From the monthly archives: "July 2022"

Subject:  Damselfly Id
Geographic location of the bug:  Tortuguero Costa Rica
Date: 07/18/2022
Time: 12:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this when visiting Costa Rica, looking for an id.
How you want your letter signed:  Charlie

Probably American Bluet Damselfly

Dear Charlie,
Your Damselfly images are quite lovely but we are uncertain of the species.  We suspect it is an American Bluet in the genus Enallagma which is pictured on BugGuide.


Subject:  Big biter
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern coastal BC Canada
Date: 07/21/2022
Time: 03:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I’ve seen a few of these just in the past 3-4 years. They like to land on the back of our horses and bite, leaving a small hole that draws blood. The are quite large and fly a bit like a big bumble bee, as if they are too heavy. No one around here knows what they are, and only see them a few times per summer! Any help would be great!
How you want your letter signed:  Regards

Western Black Horse Fly

This is a female Western Black Horse Fly which is pictured on BugGuide.  Female Horse Flies feed on the blood of horses, other livestock and wild animals, and when there is no preferred prey, they will bite humans.  Male Horse Flies do not bite.

Subject: Large Female Horse Fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 07/20/2022
Time: 9:15 PM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel was walking out the front door when he heard a loud buzzing (sounded like a smoke detector) coming from the inside of the house.  He was surprised to see the largest Horse Fly he has ever seen, about an inch long.  He trapped it in a stemmed glass and took some photos before releasing her outside. 

Large Female Horse Fly

He believes based on the Buckeye Yard & Garden Online website and BugGuide  that it is Tabanus abdominalis, a species with no common name.  According to Joe Boggs on the former site hosted by Ohio State University extension:  “All horse flies are aggressive and vicious biters, but the bigger ones are particularly menacing.  Only the females bite; they require blood meals to be able to produce eggs.  When she finds a host, the female uses her sharp, knife-like mouthparts to slash upon a wound in the skin; the mandibles of large horse flies are powerful enough to cut through tanned leather!  After opening a wound, the female injects saliva that has anticoagulation properties and she then laps up the free flowing blood.  The bite is extremely painful, and blood continues to flow from the wound even after the female finishes feeding.”

Large Female Horse Fly

There are several similar looking species and we would not rule out that this might be a wider ranging Tabanus sulcifrons also pictured on BugGuide.

Subject:  Male running crab spider mates with female while she eats and guards an egg sac
Geographic location of the bug:  Portland, Oregon
Date: 07/15/2022
Time: 12:49 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman, I thought you might enjoy these photos I took of this male Philodromus sp running crab spider I came across that was trying to mate with a female who was simultaneously feeding on a fly and guarding an egg sac. I’ve never seen anything like this before.
I hope you enjoy the photos!
How you want your letter signed:  Michael Davis

Mating Running Crab Spiders

Dear Michael,
We love your photos of Running Crab Spiders mating while she simultaneously watches eggs and eats.  We have always heard that women are better than multitasking than men, which your images clearly illustrate, and this randy fellow obviously has a one track mind.  We also love that we can tag this as both Bug Love and Food Chain.

Mating Running Crab Spiders

Mating Running Crab Spiders

Subject:  Garden bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Guelph Ontario Canada
Date: 07/16/2022
Time: 01:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy was flying around cucumber and zucchini plants mid day in full hot sun
Very cool bug of sorts. Had no interest in us. Didn’t see stopping at any flower just leaf to leaf. Never landing long
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks!

Squash Vine Borer

This is a Squash Vine Borer, a moth that resembles a wasp  The female lays eggs on the stems of squash, pumpkins, melons and other curcurbits.  When the larvae hatch they bore into the stems, potentially killing the plants.

Subject:  Flying skinny bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Date: 07/16/2022
Time: 10:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this skinny bee on a flowering coriander/cilantro plant near our front door. Visiting flowers one by one just like a regular bee. I have noticed it the last week or so since the flowers started blooming.
How you want your letter signed:  Turtle Tagger

Hover Fly

Dear Turtle Tagger,
This harmless pollinator is a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae and we identified it as Allograpta obliqua thanks to the Natural History of Orange County website.  Many species in the family benefit from mimicking the appearance of stinging insects like wasps and bees.