Currently viewing the category: "Bug Art"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Moths in a Buckle
Geographic location of the bug:  South of my navel
Date: 01/14/2018
Time: 12:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this used belt buckle while thrift store shopping in Ventura, California. I’m wondering which type of moth is depicted in this beauty? What messages are moths sending as symbolic totems? They are beautiful and mystical to me.
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the Irish Chain

Moth on Belt Buckle

Dear Melanie on the Irish Chain,
Alas, often artist renderings of insects used as fashion articles, tattoos, and other art works are not anatomically correct.  This seems especially true of enamel belt buckles which an internet search proves.  In the case of the individual depicted on your lovely buckle, the outside edge of the upper wing is oriented at a very unusual obtuse angle that we cannot ever recall seeing existing in nature.  According to Native American Moth Mythology:  “Many California Indians consider moths a symbol of transformation, healing and prayer, and moth cocoons are used as sacred rattles in some California tribes. In other tribes, moths are associated with death and ghosts and may bring messages from the spirit world. ”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Thanks Daniel!  I do a type of hand embroidery called Stumpwork and bugs are one of the things that I like to make.  And as an added challenge, I like to do ones that I find when we travel.

How wonderful.  Please send us some images if you can.

Embroidered Beautiful Demoiselle

Here’s one of my favorites…my version of a Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo).

Thanks Celeste.  Your embroider is beautiful.  We are categorizing this in our Bug Art category.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange Stick Insect
Location: Beagle Bay, WA, Austalia
September 3, 2014 3:19 am
Hi What’s That Bug Team,
I found this stick insect around the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, in Beagle Bay Primary School. I was hoping you could identify the species for me as some of its features and adaptations are quite foreign to me. If you’re able to identify it for me I’d be very grateful if you could get back to me.
Kind Regards
Signature: Kaleb

Stick Insect

Stick Insect

We believe you may have a new species here Kaleb.  Perhaps one of our readers can provide an identification.  It appears to be mimicking Eucalyptus or gum trees.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Scarab Victorian Brooch
Location: Oregon
January 15, 2013 5:09 pm
This brooch had four beetles on it, but one fell off. If you Google, ”green scarab beetle,” lots of pictures of this species come up for sale called, ”antique Victorian brooch.” One website,, has the best pictures I have seen where one commenter says it’s not a scarab, but rather, a tortoise beetle (Chrysomelidae). I am interested in your opinion, and whether or not you know if a replacement to fix my brooch is possible.
Signature: Jerry Burke

Antique Tortoise Beetle Brooch

Hi Jerry,
We agree 100% that these are not Scarab Beetles, but rather, that they are Leaf Beetles in the family Chrysomelidae, possibly Tortoise Beetles in the tribe Cassidini.  Here are some examples of North American species from BugGuide.  We have never seen this particular species, but we did find other examples online of Victorian jewelry made with these beetles which are incorrectly being called Scarabs, as well as some modern jewelry by Lito Karakostanoglou.  We will continue to research this matter.

After finding numerous examples of Victorian Jewelry made with these Leaf Beetles incorrectly identified as being Scarab Beetles, we finally found the Mid-19th Century Jewelry website with this image correctly identified as being earings made of Tortoise Beetles.  The Evolution website has a pair of earrings with the species identified as Desmonota variolosa with this information:  “Tortoise Beetle Earrings – Desmonota variolosa  The tortoise beetle is a member of the leaf beetle subfamily. These tortoise beetles have been mounted on a pair of sterling silver earrings. Their beautiful green sheen is sure to attract attention and open the wearer up to a host of compliments.”  You might want to consider ordering a pair of earrings from Evolution and having a jeweler replace the missing Tortoise Beetle in your brooch.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica:  “The pits and grooves covering the South American leaf beetle Desmonota variolosa give it an iridescent green colour with depth resembling that of an emerald.”  There is a nice image of these beetles in the Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery Collections website.  We have given up hunting for a photo online of a living Desmonota variolosa, but we just thought of a new search idea.

We did find a similar looking red Tortoise Beetle from Costa Rica on the Nature Closeups website that is identified as being in the genus Spaethiella.  We also found a gorgeous blue and red Tortoise Beetle from the Amazon on Green Tracks News identified as being in the genus Eugenysa.  Alas, we could not find any images of living Desmonota variolosa.  If any of our readers get lucky enough to find a photo of a living specimen of Desmonota variolosa, please comment on this posting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug Art
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
January 26, 2012 7:35 am
Here is my last creation. I let it hangin’ on my bed. Isn’t it adorable?
Signature: Cesar Crash

Cockroach Sculpture by Cesar Crash

Hi Cesar,
Thanks for reminding us that you have submitted other insect sculptures.  We will need to search the archive and categorize them as Bug Art.  Does this Cockroach Sculpture scare away the real roaches which we are guessing are much smaller than this in Brazil?

It have only scared humans till now! Thank God I have no problems with cockroaches at home. The only ones that appear are those burrowing crusty ones. And some wild roaches that have no fear for humans.
Perhaps it will attract a giant Ampulex compressa!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

January 25, 2012
Daniel, the WTB? Bugman, makes quilts in his spare time, and though this is occasionally mentioned on the website, there is no photo-documentation of it.  Today, we created a new Bug Art category, and it seemed like a good time to post a few photos of bug inspired quilts.    Back in 2002 when the website was originally designed, the childlike font used as the logo was created from a photograph of the embroidered title of a large quilted picnic blanket of the same name.  Daniel and Lisa Anne were relaxing on that quilt when the photographer from Sunset Magazine dropped by the offices back in 2007.

WTB? Staff on What's That Bug picnic blanket

Alas, there are no good digital images of that quilt, so when time allows, we will make sure there is a new photo taken.  Meanwhile, Daniel completed another quilt called World Wide Web several years ago, and we present that photo for your artistic critique.

World Wide Web quilt by Daniel Marlos


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination