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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  insect ID
Geographic location of the bug:  south central Virginia
Date: 07/31/2019
Time: 09:04 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me identify this bug.  Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Marc

Atala Hairstreak

Dear Marc,
This is such an unusual sighting, that we are quite excited to post it.  A black butterfly with a red abdomen is quite distinctive, and we quickly identified at the Atala Butterfly on the Blue Butterflies page of the University of Florida Gardening Solutions site where it states:  “
The Atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala Poey) is a rare butterfly with a limited distribution in South Florida. The outside of the butterflies’ wings (when folded together) are deep black, with curved rows of iridescent blue spots. They have a bright red-orange abdomen. The open wings of the male butterflies feature an iridescent, bright blue, while the females have only small streaks of blue on the wings. Newly hatched caterpillars are very tiny and pale yellow. Over a day or two they develop into bright red caterpillars with yellow spots.  Atala butterflies suffered massive population declines in the early 1900s; early settlers nearly wiped out the Atala’s preferred host plant, coontie, for its starch. Today, Atala butterflies are considered rare, but the planting of coontie in butterfly gardens and as an ornamental landscape plant has helped the butterfly populations rebound a bit.”  According to Featured Creatures:  ” the Atala butterfly was thought to be extinct from 1937 until 1959 (Klots 1951; Rawson 1961). Although still considered rare with limited distribution, it is now found in local colonies where its host plant, coontie (Zamia integrifolia Linnaeus. f.), is used in butterfly gardens or as an ornamental plant in landscapes. ”  According to BugGuide where it is called the Atala Hairstreak:  “considered by FL to be a ‘Species of Greatest Conservation Need’ (SGCN).”  We are excited not only because of the rarity of the Atala Hairstreak, but also because though it is found in the Caribbean, North American sightings seem to be limited to southern Florida.  We cannot imagine how this gorgeous Atala Hairstreak found its way to central Virginia.  You might want to contact the Prince William Conservation Alliance and the Butterfly Society of Virginia to report your significant sighting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  HI, is this tomato worm?
Geographic location of the bug:  SW Michigan
Date: 08/01/2019
Time: 09:43 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi is this a good ol tomoato worm or? Thanks so much!
How you want your letter signed:  Jules

Cecropia Caterpillar

Dear Jules,
Your submission was perfectly timed to be selected as our Bug of the Month for August 2019.  We suspect your “tomoato worm” is a Tobacco Hornworm, the caterpillar most commonly associated with tomatoes.  This Cecropia Caterpillar is a member of the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae.  It most likely left its food plant to search for a suitable site for pupation.  The adult Cecropia Moth is a gorgeous creature.

Yay, thank you! that was a quick response too.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  bel air md
Date: 06/30/2019
Time: 01:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  what is this beetle and what is coming out of its butt?
How you want your letter signed:  Peg

Female Broad-Necked Root Borer

Dear Peg,
In July 2011, we designated the female Broad-Necked Root Borer,
Prionus laticollis, as the Bug of the Month, and we believe enough time has elapsed to select your submission as our Bug of the Month for July 2019.  The ovipositor, an organ used for laying eggs, is protruding from the end of her abdomen.  According to iNaturalist:  “The female is larger than the male, with an ovipositor used to deposit eggs. When the female is laying eggs, she “shivers” and eggs are laid through the ovipositor, positioned down into the soil or under litter, usually in groups of threes and twos, but sometimes ones or fours. After the eggs are laid, the female moves her ovipositor up and down to fill the hole she created. When freshly laid, the eggs are pure white, glistening with moisture, but, after a while, they usually change to a deep yellow. Within a few days, the deep yellow eggs turn to a light washed pink. As the larvae develop inside, the eggs turn ivory in color. The eggs are the size of small grains of rice. When the larvae are hatching, they chew through one of the elongated, pointed sides of the egg. The larvae’s heads are adapted for digging into the soil, and they have strong black mandibles for chewing roots.”

wow… how cool! thanks for your response!
Peg

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Monarch Caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  West Los Angeles
Date: 06/22/2019
Time: 04:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
Thought you’d enjoy seeing these youngsters.  By the way, I’ve replaced all the tropical milkweed in my yard with native plants.
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Early Instar Monarch Caterpillars

That is awesome Jeff.  Can you tell us whether you planted seeds or plants? and provide us with your source for native milkweed?

I bought the plants through Monarch Watch: https://shop.milkweedmarket.org/
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Virginia
Date: 06/19/2019
Time: 08:46 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Do you know what bug this is? Found in Virginia on a dead tree stump.
How you want your letter signed:  Renny

Six Banded Longhorn

Dear Renny,
This is a very exciting sighting for us.  Thanks to images posted to BugGuide, we are confident your gorgeous beetle is a Six Banded Longhorn,
Dryobius sexnotatus.  According to BugGuide, the habitat is:  “Old growth hardwood forests; mostly in large, very old deteriorating sugar maple trees that have been wounded/scarred; adults hide under bark. In PA, all of the sugar maples observed were very old and at least 3 ft across. Most sites are located in stream valleys.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Uncommon/rare; widely scattered, populations are sparse; listed as rare or threatened by several states, e.g. considered a SGCN [Species of Greatest Conservation Need] by AR, LA, and VA Dury (1902) noted that D. sexnotatus was once abundant but was even then becoming rare.  Perry et al. (1974) noted a sharp decline in the collection since 1942.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination