Subject:  Bug identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Scottsdale Arizona
Date: 04/15/2019
Time: 02:32 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
We were on a Hummer excursion near Scottsdale on an Indian reservation and I saw this guy crossing one of the paths. The guide said it was a baby tarantula but I’m doubtful because of the legs. I’m hoping you can help identify it.
Thank you,
How you want your letter signed:  Traci Curtis

Velvet Ant

Dear Traci,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless, solitary, female Wasp that is reported to have a very painful sting.  This is most likely a member of the genus
Dasymutilla, which is well represented on BugGuide, and it might be the Magnificent Velvet Ant, Dasymutilla magnifica, which is pictured on the Arizona Naturalist site where it states:  “The sting is reportedly very painful, but it’s function is to disarm other stinging insects such as bees. Velvet ants enter the nests of other wasps/bees, sting the owner into submission, and lay their own egg in the owner’s larder. Later the developing velvet ant grub will consume the bee grub. Some other velvet ants are parasites of grasshopper eggs in the soil.”

Thank you for the information and links. One of the sites said they are hard to photograph because they don’t stay on the trails long. This one was a friendly little ant and I’m happy we didn’t decide to pick it up!
Have a great day!

Subject:  Bugs all over the house
Geographic location of the bug:  Upstate, SC
Date: 04/16/2019
Time: 05:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Our neighbors and I are trying to figure out what type of bug this is. They have recently exploded in our neighborhood and we’ve never seen them before.
How you want your letter signed:  Confused new home owner


Dear Confused new home owner,
You have no cause for concern.  Do you live near a body of water?  This is a Caddisfly.  Caddisflies have aquatic larvae that are known as Caseworms that are used as bait by many fishermen. 

Subject:  spider on black swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  Auburn, California
Date: 04/17/2019
Time: 01:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I thought this was a cool image of a spider incapacitating a black swallowtail. This was along a trail, near the flowers the butterfly was feeding on. Maybe a crab spider? Enjoy!
How you want your letter signed:  k. cassidy

Crab Spider eats Pipevine Swallowtail

Dear k. cassidy,
This is an awesome image.  We agree that this is a Crab Spider.  Crab Spiders do not build webs to snare prey.  Many species, especially pastel colored, pink, yellow or white Crab Spiders, are camouflaged in blossoms where they wait to ambush pollinating prey like bees and butterflies.  Your Swallowtail is actually a Pipevine Swallowtail.  Did you witness the Crab Spider capture the Pipevine Swallowtail?  If not, was the Swallowtail still alive when you encountered this awesome Food Chain illustration, though interestingly, this is not the first time we have received documentation of a Crab Spider eating a Pipevine Swallowtail.

yes, love the pipevine swallowtails this time of year (here they like the lilac and brodiaea best). I did not see it in the capturing phase, but this butterfly was still alive though incapacitated. Seemingly big prey, but the spider had him for sure! This is in the Auburn State Recreation Area along the American River in Northern California.
Thanks for the ink to the other crab spider catching a pipevine! I didn’t see that when I first searched.
Enjoy and share the image!

Subject:  Iridescent Beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Israel
Date: 04/17/2019
Time: 01:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear bugman,
Found this small iridescent beetle in our garden and was able to catch the colors in this picture. With spring in full bloom, I’m excited to go out everyday to see what critters I find…
How you want your letter signed:  T.M.

Rosemary Beetle

Dear T.M.,
We suspected this was a Leaf Beetle, and we located a very similar looking mating pair of
Chrysolina coerulans angelica on Israel’s Nature Site (scroll down) but your individual has many more alternating stripes on the elytra.  We searched the genus and we believe your individual is a Rosemary Leaf Beetle, Chrysolina americana, which we found on iNaturalist.

Subject:  Butterfly in South Brazil
Geographic location of the bug:  Florianópolis SC Brazil
Date: 04/17/2019
Time: 10:13 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Mr. Bugman, it is fall and there are beautiful asteraceae flowering. I found this beautiful butterfly feeding on one Eupatorium inulifolium (I think) and would like your help with its identification please.
How you want your letter signed:  Carolina

Metalmark we believe

Dear Carolina,
We actually believe this is a diurnal Moth and not a butterfly, but we have not been able to locate any similar looking Brazilian specimens.  We need to do more research, and perhaps Cesar Crash or one of our other readers will recognize this beauty and write in with an identification.

Oh! Thanks for posting! Will standby for this moth ID.

Update:  Metalmark Butterfly
Two different readers wrote in identifying this as a Metalmark Butterfly in the family Riodinidae.  The closest match was found by Cesar Crash on Butterflies of America.

Oh thank you so much Daniel.

Subject:  Large Fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Coryell County
Date: 04/13/2019
Time: 05:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! This large fly-like insect sat on our porch for several hours. I don’t know if it was injured, but it didn’t move much. I have been unable to match its photo. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Ellen

Male Robber Fly

Dear Ellen,
How nice to hear from you.  This is one of the predatory Robber Flies in the family Asilidae.  Because of the tufted abdomen, we are inclined to speculate that this is a male Robber Fly in the genus
Efferia, and though its markings are different, you can see that it resembles this individual on BugGuide.

Thank you so much! The photo in bug guide is amazingly detailed. Best wishes to you both.