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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cecropia Moth
Location: Lompoc, California
April 14, 2017 2:24 pm
We found one of these moths, figured out the name through your page, but it doesn’t seem to want to fly away. We noticed these egg looking things on its body. What are they? Should we keep it safe in a terrarium? If so, what do they eat?
Thanks for your help!
Signature: Susan

Ceanothus Silkmoth

Dear Susan,
Though this resembles a Cecropia Moth, that is an eastern species and this is a western relative, the Ceanothus Silkmoth.  Male Giant Silkmoths have more feathery antennae as that is the scent organ that allows him to locate a female through the pheromones she releases, so we believe this individual is a female.  Giant Silkmoths do not feed as adults, and they live for about a week on stored body fat.  Flying takes energy, and a female filled with eggs is much heavier, so she is reluctant to fly unnecessarily.  Often a newly emerged female will release some unfertilized eggs before attempting to fly, and we suspect that is what you have documented in your image.  Though the eggs pictured on Liang Insects are more brown, it is possible that freshly laid eggs are lighter in color.  If you keep her in a terrarium, make sure it has a screen lid.  She may attract a mate.  You might want to consider releasing her and letting nature take its course.  Again, she cannot eat. 

Ceanothus Silkmoth, presumably with eggs.

Ed. Note:  Since Ceanothus Silkmoths are currently in flight on the west coast, we will feature this posting for a spell.

Head and Antennae of Ceanothus Silkmoth

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unidentified insect
Location: Phoenix, AZ
April 14, 2017 3:36 pm
Hi Bugman,
I was in Phoenix, AZ last week (first week of April) and found what was left of an insect in the grass. I think a bird ate the abdomen of this insect? Maybe the wing spread was 2″? I tried to identify it by looking at pictures on line, but I have struck out thus far. Can you help me identify this interesting looking insect?
Thank you,
Signature: Dawna

What Ate the Iron Cross Blister Beetle???

Dear Dawna,
We always love receiving and featuring our first Iron Cross Blister Beetle from the genus
Tegrodera each spring, and this year that distinction goes to your submission, however we generally are thrilled to receive a living example.  We are quite curious what ate the fatty abdomen on your individual and left behind the harder elytra, legs and front of the body.  We often receive images of Prionids and Cicadas that have been eaten in a similar manner, and we suspect birds are the predators in question.  The curious thing about your Blister Beetle is that it is a member of a family that is known for the ability to secrete the compound cantharidin that causes blistering in human skin and that could make horses quite ill if they ingest Blister Beetles while eating hay.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Stunging crane fly
Location: Wimberley, Texas
April 7, 2017 7:09 pm
I take crane flies out all the time. I was stung by Image 1 a few nights ago. I was so shocked bc it had NEVER happened to me or my children EVER! You can see the sting on my palm in image 2. Image 3 is another crane fly without a stinger–which is what the majority of mine look like! What’s up with that stinger? Im guessing one is male and one is female? It was quite a sting. I can still see the mark three days later.
Signature: Kristina Minor

Reportedly Stinging Crane Fly

Dear Kristina,
For years we have received reports of Crane Flies stinging individuals, and after verifying that impossibility with Dr Chen Young, we have speculated that the actual culprit is a Short-Tailed Ichneumon which does resemble a Crane Fly.  Your account is the first we have received that actually contained an image of the Crane Fly that reportedly stung (or bit) an individual, as well as an image of the irritated area on the body.  Furthermore, you seem quite familiar with Crane Flies, so we can’t help but to give your report credibility.  This does go against all we have learned of Crane Flies.  For that reason we will forward your information and images to Dr. Chen Young, a noted Crane Fly expert, to get his input.  The antennae on the individual you say resembles the majority of your Crane Flies are more developed, leading us to believe that is a male.  Stinging insects are generally female and a modified ovipositor, an organ used to lay eggs, is the stinging body part.

Site of the reported Crane Fly sting

Eric Eaton weighs in.
The “stinging” crane fly is simply a female.  I suppose a jab from her ovipositor might *feel* like a sting, but they are certainly not venomous.  The other crane fly with the bulbous rear end is a male.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

A non-stinging Crane Fly

That was one heck of a “jab.”  I still have the mark and I’m here to tell you it hurt for a while.  Ive attached the picture to show you what it looks like today–several days later.  When it happened, like image 2 in my previous email, it was white around the “sting” area and very red spreading from there.  That sure seems like a reaction to something?  Could they have evolved?  ;).  Getting smarter?  Wanting to survive?  LOL

Crane Fly “Sting”

Dear Kristina,
Thanks for providing a follow-up image of your “jab” after several days.  We will try to do some additional research.  According to the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania:  “The larvae are found in a wide variety of habitats, varying from strictly aquatic to terrestrial, even relatively dry soil.  Their habitats include fresh water in fast-flowing streams, marshes, springs, meadows, seeps, tree holes, algal growth or mosses on rock faces near water, organic mud and decaying vegetable debris along the shores of streams and ponds, accumulated decomposed leaves and rotting wood on the forest floor, and occasionally soil in lawn and pastures.”  Since the ovipositor is an organ the female uses while laying eggs, and since the stingers of stinging insects like wasps and bees is a modified ovipositor, we do not want to rule out the possibility that the ovipositor of a Crane Fly species that lays eggs in rotting wood might also penetrate human skin.

Entomologist and Crane Fly Specialist Dr. Chen Young Responds
Dear Daniel,
All I can say is that whatever stung Kristina was not a crane fly.  The ovipositor of female crane fly is not a defensive weapon but an egg laying apparatus, usually blunt instead of sharp at the end.
Chen Young


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fishing spider?
Location: Southeast texas
April 1, 2017 8:01 am
I have a backyard pool that we don’t clean or put chemicals in during the winter, so by the time spring comes the pool is full of life. After a storm came a trash bag flew into the pool and when I pulled it out it had this guy on it. From his (or her?) distinctive spots I assume it’s a 6 spotted fishing spider, but I’m not sure. The spider would have had its legs hanging a few mm off of a quarter if he had been standing on one. Around the edge of the pool I have been finding dried out dead spiders stuck on the side with a little bit of webbing. Could those be what this guy leaves behind? How big can these spiders get? Thanks!
Signature: Vikky

Six Spotted Fishing Spider

Dear Vikky,
We agree that this is a Six Spotted Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes triton, a species that is generally found near a body of water, and it sounds like your dormant swimming pool has been a perfect environment for her.  Since it sounds like you are getting ready to clean the pool, we hope you are able to relocate this beauty so that she can live out her life and produce progeny.  The “dried out dead spiders” you describe might have been prey, or they might have been cast off exoskeletons left behind when this individual molted.  Since it is the first of the month, we will be selecting your submission as the Bug of the Month for April 2017.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna
Location: Juliette Ga
February 22, 2017 9:48 pm
Just wanted to post this for you all, such a beauty.
Signature: Trent

Male Luna Moth

Dear Trent,
Thanks so much for sending in your image.  We always thrill at our first Luna Moth posting each year and your image is especially lovely as the backlighting really enhances the translucent beauty of the wings.  The heavily feathered antennae indicates your individual is a male.  We hope he finds a mate to perpetuate the species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination