From the monthly archives: "June 2021"

Subject:  Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  East Greenville PA
Date: 06/30/2021
Time: 03:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Any chance you know what insect this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Heather

Stump Stabber

Dear Heather,
This is a Stump Stabber, the common name for the Giant Ichneumon
Megarhyssa atrata.  Your individual is a female and she uses her very long, up to five inches in length, ovipositor to deposit her eggs in dead and dying wood that contains the wood boring larvae of a Wood Wasp known as a Horntail, which is the food for the Stump Stabber larva.

Subject:  Unknown bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Lancaster california
Date: 06/28/2021
Time: 11:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug was found in our front yard tonight.  Its the same size as a june bug, but i have never seen anything like it.
Lancaster is in the high desert.
How you want your letter signed:  Scott

Ten Lined June Beetle

Dear Scott,
This is a “June Bug.”  This is one of Daniel’s favorite summer sightings, a Ten Lined June Beetle,
Polyphylla decemlineata.  Daniel first encountered a Ten Lined June Beetle in the eighties hiking in the Angeles Forest.  Then when he began teaching at Art Center in 2002, he would see them attracted to lights at the hillside campus during the summer, but it was not until 2015 that he first encountered one in the Mount Washington offices of What’s That Bug?  Since then there are yearly sightings of multiple individuals.  Your individual is a female.  The male Ten Lined June Beetle has much more According to BugGuide:  “Larvae live in soil.  Adults are attracted to lights at night.”  According to Wiki Bugwood:  “Eggs are laid in soil and larvae of the tenlined June beetle feed on plant roots. They have a wide host range and are known to chew on grasses, perennials, trees and shrubs. (On rare occasion they can cause significant damage to roots of woody plants, with pines being most often injured.) In fall, grubs preparing to overwinter move deeply into the soil, returning near the soil surface with returning warm soil temperatures in spring. In the spring of the third season after eggs are laid pupation is completed and the adults emerge. Although the tenlined June beetle causes little plant injury it is an impressively large, well-marked insect that commonly attracts interest. Furthermore, adults when disturbed can produce an impressive defensive display, hissing loudly by forcefully expelling air from their spiracles. This may also be accompanied by male beetles spreading and fanning out their large clubbed antennae. However, the insects are harmless.”

Ten LIned June Beetle

Subject:  Moth question
Geographic location of the bug:  Orondo Wa
Date: 06/29/2021
Time: 01:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Can help identify this creature
How you want your letter signed:  Gilbert

Western Poplar Sphinx

Dear Gilbert,
We believe this impressive Moth is a Western Poplar Sphinx,
Pachysphinx occidentalis, which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of cottonwoods, especially Populus freemonti and Populus sargentii, also willow (Salix spp.). Adults do not feed.”  According to Sphingidae of the United States of America:  “This is a large moth, forewings are between 51-71mm in length (2). The large scalloped forewings are light yellow-gray and brown with a white reniform spot. In the similar Pachysphinx modesta, the forewings tend to be a grayer color, and overall darker.”  Butterflies and Moths of North America lists a Spokane, Washington sighting.  Because of the timing of your submission as well as the impressiveness of the Western Poplar Sphinx, we have selected it as the Bug of the Month for July 2021.

Daniel,
Thanks for the quick response. It was a beautiful specimen and I enjoyed watching it for like 20 minutes or so that it was with us. Can you tell if it was male or female how does that even matter.
Thanks again

Hi again Gilbert,
Here is an image of mating Western Poplar Sphinxes.  The female is generally larger with a thicker body.  We believe your individual is a female but we would defer to an expert in the Sphingidae moths.

Subject:  Monarch Caterpillar and Chrysalis on Indian Milkweed
Geographic location of the bug: Elyria Canyon State Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/29/2021
Time: 8:30 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
As part of physical therapy rehabilitation for knee surgery, Daniel has begun hiking again, and this morning he was pleased to find first a Monarch Chrysalis and then a Monarch Caterpillar feeding on Kotolo or Indian or Wooley Milkweek,
Aesclepius eriocarpa, in Elyria Canyon State Park.

Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Chrysalis

Subject:  BBB – Big Black Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Upper part of South Carolina
Date: 06/28/2021
Time: 12:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this bug on my back porch at night under a light. Had some scary looking chompers. Can you identify?
How you want your letter signed:  Anthony Kozakiewicz

Hardwood Stump Borer

Dear Anthony,
We feel confident that this is a Hardwood Stump Borer,
Mallodon dasystomus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to Beetles of Eastern North America by Arthur V. Evans:  “Mandibles nearly horizontal” while of the similar looking Live Oak Root Borer, Archodontes melanoplus, the author writes:  “Mandibles nearly vertical.”

Hardwood Stump Borer

Subject:  Bugged Birder
Geographic location of the bug:  Pocatello, Idaho
Date: 06/28/2021
Time: 04:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman, While out birding in the disc golf course behind my house, this bug landed at my feet. It is about 1.5 inches as I recall. The furry legs caught my eye. I can find nothing on the internet that resembles it. The area is high desert with sage brush and juniper. I took this picture on June 26. Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  J. Shipman

Unidentified Robber Fly

Dear J. Shipman,
This magnificent predator is a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae and we believe it is in the subfamily Asilinae.  There are numerous similar looking individuals on BugGuide.

Hey, thank you so much, and for such a prompt answer! I Checked out BugGuide, as you suggested, and also found a lot of info about Robber Flies on Wikipedia. Gosh, what a brute! Are they found only in the West? I’m originally from the East Coast, and I’ve never heard of these guys. Cheers – J