Subject:  California Spring Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  California, desert
Date: 04/14/2019
Time: 09:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I have found a beetle in the desert munching on a normal grass weed. I tried to search online for beetles native to california, but have not found anything like it. Is it foreign? Or diseased? Thank you for helping me identify this beetle, I am so curious to find what it is!
How you want your letter signed:  Mimi

Desert Spider Beetle

Dear Mimi,
Spring vegetation growth in the arid deserts of California, Arizona and Nevada bring out the diversity in the Blister Beetle family Meloidae.  This Desert Spider Beetle is in the genus

Subject:  Big black bug!
Geographic location of the bug:  Northeast Pennsylvania
Date: 04/11/2019
Time: 08:45 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I found this while doing yard cleanup in one of my flower beds, under mostly dried grasses, and some damp leaves. It is about an inch to an inch & a half long & Was relocated to a far corner of the yard. Any idea what this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Knitwit in the poconos

Oil Beetle

Dear Knitwit in the poconos,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Meloe, commonly called an Oil Beetle.  Blister Beetles should be handled with caution as some species are capable of secreting a compound known as cantharadin that can cause blistering in sensitive individuals.

Wow! Thank you for the quick reply and the great info!

Subject:  Cretan Festoon butterflies
Geographic location of the bug:  Plakias, Crete
Date: 04/10/2019
Time: 05:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  hi there!. You have published some of my pictures before, so I thought you might like these shots I got the past week of male and female Cretan Festoons, Zerynthia cretica at the cliffs near Plakias in Crete. I also have a picture of the weird-looking food plant, Aristolochia cretica, with very strange flowers.
How you want your letter signed:  Butterfly twitcher

Cretan Festoon male

Dear Butterfly twitcher,
We were not familiar with the common name Festoon.  To our eyes, these are what we have always known as Apollo Butterflies or Parnassians.  Upon doing some research on, we learned that the Cretan Festoon,
Zerynthia cretica, is “an Old World swallowtail butterfly in the family Papilionidae which is in the genus Allancastria. This endemic species is found only on the Greek island of Crete but some authorities consider it to be a subspecies of the Eastern Festoon (Zerynthia cerisyi) and give it the scientific name (Zerynthia cerisyi cretica). The flight period is from mid-March to June. After the egg laying stage, the caterpillars hatch out to feed on the endemic Cretan Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia cretensis). They then overwinter as a pupae and in mid to late spring emerge as butterflies.”  Additional images can be found on Red List and on Euro Butterflies it states:  “Formerly considered as a subspecies of the eastern festoon Z. cerisy it is now more often considered as a species. The two species are clearly very similar. Being geographically isolated on Crete it’s not surprising that differences appear, even to the extent of diverging into two species. It’s not the only endemic on the island.”  Additional information includes:  “Habitat & Behaviour: Grassy scrubland and open woodland. More active in the morning, being much harder to find in the afternoon. It flies unhurriedly up and down slopes, frequently stopping for nectar and to rest on bushes, grasses and the ground. Easily spotted at the roadside while driving through suitable habitat. I also found one flying over the beach and out to see some 20 or 30m before it turned back to land.”  Thanks so much for sending in your awesome images as well as an image of the endemic food plant, the Cretan Dutchman’s Pipes

Cretan Festoon female

Cretan Dutchman Pipes

Subject:  What is this thing!?
Geographic location of the bug:  29 Palms, CA
Date: 04/08/2019
Time: 10:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw several of these critters crossing the dirt path as I was walking my dog. Took a couple shots and had on on the tip of my walking stick, hunched up with it’s butt angled down like it was stinging, and the front legs up looking poised for combat. Couldn’t get a shot of it like that since i was holding the stick and dog and camera and didn’t want to let the dog go in case they were stinging bugs…I at first thought they were velvet ants but nope…can’t find anything that looks like it online. they were about 1.5 to 2 inches in length…when i stopped to take pictures they all altered their path and came at me…what are they??
How you want your letter signed:  thanks, John Roush

Master Blister Beetle

Dear Josh,
This is a Master Blister Beetle, and though it does not sting, it does possess aposomatic or warning colors along with many Blister Beetles in the family Meloidae.  According to BugGuide:  “Pressing, rubbing, or squashing blister beetles may cause them to exude hemolymph which contains the blistering compound cantharidin. Ingestion of blister beetles can be fatal. Eating blister beetles with hay may kill livestock. Cantharidin is commercially known as Spanish Fly.”  We get several images of Master Blister Beetles from southern California and Arizona each April.  Just last week Daniel went to Joshua Tree National Park and he hoped to encounter some Blister Beetles, but alas, he returned without a single sighting.

Master Blister Beetle

Subject:  Rothschildia (?) in Ecuador
Geographic location of the bug:  Umbrellabird Lodge, Buenaventura Reserve, near Piñas, El Oro, Ecuador
Date: 04/04/2019
Time: 02:52 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello again, Bugman.
I’m pretty sure this fantastic moth is a Rothschildia, but I haven’t been able to work out the species.  (I really like this photo, because it shows the transparent wing panels so clearly – ha!)
How you want your letter signed:  David

Male Rothschildia species

Dear David,
Your image of a female
Rothschildia species is gorgeous, firstly because she is a magnificent specimen, but also because of the image’s tight compositional structure characterized by opposing diagonal lines.  Alas, we don’t have the necessary expertise to provide you with a conclusive species identification, and of that we were assured when we browsed the 15 species and subspecies pictured on the World’s Largest Saturniidae site where the subtle variations in color and markings take an expert to discern.  We will attempt to contact Bill Oehlke for assistance.  If he requests permission to post your image to his site, may we grant it?

Bill Oehlke provides an identification
Thanks Daniel,
Here is id. Please express my thanks to David. Very nice picture.
Rothschildia lebecuatoriana eloroiana  Brechlin & Meister, 2012
The Rothschildia most recently sent to me from El Oro is definitely a male, not a female.

Subject:  Unknown “insect” under water
Geographic location of the bug:  Madison county Kentucky USA
Date: 04/05/2019
Time: 01:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found these in a communications manhole. They seem to have 6 legs per side for a total of 12.
How you want your letter signed:  Ian


Dear Ian,
These are sure puzzling creatures, and we cannot devote the time we would like to their identification at this moment.  We are posting your images and we hope to hear from our readers while we do additional research.  Are you able to provide any information on their size?



Update:  We suspected these were Crustaceans.  We wrote to Eric Eaton who wrote back “Some kind of amphipod, not sure beyond that as they are not insects nor arachnids.”  In researching Freshwater Isopods, we found these image of a cave dwelling Isopod on Encyclopedia of Arkansas, and since there are numerous caves in Kentucky, we speculated that it would be easy for some cave species to survive in a sewer.