Ed. Note:  The following arrived to a private email account of the editorial staff of WTB?

Subject:  Comma Butterfly?
Location:  Hampshire, England
August 2, 2016
Saw this lovely creature in Hampshire, England a few days ago.
Is it a Comma?
Thanks!
Clare.

Entomologist Julian Donahue responds
That’s the right genus (Polygonia), but I’m not up to speed on British butterflies. Check out the U.K. group I suggested on Facebook.
jpd

Comma

Comma

Dearest Clare,
As Julian indicated, your butterfly is in the same genus as the North American Eastern Comma,
Polygonia comma, which you can read about on BugGuide.  According to UK Butterflies, your Comma, Polygonia c-album, “is now a familiar sight throughout most of England and Wales and is one of the few species that is bucking the trend by considerably expanding its range. The butterfly gets its name from the only white marking on its underside, which resembles a comma. When resting with wings closed this butterfly has excellent camouflage, the jagged outline of the wings giving the appearance of a withered leaf, making the butterfly inconspicuous when resting on a tree trunk or when hibernating.  This butterfly was once widespread over most of England and Wales, and parts of southern Scotland, but by the middle of the 1800s had suffered a severe decline that left it confined to the Welsh border counties, especially West Gloucestershire, East Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. It is thought that the decline may have been due to a reduction in Hop farming, a key larval foodplant at the time. Since the 1960s this butterfly has made a spectacular comeback, with a preference for Common Nettle as the larval foodplant, and it is now found throughout England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands and has recently reached Scotland. There have also been a few records from Ireland.” 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hover fly in Scotland
Location: Scottish West Highlands
August 2, 2016 10:58 am
This creature was about 1 inch long, seemed really massive! I’m in the West Highlands of Scotland. It also seemed on its last legs but disappeared after a while.
Signature: Alison

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Dear Alison,
This is a female Dark Giant Horse Fly,
Tabanus sudeticus, and you can tell she is a female by the spacing between her eyes.  Your three different views are a wonderful way to provide an excellent identification guide for our readership.  According to Influential Points, it is also known as the Dark Behemothic Horsefly.

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Thank you so much. Lots of people guessing at my photo on Facebook but none of us got it right. I’m posted your link. Thank you!

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Subject: What’s this bugs name
Location: Arena, Wisconsin
August 2, 2016 11:53 am
I found this bugs all over my apple tree and I’ve never seen anything like this.
Signature: Kary

Monkey Slugs

Monkey Slugs

Dear Kary,
These Caterpillars are commonly called Monkey Slugs and they should be handled with caution as they are capable of delivering a painful sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Mating Leaf-Cutter Ants
Location:  Tucson, Arizona
August 2, 2016
And Daniel, since you don’t follow me on Facebook, I thought you’d enjoy this little video and photo of Arizona leaf-cutter ants (Acromyrmex versicolor) swarming and mating in my yard yesterday.
Julian

Mating Leaf-Cutter Ants

Mating Leaf-Cutter Ants

Thanks for the great image Julian.  According to BugGuide:  “The ants cut and collected both dry and green vegetation with dry grasses comprising the bulk of the forage. The ants increased their cutting of green vegetation after significant rainfall but collected dry grasses almost exclusively during dry periods.” 

Subject: Bug/Creature?
Location: Seaside Heights, NJ beach
August 1, 2016 4:55 pm
found a bunch of these washed up on shore from the ocean and was wondering what they are…
Signature: Karen

Shark or Ray Egg Case

Mermaid’s Purse

Dear Karen,
This is a Mermaid’s Purse, the egg case of a shark, skate or ray.  According to About Education:  “Perhaps you’ve found a “mermaid’s purse” on the beach. These mermaid’s purses blend in really well with seaweed, so you may also have walked right by one.   The enchantingly-named structures are the egg cases of skates and some sharks. While some sharks bear live young, some sharks (and all skates) release their embryos in leathery egg cases that have horns and sometimes long tendrils at each corner. The tendrils allow them to anchor to seaweeds or other substrates. Each egg case contains one embryo. The case is made up of a material that is a combination of collagen and keratin, so a dried egg case feels similar to a fingernail. ”  According to British Marine Life Study Society:  “Regular rockpoolers are likely to have come across ‘Mermaid’s Purses’, containing the eggs or young of the Lesser-spotted Dogfish,
Scyliorhinus canicula, lying amongst the debris on the tideline. These egg capsules that have been dislodged after being laid by the adult female dogfish are doomed to perish. Some, if not most, of the capsules are empty. However, on many occasions I have found a live embryo inside, some of them nearly ready to break free from the capsule. ”  According to Shark Trust:  “Each eggcase contains one embryo which will develop over several months into a miniature shark, skate or ray. Once empty, the eggcases often wash ashore and can be found among the strandline on beaches.”

Subject: Flying fly eater
Location: Central Connecticut
August 1, 2016 10:42 am
Saw this guy on a fencepost in central Connecticut. Curious about the ID. Thanks
Signature: Bug watcher

Robber Fly eats Blow Fly

Robber Fly eats Blow Fly

Dear Bug Watcher,
The predator in your image is a Robber Fly, but we are not certain of the genus.  We will attempt to research its identity further.  The prey appears to be a Blow Fly, perhaps a Green Bottle Fly or some other member of the genus
Lucilia, a group that is well documented on BugGuide.