From the monthly archives: "July 2020"

Subject:  Unidentified Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Near Houston Texas
Date: 07/06/2020
Time: 04:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My mom and I found this caterpillar among her milkweed plants. She raises monarch butterflies, but this one is new. Neither of us have ever seen this kind of caterpillar before.
It was found July 6th, 2020, at around 3:15 PM.
How you want your letter signed:  Kris Prodoehl

Queen Caterpillar

Dear Chris,
The Monarch is not the only Milkweed Butterfly in the genus
Danaus that is found in Texas.  We believe your caterpillar is that of the related Queen Butterfly, Danaus gilippus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  Queen Caterpillars look similar to Monarch Caterpillars, but they have an additional set of “tentacles” and you were quite astute to observe this difference.

Subject:  Identification of insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Grand Rapids, MI
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 06:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I don’t know what this insect is.  I found it on a door frame in the morning on a summer day.
Thank you for any information you can provide.
How you want your letter signed:  M.J. Moriarty

Male Glowworm Beetle

Dear MJ,
This is a male Glowworm Beetle.
  According to BugGuide:  “mostly nocturnal; males come to lights.”

Subject:  Fly? Wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Northwest Indiana
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 09:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! We found this fella floating in our pool. I have lived here all my life and have never seen a fly/wasp this big! Can you identify?
How you want your letter signed:  Carrie

Mydas Fly

Dear Carrie,
This is a harmless Mydas Fly, and it is widely believed that this Mydas Fly,
Mydas clavatus, benefits from mimicking a stinging wasp. 

Subject:  What kind of beetle is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Western New York
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 10:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  There is a large beetle looking bug out this evening. 1.5-2 inches in length, oval body,  big round eyes and the shell is green, black/blue and brown.
How you want your letter signed:  M

Predaceous Diving Beetle

Dear M,
This is a Predaceous Diving Beetle in the family Dytiscidae, probably in the genus
Dytiscus, and possibly Dytiscus fasciventris which is pictured on BugGuide and described as:  “only the anterior and lateral margins of pronotum are bordered by a broad pale stripe (posterior margin not bordered); lateral margin of elytron bordered by broad pale stripe on basal half only remainder of dorsal surface brown, brownish-black, or green; ventral surface yellow to reddish except metacoxa yellow and metasternum brownish-black medially.” Though they are aquatic, Predaceous Diving Beetles can fly from pond to pond and they are sometimes attracted to lights.

Awesome response time haha! Thank you so much!

Our timing aligned.

Subject:  Beautiful biting fly (with bonus Karner Blue)
Geographic location of the bug:  Albany Pine Bush, Albany, NY
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 12:33 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Susan B. here with another dispatch from the Albany Pine Bush! I was having a nice raspberry-picking expedition along the trail when a rather beautiful fly came along and landed on my finger. I was so enchanted by its incredible eyes that I failed to notice it had stabbed its proboscis right into my flesh! I shooed it away, and I still have a sore spot where it bit me. Any idea who this rude little creature was?
Astute viewers will notice that while I was dealing with the fly situation, I was also providing transport to another, equally beautiful but much more polite hitchhiker: a Karner Blue that had come along and landed on my finger a few minutes earlier. I’m pleased to say I managed to both photograph and shoo the fly without disturbing my other passenger, who stuck around, lapping up my sweat, for a good quarter mile of trail.
How you want your letter signed:  Susan B.

Deer Fly

Dear Susan,
Thanks for your highly entertaining query.  You have been bitten by a Deer Fly.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults feed on plant nectar; females on vertebrate blood; larvae carnivorous and detritus feeders.”  You described their “incredible eyes”, and this BugGuide image beautifully captures the details of the eyes of a Deer Fly. Blues are one of the groups of butterflies that frequently have “puddle parties” on damp earth, a behavior beautifully described by Vladimir Nabakov in his fiction, and scientists believe they derive important minerals from this behavior.  We suspect your salty perspiration fulfilled your Karner Blue‘s need for moisture and minerals.

Karner Blue

Subject:  Tarantula hawk?
Geographic location of the bug:  Highlands of Chiriqui, Rep of Panamá
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 04:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this approx 2 inch wasp? scuttling across a spare lot on our community today. We do see tarantulas reasonably often and wondered if it was a female hunting for a host. Is there any way to differentiate between a male or female? Never seen another one in our 8 years in Panamá, the colours looked beautiful in the sunshine. Thanks, Carol
How you want your letter signed:  Carol

Spider Wasp

Hi Carol,
We are very confident this is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, but we cannot state for certain that it is a Tarantula Hawk.  Your individual resembles this image posted to FlickR.  The hunting behavior you witnessed indicates this is likely a female.  Males do not hunt for spiders, and they can generally be found nectaring.

Spider Wasp