what is the name of the moth?
i hope you can help, i found these two moths mating on my garden and would like to know the name of them. could you help?
Thank you,
Lee

Hi Lee,
This has to be one of the most ironic postings we have ever had. Your photo is of a pair of mating Modest Sphinxes, Pachysphinx modesta. There is some confusion regarding the names here though. Our old Holland book lists the common name of Pachysphinx modesta as the Big Poplar Sphinx and a variety, Pachysphinx modesta occidentalis as the Western Poplar Sphinx. The USGS website Moths of North America calls P. modesta the Modest Sphinx and P. occidenatalis as the Big Poplar Sphinx. Our Audubon guide lists P. modesta as the Big Poplar Sphinx. We are going with the government site since we like that you have caught the Modest Sphinxes mating. Caterpillars of both species feed on cottonwood, aspen, poplar and willow. Adults do not feed. P. modesta is an eastern species and P. occidentalis is western.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpillar ID
Hi,
I live in South Florida.
I’ve been ‘searching and squishing’ Tomato Hornworm caterpillars on my tomato plants for over a month now. (Resisting temptation to use poisons). I’m sending you a quite nice photo I took of one before the squish, in case you want it for your site. Today I found a large, superficially similar caterpillar on my fig tree. I know it’s not the same. But what is it? I’m including two photos of the ‘fig caterpillar’. I suspect it’s a butterfly. I’ve included a photo of a pair of one species I found mating there, and two of another butterfly that spent a lot of time in the tree. The lone butterfly is a species I’d never even seen before. The tree can well spare a few leaves, and there’s only one of these caterpillars as far as I can tell, so I’ve left it alone. I’m curious to know what it is and if you can identify the butterflies as well, that would be lovely.
Marian Mendez

Ruddy DaggerwingJulia Butterflies Mating


Hi Marian,
We are very excited to receive your letter and your wonderful photographs. Your single butterfly is a Ruddy Daggerwing, Marpesia petreus. They also have caterpillars that eat the leaves of figs. Your mating butterflies are Julias, Dryas iulia. They are common in Florida. The host plant for caterpillars is the Passion Flower Vine. We will also be including this image in our new Love Among Bugs page. Also check out Marian’s Caterpillars.

Caterpillar ID
Hi,
I live in South Florida.
I’ve been ‘searching and squishing’ Tomato Hornworm caterpillars on my tomato plants for over a month now. (Resisting temptation to use poisons). I’m sending you a quite nice photo I took of one before the squish, in case you want it for your site. Today I found a large, superficially similar caterpillar on my fig tree. I know it’s not the same. But what is it? I’m including two photos of the ‘fig caterpillar’. I suspect it’s a butterfly. I’ve included a photo of a pair of one species I found mating there, and two of another butterfly that spent a lot of time in the tree. The lone butterfly is a species I’d never even seen before. The tree can well spare a few leaves, and there’s only one of these caterpillars as far as I can tell, so I’ve left it alone. I’m curious to know what it is and if you can identify the butterflies as well, that would be lovely.
Marian Mendez

Ficus Sphinx: Green MorphTomato Hornworm


Hi Marian,
We are very excited to receive your letter and your wonderful photographs. I have to answer in stages though since the letter will go on multiple pages on our site. First, your unidentified caterpillar is a Ficus Sphinx, Pachylia ficus. There are many color morphs of this caterpillar and we have received an orange, magenta and green version in the past. Bill Oehlke has a wonderful site with photographs of many color morphs of this caterpillar as well as the adult moths. Also check out Marian’s butterflies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Striped beetle – What is it?
Can anyone identify this striped beetle that is eating my petunia? How does one keep them away from petunias without using a chemical that damages this sensitive flower, if you know?
RC in Cranston, RI

Hi RC,
Thanks to your query, we learned something about Petunias. We suspected this was a Three Lined Potato Beetle, Lema trilineata, but that beetle only feeds on potatoes, tomatoes and members of the nightshade family. They eat our Datura. A very similar looking beetle is the Striped Cucumber Beetle, Diabrotica acalymma vittata, which is a less particular eater. It feeds upon beans, peas, corn and flowers while larvae feed on cucumber plants. A quick look at our Western Garden Book revealed that petunias belong in the nightshade family, so we believe you have a Three Striped Potato Beetle. Sorry, we looked for a natural means of control and can’t locate one. Try hand-picking.

Huge Beetle
I finally found this beetle in one of your 2004 collection… infact, from about a year ago 7/2/04. Since I was willing to get closer to the thing, here are some more pictures of (common name) Palo Verde Root Borer or Derobrachus geminatus.
Darren

Hi Darren,
Thank you for doing our job for us. Glad you located your beetle and your photos of the Palo Verde Root Borer are great.

Some kind of borer?
I found this attractive beetle sitting on my car a few mornings ago. I believe this is a member of the family Carambycidae (longhorn beetles) because its antennae appear to be growing out of its eyes. After I took the photos, it flew away straight up, disappearing quickly. I haven’t been able to find a picture like it, and I’ve looked at every western North America beetle website I could find. The distinctive cross on its back should make it easy to identify for someone who has one in their collection. Perhaps it is an exotic intruder? This is the best insect site on the web for casual naturalists like me. Thank you for the great service
you are providing.
Dennis Strauss

Hi Dennis,
We were delayed because we didn’t recognize your borer either. We checked with Eric Eaton, and it seems he doesn’t exactly recognize it either. Here is his reply: “I don’t know, but I’d put money on it being in the genus Megacyllene, the Locust Borer genus. Pretty sure it is not simply covered in pollen, but is marked with that much yellow. Neat! ” Perhaps it is an exotic import. Why don’t you check with the Department of Agriculture.