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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Dry husk stuck on rock
Geographic location of the bug:  San Luis Obispo, California
Date: 10/11/2019
Time: 06:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman: I found this dry husklike thing on a rock in my front yard.  I pulled it off, but didn’t;t learn anything.  I know it was once either part of some living thing, or it contained or was shielding something living.  Please help!
How you want your letter signed:  Yours, Kathy O’Brien

Mantis Ootheca

Dear Kathy,
This is the ootheca or egg case of a Preying Mantis, and it does not look like it has hatched yet.  Mantids only live a single season, hatching when conditions are right in the late winter or early spring and they mature by autumn.  The female Mantis then lays one or more ootheca that will overwinter.  If you put this ootheca in a sheltered location, or try to attach it to a branch on a tree or shrub, it might still hatch this spring.  Daniel just realized there is no Bug of the Month posting for October 2019, as he neglected to create one at the beginning of the month, so this posting will be tagged as Bug of the Month.  Daniel noticed two native Mantis oothecae in the garden in the past week, so perhaps he will take some images and add to this posting.

California Mantis ootheca on native willow

Update October 15, 2019:  Two California Mantis Oothecae in the WTB? garden
When Daniel returned from work yesterday, he made a point of taking images of the two California Mantis oothecae he found over the weekend.  Though adult Mantids did not make may late season appearances in the garden, they were obviously hiding quite well as the two oothecae are far enough apart to evidence they were likely laid by two different females.

California Mantis ootheca on pine

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  LARGE green caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Middle Georgia
Date: 08/28/2019
Time: 12:33 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy (girl?) showed up on my patio cover (canvas). It’s about 3 inches long and probably an inch around. (BIG joker). Thought maybe Luna Moth. Some one said maybe Imperial Moth. I know Lunas are endangered and I want to do the right thing. Don’t plan on hurting it or anything just curious about what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious in GA

Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Dear Curious in GA,
This is an Imperial Moth Caterpillar.  Many Giant Silkmoth Caterpillars from the family Saturniidae and Hornworms from the family Sphingidae pass unnoticed on vegetation while they are feeding.  Fully grown caterpillars then hunt for a suitable place for pupation  They leave the food plant and at that time they are frequently discovered by observant humans.  When we receive images of pre-pupal Imperial Moth Caterpillars, they have frequently turned brown or orange as metamorphosis nears.  Your green individual might still be feeding

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:  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