Dear Bugman,
Hi. I’m getting married May 1, 2004 in lovely N. Virginia and am planning an outside reception. Someone mentioned recently that the secadas are due to come out this year and they start right around that time. Please advise if you think this is the case or if there are certain treatments you can have done or certain candles or lights you can have to turn them away. Please help me 🙂 BTW – what exactly is a secada?
Many thanks.

Dear MK,
According to our sources, Brood X of the 17 Year Cicada or Periodical Cicada, Magicicada septendecim, is due to emerge this year. They are noisy, but will not attack your wedding guests. Nothing will keep them away. Here is information I am reprinting from the National Geographic website:

“Get ready, Brood X is coming. This May billions of black, shrimp-size bugs with transparent wings and beady red eyes will carpet trees in the U.S. from the eastern seaboard west through Indiana and south to Tennessee. By the end of June they’ll be gone, not to be heard from or seen again for 17 years. “Many people view them with horror or as an aberration and don’t appreciate that they are a natural part of our eastern forests,” said John Cooley, a cicada expert at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The bugs belong to the largest group, or brood, of periodical cicadas-insects that spend most of their lives as nymphs, burrowed underground and sucking sap from tree roots. They emerge once every 17 years, transform into adults, do the business of reproduction, and then die.”

Thanks. The Washington Post and NYT have both printed recent articles.
Thanks again.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Good morning,
I’ve had a keckuva time identifying this insect I saw yesterday (February 29) in hordes flying above a freshwater creek in Maryland. Any idea? Sorry it’s a blurry picture, it’s the best I could do. The insect has two dark bands. They were doing lots of flying and appeared to be dropping into the water from above and then skittering across the surface of the water by flapping their wings. They were about 3/4" not including their antennae.
Thanks a lot!

Dear Vicki,
I believe you are absolutely right in your identification of a Stonefly, Plecoptera species. There are some 200 species of Stoneflies. Often adults appear in great numbers in the spring. They are poor fliers and are seldom found far from water. They lay their eggs in the water and the nymphs are aquatic. Thank you for providing a photo of our first stonefly for a new page.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much for writing back! You have a great web site and I’ve really enjoyed it. With 200 species of stoneflies, you could see how I needed an expert eye. I saw the flies while kayaking on Tuckahoe Creek on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The highlight of my day, though (other than seeing an otter) was finding a cocoon of a Polyphemus Moth, which I took a picture of and left to dangle patiently on its limb for a few more months.
Thanks very much again!

Need help with a beetle ID
I came across this beetle today at Cockroach Bay preserve which is part of Tampa Bay. The reserve is near Ruskin, Florida and the beetle was in a very sandy area with some scrub grassland with intermintent wildflowers and weeds. I know much more about birds and butterflies…but from what I could gather this may be some sort of stag beetle? It was good sized…maybe 1.5 inches in length or so. Any input on this beetle would be great!
Colin Gjervold
Sarasota, FL

Dear Colin,
I must confess I am intrigued by a place called Cockroach Bay and I’m not entirely sure I want to visit it. Your photo, on the other hand, is a new one for us. We checked with our expert at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, Weiping, who writes: “Sorry to answer you so late. I took yesterday off for vacation. This image is not a Dorcus parallelus. You can see five tarsi on the hind leg. I am sure it is belonging to Carabus sp. (Coleoptera: Carabidae), probably from Asia..”
Ed. Note:
(09/06/2004) Eric, another of our beetle experts, just wrote in saying: “The Carabus sp. from Cockroach Bay, FL is actually a species of Pasimachus. Neat!”
Since we always defer to more knowledgeable experts, we will include both possibilities.

Update: (08/22/2006)
Hello Lisa Anne and Daniel, I recently came across your website and I was pleased to see such a vibrant (and well-done) site. I’m an entomologist and evolutionary biologist (specializing on the systematics, taxonomy and evolution of tiger beetles and their close relatives) and I have to say that I’m impressed with your accuracy rate! It’s much, much better than other comparable sites I’ve come across over the years. The two of you must really love insects. In any case, I noticed that you are open to information from specialists, so I thought I’d give you a few ID’s of species that I came across on your pages. I was having trouble sleeping, so I went through all of the tiger beetles, scaratines, etc and checked them out. Here you go: I’ll bookmark your site and check it out when I’m having trouble sleeping again!
“Pasimachus possibly, or Carabus species (02/29/2004) Need help with a beetle ID” This is most definitely a Pasimachus! (you can omit the exclamation point and the following if you want to print this, but that beetle is unequivocally a Pasimachus, not a Carabus. Those two genera are very easy to separate from even a photograph on the basic of many characters such as antennal length and form, head width and shape, mandible length/shape, pronotal shape, etc.) It is Pasimachus marginatus at that, a lovely species found in Florida and other parts of the Southeast.
Daniel P. Duran
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What the hell is this Bug?

It is some type of dead and sqashed Orthopteran, probably a grasshopper. Though the body is very short, the long straight wings and long jumping legs indicate some type of grasshopper. Your coin is unfamiliar, and you gave no location, so any attempt at an exact species is impossible.

Update: (05/30/2006) Recently, upon receiving additional images of this Crested Katydid, we properly identified it on our Katydid page. This letter just arrived though.
I can ID both the coin and the ‘hopper on your 02/19/2004 entry It’s the crested Grasshopper (Alectoria superba family Tettigonidae) and is a native of central Australia as is the Australian 10 cent coin shown with it! Actually – no need as I see several other people have already done so ahead of me. I liked the site tho’
Martyn Robinson

Hi Martyn,
Thanks to your letter, we realized we still had an unidentified image of the Crested Katydid remaining on the grasshopper page. We have posted your letter and cleaned up our classification.

Yesterday, I spotted what i thought was a hummingbird around my jasmine tree. Upon closer inspection it appeared to be a moth. The most identifiable featurewas it’s extremely bright solid orange wings. It’s body was a blueish purple color with some white markings. I have not been able to identify it on any websites. I will have my camera ready tomorrow. Thank you for your help. I live in South Florida.
Jim Harhart

Dear Jim,
We would love to have that photo if possible. I’m guessing a member of the genus Errinyis, with many members living in Florida. Their upper wings are usually grey, but the lower wings are bright orange. The bodies are often marked with white. My best guess is Errinyis ello. Its caterpillars feed on guava, poinsettia, myrtle and other plants. Here is an image I located online.

Hi. First, I want to thank you for your wonderfully informative site. I was trying to identify the very creepy looking critter in my bathtub and was able to find out that it was a house centipede and that I need not be afraid. 🙂 Anyway, I had gotten a pretty good picture of it and thought I’d pass it along in case you could make use of it.
Thanks again.

Hi Tina,
I’m glad we could be helpful. I will post your photo immediately. Since we get so many letters about House Centipedes, it is always nice to have a new image for the homepage.