2 moths for your review
For the last 2 years fall has been ushered in with the appearance of very large, dying moths. Fortunately I can get over my fear of insects if they’re in their sluggish final days and I was able to get close enough with a macro lens to get a few detailed shots. I find myself more and more fascinated with moths and their markings, but I’m terrible at identifying them. Would you mind having a look at these pictures and identifying them for me? It may be helpful to know that we are in the central Georgia region. The first is a reddish moth, probably a good 3.5 inches with its wings expanded to the point depicted in these pictures. I believe there were eye-spots underneath the top layer of wing, but they were only visible when the wings were fully expanded. I was unable to get a good picture in this position as the poor moth needed encouragement to stretch that far in its condition. This picture was taken in the fall, and it was definitely in the final stage of its life. it sat on the sidwalk out front of our apartment for a good 2 days, and when it finally expired it did so in this same position. It was just begging to be a specimen! The second moth was so huge that I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. The full wing span was at least 6-inches across, and I had no idea moths could grow so large. As you may be able to tell from the picture, the eye-spots are actually holes in the wings. We found this one dying near our apartment as well, also in the fall. It too sat sluggishly on the pavement for 2 or 3 days, and then finally disappeared. Probably carried off by an ambitious neighborhood cat. If you could help identify these moths, I would greatly appreciate it!
Frightened but Fascinated

Huckleberry SphinxPolyphemus Moth

Dear Frightened but Fascinated,
We will try to alleviate your fear while encouraging your fascination. Your red moth is a Huckleberry Sphinx, Calasymbolus astylus (according to Holland but currently reclassified). It is a rather scarse species. It will not harm you since it has a proboscus, a tubular mouth design for sucking nectar from deep throated flowers. Your second moth is one of the Giant Silkworms, a Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus. There are two generations in the South and eggs laid in the fall will winter over and hatch as caterpillars in the spring. It cn also over-winter as a cocoon. This moth does not feed as an adult since it has vestigial mouthparts and cannot feed. Neith moth has the anatomy necessary to do you any harm. You are finding dying moths in the fall since they do not survive the winter as adult. We hope you will lose your fear and expand your fascination.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what is it …
and why did it fly into my kitchen window at dusk? It looks like some cockroaches I saw in Baja many years ago, but I’ve never seen anything this big here just south of San Francisco.
Thank you.

Hi Lynn,
You have been visited by a Pine Sawyer, Ergates spiculatus, also known as the Spineed-Neck Longhorn. Larvae eat the sapwood and heartwood of pines and Douglas firs and adults emerge July – August. I guess the rains brought them out a little early this year. Females are often attracted to lights. Their habitat is usually forests near and above 4000 feet. According to Hogue: “campers in pine flats in neighboring mountains are frequently startled when these beetles loudly buzz into their lanterns on warm summer evenings.”

One for your collection and one to answer
Hi Bugman,
I was able to identify this first bug, thanks to your website, as an Iron Cross Blister Beetle. I’m stumped on the next one though. I found it scooting across the desert floor outside of Ridgecrest, California. It was about 3/4 of an inch long. Any idea?

Tegrodera latecinctaCysteodemis armatus

Hi Fred,
Both of your beetles are in the Blister Beetle Family Meloidae. First thanks for the new photo of the Iron Cross Blister Beetle, Tegrodera latecincta. The second one we located on BugGuide and it is the Spider beetle, Cysteodemis armatus. According to the site: “There is some variation in color of these beetles. Sometimes the abdomen appears to be blacker in some individuals. They are typically found in desert areas.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this bug?
I photographed this insect one night in late May. As for the scale, notice in the first pic, top left corner is a nail head approximately 1/4 inch in diamater. I left the porch light on to attract insects to photograph and this appeared. The photo was taken in Yadkin County, North Carolina. What is it? I really like your site. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only person who likes to photograph bugs. > Tony Hegwood

Hi Tony,
We wanted to verify our conclusion with Eric Eaton. Here is his response: “This is actually a male glowworm, in the genus Phengodes. No wonder he was attracted to light:-) Female phengodids are larviform, meaning they retain all the characteristics of the larval state, but have a fully-developed reproductive system, and compound eyes! They glow between the abdominal membranes. Larval and female phengodids feed exclusively on millipedes. The males are not luminescent. Neat find. A good year for them it would appear, as I’ve seen other images from this season.”

Thanks for a great site!
Hey Bugdude!
After unsuccessfully searching Google images and several websites to identify this beefy dude (painful over a modem…), you came to my rescue. I believe this may be either a Unicorn or a Hercules beetle? Found him legs up on my roof in rural northwest SC. Love your website, and since I’m from CA and am not familiar with the local fauna, will now refer back to it frequently to find out whether the buggies get to listen to me jabber at them or feel the wrath of my vengeful heel (The latter may be preferred over the former, since most seem to flee after the first "Hello, Mr. Insert-generic-bug-name-here." Word gets around these rural small towns rather quickly…). Your tips on what these insects eat and their preferred habitats make it easier for me to relocate them to the proper environs if necessary.
Thanks mucho,

Hi Mike,
We have heard this guy called both the Hercules Beetle and the Unicorn Beetle, but to be safe, we could go scientific and call it Dynastes tityus. We sympathize with your modem searching, but imagine trying to upload What’s That Bug? on dial-up. That is our excuse for answering so slowly when we have 100’s of letters.

what type of earwig is this?
Not knowing the first things about insects other than I see them everyday, this one caught my attention for some reason. After reading little about insects and more specifically earwigs within the past hour I was even more intrigued by this little guy. I read that they are nocturnal and look for dark moist areas to rest in during the day. When in fact this guy was actively pursuing another (live) bug in the hot south texas sun. The temperature is about 95 degrees and the sun is bearing down making the walkways a hundred plus. What was he doing “hunting” in the middle of the morning? Even more, what was he doing up in the hot sun? I also couldn’t help but notice that in comparison to all the artistic renderings as well as photos of earwigs, this guy is a little different. his circi (word I just learned by the way) is exceptionally longer and larger than any photo I have found. The tip is also different in that he has “hooks” at the end. This said, I was hoping you could help me identify this particular earwig. He is every bit 2″ in total length. Maybe he is a Texas Earwig. Little humor there. Thanks in advance for your response. If the pic does not open just throw a .jpg at the end. Sometimes my mac is contrary sending files to others. Thanks,
Andrew Harris

Hi Andrew,
When we need a real expert, we just write to Eric Eaton. He was very excited about your image and would like to see it posted on BugGuide, if you don’t mind. Here is his reply: ” Wow! Stupendous image of a linear earwig, Doru lineare. We could use this image on bugguide if the contributor wants to share. Very cool. “