From the monthly archives: "June 2020"

Subject:  Fast on foot and flies
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern TN, US
Date: 06/21/2020
Time: 12:33 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi!  Since moving to Eastern TN, we’ve found our new home to be teeming with all sorts of life.  Here is one that stood out and which I could not identify.  Maybe you can?
How you want your letter signed:  Keith

Red Headed Ash Borer

Dear Keith,
This is a Red Headed Ash Borer,
Neoclytus acuminatus, or a closely related species of Longhorned Borer Beetle.  All indications are that the color, markings and behavior of the Red Headed Ash Borer mimic that of a stinging wasp, which protects the harmless beetle from potential predators.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on the sapwood of ash and other hardwoods, and even occasionally on vines and shrubs. Larvae are common in downed timber with the bark left on.”

Subject:  Antheraea Oculea
Geographic location of the bug:  Edgewood, New Mexico
Date: 06/22/2020
Time: 01:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Oculea silk moth. Emerged under the English Oak in our back yard on June 21, 2020.
How you want your letter signed:  J. Bryan

Oculea Silkmoth

Dear J. Bryan,
Thanks so much for submitting your gorgeous image of an Oculea Silkmoth or Western Polyphemus Moth,
Antheraea oculea.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults are also similar to A. polyphemus, but darker and with more markings around the eye spots. ”

Subject:  Dolomedes (?) with odd markings?
Geographic location of the bug:  Hawthorne, Florida
Date: 06/22/2020
Time: 07:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this large lady on the Hathorne trail, resting on a beam of a small bridge that crosses a tributary to Lake Lochloosa.  Looks like Dolomedes to me but can’t find any images with same striking combination of markings.  Maybe some odd form of D. albineus?  She is probably 5-6″ (8″ support beam she’s resting on), 20-June-2020.
How you want your letter signed:  Reuben

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Reuben,
We agree that this is a Fishing Spider, and it is most likely
Dolomedes albineus.  Here is a very similar looking individual (also from Florida) pictured on BugGuide.

Subject:  Strange caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern Virginia
Date: 06/14/2020
Time: 07:55 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I spotted a strange caterpillar at Weyanoke Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk,and pointed it out to my father. I got my phone out and snapped a few pictures of it. I guess my phone hit one of the branches and about 3 of them put their head back and exposed their chest that I saw was covered in spikes (They may have been sharp legs, but I couldn’t tell). They stayed like that for a bit until I backed away. I tried to find them on google, and I looked on a few bug Identification websites, but I saw none that looked like it. I was wondering if you knew what it was!
How you want your letter signed:  Lydia Simon,age 13

Red Headed Pine Sawfly Larva

Dear Lydia,
Though they look very much like caterpillars, these are actually Red-Headed Pine Sawfly larvae,
Neodiprion lecontei.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  Sawflies are non-stinging relatives of bees and wasps.  When larvae are numerous, they may defoliate trees.  According to Featured Creatures:  “After mating, female sawflies lay eggs in slits sawed in pine needles. Small larvae feed on outer needle tissues; larger larvae consume entire needles. Most species prefer older foliage, but all foliage is susceptible at end of growing season. Larval colonies may migrate from one tree to another, especially upon complete defoliation of the host tree or high feeding competition.”

Red Headed Pine Sawfly Larvae

Subject:  Identifying Black Moth(?) with Metallic Blue Markings
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Indiana, USA
Date: 06/18/2020
Time: 11:36 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I noticed what appears to be black moths flirting between tree leaves and circling the trees a few days ago. I’ve never seen these moths in my parents’ yard or anywhere else. They are several of them, 5-10, and they are flying around a weeping willow and an oak tree. They are landing and staying on the oak leaves even when approached. Thank you for you help in identifying this for me and my family!
How you want your letter signed:  Nicholas K. Sobecki

Virginia Ctenucha

Dear Nicholas,
Congratulations on identifying this Virginia Ctenucha as a moth.  It is a very effective wasp mimic.  Here is a BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Despite its name, this species is more commonly found in the northern United States and southern Canada than in Virginia, which represents the southern boundary of its range.”

Subject:  Lunate Zale
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/22/2020
Time: 8:35 AM EDT
While working in the yard, Daniel couldn’t help but to notice this new species to the porch light, a Lunate Zale, Zale lunata, which we identified on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults – quite variable with both fore- and hindwings dark brown with shades of yellow, red brown and black, sometimes with white or silver marginal patches.”  The pronounced “shoulder pads” are not evident in most images, but The Natural History of Orange County includes images that reveal these unusual features.

Lunate Zale