lachie

Granny’s Cloak Moth

Dear Lachie,
We recall having previously identified this Owlet Moth in the past, and we found this posting in our archives of a Granny’s Cloak Moth
Speiredonia spectans.  According to Butterfly House:  “The moth of this species likes to hide in a dark place during the day and frequently is found in sheds and garages. The adult moth has brown wings with zig-zag patterns all over. The wing scales appear to have a finely grooved pattern that diffracts light to give the appearance of different colours depending on the angle of view. On each wing there is a pronounced eye spot, complete with eyelid!
Alternatively, if the spots on the forewings are imagined to be eyes, then those on the hind wings might be thought of as the nostrils of some large reptile. The moths even show a human-like face if viewed upside-down.
Either way, the appearance may deter possible predators. The moth has a wingspan of about 7 cms.
The adult moths are quite gregarious and seem to like resting in groups of at least a dozen or so. Pheromones probably are involved in this grouping behaviour, but also individuals that hatch on the same host plant (whatever it may be) at the same time would be subject to the same stimuli (light, plant odours etc) and therefore would move together in response. although moths of this size could travel many kilometres so this idea might not be deserving of too much credence.
However, once they find a place where they are secure they don’t seem to travel very far in the subsequent days, so maybe they do not generally fly very far at all. When they rest in groups: all the individuals tend to orient themselves in the same direction. If they are on a wall they are head-up near the ceiling (or eaves of the roof) and they hold their wings so that the patterns have maximum impact if approached from slightly below – the direction from which a bird would approach.
The moths also favour dark places such as caves, to rest during daylight hours, but suffer predation by bats in these places.”   

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Butterfly vs. Moth?
Geographic location of the bug:  Big Sur, California
Date: 02/21/2020
Time: 10:17 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dearest Bugman,
While on holiday in Big Sur I saw one majestic monarch and many lightly colored winged animals. I’m wondering if they are butterflies vs. moths, I seem to be thinking that moths are nocturnal, but these lovelies were sun worshipping yesterday near a waterfall not too far from the beach.
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the Irish Chain

Pacific Azures Puddling, we believe

Dear Melanie on the Irish Chain,
Your image is lovely.  Your sun worshiping Gossamer Winged butterflies are actually enjoying a mud puddle party, a common activity where certain butterflies gather at mud puddles, damp ground or occasionally fresh animal feces to obtain both moisture and minerals.  Your butterflies are Blues in the subfamily Polyommatinae, a group of that especially fascinated Vladimir Nabokov whose speculative taxonomy was proven in the fascinating book Nabokov’s Blues.  We hesitate to provide a species name since we just encountered conflicting information between BugGuide which only lists the Spring Azure as an eastern species and the Jeffrey Glassberg book Butterflies Through Binoculars, the West which does list the range of the Spring Azure,
Celastrina ladon, in western states and which states:  “One of the first nonhibernating butterflies to fly in the spring. Beginning February in Southern California.”  Here is a BugGuide image of puddling Pacific Azures, Celastrina echo.  

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination