Subject:  black caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Noth Umpqua area of Oregon
Date: 06/13/2018
Time: 04:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi I’ve been having trouble identifying this critter. They showed up June 2, 10 days ago by the thousands. At first they were about 1″ long , now they are around 2″. I’ve been watching their progress and today I noticed some pupae forming. I had thought they were Ceanothus Silk Moth caterpillars but now I don’t thinks so.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks Bill

Tortoiseshell Caterpillar

Dear Bill,
We immediately wrote back to see if you could provide the name of the plant upon which these Tortoiseshell Caterpillars are feeding, because we are certain the genus is
Nymphalis, but we are not sure of the species.  Our likeliest candidate because they are often found in great numbers is that they are Mourning Cloak Caterpillars, but the caterpillar lacks the red spots found on Mourning Cloak Caterpillars and the chrysalis does not really look right.  According to BugGuide, Mourning Cloak Caterpillars feed on ” primarily willow (Salix spp.) but also other trees and shrubs including Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Trembling Aspen (P. tremuloides), American Elm (Ulmus americana), Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).”  Based on images posted to BugGuide, we believe they are probably California Tortoiseshells, and Oregon is well within the range, and since BugGuide states “Larva feeds on various species of wild lilac (Ceanothus),”  knowing the food plant would greatly assist in the identification.  Our least likely candidate due to your location is the Compton Tortoiseshell because most caterpillars are green, but BugGuide does picture this black individual and BugGuide indicates the range as being “southeastern Alaska and across Canada south of the tundra, south in the west to Montana and Wyoming, south in the east to North Carolina and Missouri known to wander; has been recorded as far south as California and Florida, and as far north as Baker Lake, north of treeline in Nunavut” and also states “larvae feed in groups on willow (Salix spp.), birch (Betula spp.), and poplar (Populus spp.).”  In recapping, we are leaning toward California Tortoiseshells, and knowing they were feeding on Ceanothus would seal the deal for us.

Metamorphosis of a Tortoiseshell Caterpillar

Hi Thanks for the response They were feeding on Buckbrush (Ceanothus) and Schoolers Willow. There were people clearing trees and brush from under a major powerline up the hill behind me and they said that the caterpillars completely defoliated over 2 acres of buckbrush. Yesterday I was still seeing them coming towards our home and on the driveway but it is slowing down and they are attaching and forming  the chrysalis. I’m sure looking forward to seeing them when they emerge. Thanks Bill

Please try to send us images of any adults that emerge.  That will surely verify the species.

Tortoiseshell Chrysalis

How long will they be in the Crysalis? It’s warming up to the 90’s next week.

Two weeks is a good average, but temperature and humidity may affect eclosion time.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black hornet/bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Macedonia Ohrid
Date: 06/13/2018
Time: 02:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Any help will be much appreciated
How you want your letter signed:  Nebul0za

Carpenter Bee, we believe

Dear Nebul0za,
We believe this is a Carpenter Bee in the subfamily Xylocopinae.  Here is a FlickR image of an individual from Crete.

Subject:  Moth ID needed
Geographic location of the bug:  Rolla, Missouri
Date: 06/13/2018
Time: 03:16 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This little guy is about 1.25″ long for Head to Tail.  Found in Rolla, Missouri.  Can you help me ID him/her?  thank you  PS:  I’m presuming it’s a moth just because of its looks.
How you want your letter signed:  BugAppreciator

White-Blotched Heterocampa Moth

Dear BugAppreciator,
This is a Prominent Moth in the family Notodontidae, and we had imagined hours of fruitless research in determining its identity when we originally knew it was part of the enormous superfamily Noctuoidea, but we got lucky when we found the White-Blotched Heterocampa,
Heterocampa umbrata, pictured on the Moth Photographers Group website.  According to BugGuide:  “The larvae feed on oaks (Quercus).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What bug is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Newport News Virginia
Date: 06/13/2018
Time: 08:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Seen this bug outside, my friend said it was a roach but I don’t think it is
How you want your letter signed:  Jordan hammond

Click Beetle

Dear Jordan,
Your friend is mistaken.  This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  Click Beetles have gotten their common name because they are able to snap their bodies if they find themselves on their backs, and the snapping propels them into the air so that they land on their feet, producing a clicking sound during the action.

Subject:  Looks like a lobster but really small
Geographic location of the bug:  Chicago, Il
Date: 06/13/2018
Time: 09:18 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Any help would be appreciated
How you want your letter signed:  Thank You


This is a freshwater Crustacean known as a Crayfish, and they are classified in the same taxonomic sub-phylum as Crabs and Lobsters.

Subject:  Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Lampeter PA
Date: 06/13/2018
Time: 01:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What kind of beetle is this. It makes a hissing noise. It digs and buries itself in mulch.
How you want your letter signed:  Derek

Bess Beetles

Dear Derek,
These are Bess Beetles or Patent Leather Beetles,
Odontotaenius disjunctus, and they make sound by rubbing body parts together, a behavior known as stridulation.  Bess Beetles are among the most interesting Beetles in the world because of their unique care giving behavior toward their young.  According to BugGuide:  “Lifestyle of this family is unique for beetles: live in small colonies where larvae are cared for by adults of both sexes. Long life cycle, apparently more than one year. Larvae eat a rotting wood pre-chewed by adults. (Some references state larvae eat feces of adults as well.) Larvae and adults also cannibalize injured larvae.
Adults reported to fly very seldom, however they are capable of flight, contrary to statements in some sources. Adults are found at lights on occasion. They may disperse by walking, but have been observed flying under lights, and they are sometimes taken in light traps (MacGown and MacGown, 1996). A nuptial flight has been observed in Mississippi, with a group of 12-15 individuals flying at dusk, and one pair even mating in flight (MacGown and MacGown, 1996). Mating is also observed in the tunnels,…
Both adults and larvae stridulate, and this is said to serve as communication between them. Adults also stridulate when picked up, and especially, blown on. Adults stridulate by rubbing abdomen against the wings. Larvae stridulate with reduced third pair of legs–these scratch against other legs.

Bess Beetle