From the yearly archives: "2021"

Subject:  Wierd looking bug appearedin my backyard
Date: 03/20/2021
Time: 01:49 AM EDT
Geographic location of the bug:  Australia, Victoria
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! The other day this weird bug was eating my flowers so I carefully picked it up and put it on the sidewalk. Can you please try to figure out what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks, from TheBugQueen

Hickory Horned Devil: IN AUSTRALIA?????

Dear TheBugQueen,
Had you sent this email today, we would have thought for sure that you were pranking us on April Fool’s Day, but you sent this identification request in over a week and a half ago.  This is a Hickory Horned Devil, the caterpillar of the Royal Walnut Moth, but it is not native to Australia.  This species is native to eastern North America.  We have no idea how it got to Australia.  Perhaps there is a Saturniid fancier in your neighborhood who raised specimens and some escaped.  To the best of our knowledge, there are no known populations of
Citheronia regalis naturalized in Australia.  We are tagging this as a mystery.


Subject:  Gray Bird Grasshopper
Date: 03/29/2021
Time: 4:00 PM PDT
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Dear Gentle Readers,
For some time, Daniel has tried to educate the curious about the interconnectivity of all things on our planet, and since the pandemic, Daniel has retreated from the internet (but for work related duties like teaching online) and stopped posting to WTB? on a regular basis.  During that time, Daniel has spent most of his time in the garden during lockdown, and more and more the philosophy of interconnectivity has permeated his life.  The complex relationships between plants and animals in the garden is daunting.  Recently while gardening, this large female Gray Bird Grasshopper was startled into flying by the hose.  According to Charles Hogue in his marvelous book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin:  “I have noticed adults only in the spring; they are gray or brownish in general color, and the hind wings are uniformly transparent olive-green.  The light green nymphs attain noticeable size in the late summer.  Both stages feed on various garden crops and ornamentals.”  The adult females are easily the size of a small bird when they fly with their long legs trailing behind them.  I try to relocate adults and large nymphs elsewhere in the garden when I find them on plants I value.  See BugGuide for more information on the Gray Bird Grasshopper.

Female Gray Bird Grasshopper

Subject:  Feather Horned Beetle
Date: 03/29/2021
Time: 10:39 PM EDT
Geographic location of the bug:  Toowoomba QLD 4350
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this little guy on a friend’s driveway after returning from a walk this morning. He intrigued me,so I gently collected him in a jar and brought him home. Firstly we did a ‘photo shoot’, then I released him into my garden, then with the help of my daughter who I was telling about the bug over the phone, we dug up some information on this amazing insect, hence leading me to your website.
Thought you might like to see him, seeing they aren’t overly common.
How you want your letter signed:  Cindy

Feather Horned Beetle

Dear Cindy,
Thank you so much for submitting your awesome images of a Feather Horned Beetle to What’s That Bug?  We love posting beautiful images of amazing insects from around the world and we love educating the curious public about those “bugs”.  Daniel has been on hiatus for quite some time, and he is really excited to return to posting regularly to WTB?

Feather Horned Beetle

Good afternoon,
A delight to receive your reply.
I am excited to contact you again, as we have just returned from a long walk and in a suburb not far from home, we had to go under a tree overhanging the footpath. There was lots of bugs flying around it, then my daughter exclaims rather excitedly… ‘Mum, they’re your bugs, your eyelash bugs’. I was very excited and stood watching many flitting about.
The other coincidental thing is that last night my daughter was sitting quietly on the lounge, then all of a sudden she sprang off in fright whilst trying to get something off her neck. Thankfully she didn’t swat at it, as it was an eyelash bug that must have got caught in her very long curly red hair when we brought the washing in just prior.
It is obviously the season for these beautiful wonders of nature as they seem abundant in Toowoomba.
Thanks for your time.
Cindy Ryan

Subject:  Orange and black bug
Date: 03/31/2021
Time: 03:29 AM EDT
Geographic location of the bug:  Queensland Australia
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello do you know what’s this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Holly

Giant Scale Insect

Dear Holly,
This is the first real insect identification request that Daniel the Bugman has answered since last July when a personal matter added to the cumulative impact of the pandemic and caused Daniel to disconnect from the curious public.  We truly hope this is a sign that Daniel will return to daily What’s That Bug? postings.
This is a Giant Scale Insect in the genus
Monophlebulus, and you may verify its identity on Project Noah. According to the Atlas of Living Australia:  “A slow moving wingless Hemiptera that feeds on plant sap. This Genus is found in Australia and South East Asia and is know to feed on Eucalyptus and Callistemon among other species. Some are colourful, beneath their white, waxy fluffy coating – including bright orange and blue. Some are as large as 25mm and even as adults they look rather like insect larvae. The females are wingless. Like some other mealybugs members of this Genus are occassionally tended by ants.”

Date: 03/30/2021
Time: 09:39 PM EDT
Subject:  Beautiful Butterfly
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Dear Bugman, I am hoping you can help me identify this butterfly based on the body shape and wing markings. It was located indoors during the very early spring.
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the Irish Chain

A lovely butterfly

Dear Melanie,
More than most readers, you know that the past year has been very difficult for Daniel, and with the pandemic, the trauma of teaching online, and a multitude of life changes, your frequent communications have been a great source of comfort for Daniel as he contemplates life changes.  The butterfly has long been a symbol of transition for many people, and hopefully we will all be able to emerge from a long period of isolation, much like the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis after having transformed from a nearly unrecognizable caterpillar.  Your butterfly is a fantasy creature, and the peace signs on the wings are a beacon of hope for the future.  Though a fantasy creature, those stunning wings most closely resemble a Brush-footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, and as a resident of Southern California, in our opinion it most closely resembles a Red Admiral, a lovely butterfly that is currently enjoying the warm spring days in Daniel’s own garden.  The are most often seen sunning themselves in the morning and late afternoon so their dark wings absorb the heat of the sun.  Also, Daniel has to come clean and admit he is also Constant Gardener.

Red Admiral